Tag Archives: weaving

Woolery Weave-Off Winners

What an adventure! We are pleased to present the winners of the first Woolery Weave-Off! Inundated with over 75 amazingly beautiful, diverse towels, we struggled to keep judging deadlines, and are still working on washing and folding all the entries for delivery! Next week, we will be delivering them to The Simon House, where they’ll go into ‘starter baskets’ that provide basic household supplies to the ladies moving out into their own housing! Without further ado…


Beginners

Third Place – Susan Hadden – Califon, NJ

Third Place - Beginner Category Woolery Weave-Off

Second Place – Susan Harrison – Plano, TX

Second Place - Beginner Category Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Patti Grammatis – Easley, SC

First Place - Woolery Weave-Off Beginner Category


Rigid Heddle

Third Place – Mary Pat Nowakowski – Freeville, NY

Third Place - Rigid Heddle Woolery Weave-Off

Second Place – Mary Dean – Hackettstown, NJ

Second Place - Rigid Heddle Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Ellyn Zinsmeister – Allen, TX

First Place - Rigid Heddle Woolery Weave-Off


Color

Third Place – Cathy Kinzie – Owings, MD

Third Place - Color Woolery Weave Off

Second Place – Susan Kroll – Sequim, WA

Second Place - Color Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Pat Bullen – Centerburg, OH

First Place - Color Woolery Weave-Off


Pattern

Third Place – Sue Briney – Powell, OH

Third Place - Pattern Woolery Weave-Off

Second Place – Lynette Greenwald – Buckingham, PA

Second Place - Pattern Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Katie Polemis – Indianapolis, IN

First Place - Pattern Woolery Weave-Off


Congratulations everyone, all of your towels are fantastic! We hope you all enjoy your prizes. As a reminder here are the prizes that the winners will receive:

Woolery Weave-Off Prizes

We cannot thank all of you enough – the response has been overwhelming, and the love shown and felt is profound. We look forward to sponsoring this contest again, and working other contests into our rotation! It feels good to give back, and we are delighted that you’re all on board to help out.

“We all do better when we all do better.” ~ Paul Wellstone

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Thank you for your support of The Woolery Weave-Off!

As I write this blog entry, it occurs to me that every day, everywhere, we are surrounded by bad news. Wars. Fiscal crises. Crippling poverty. Water accessibility. Hunger. It is a tumultuous time in the world, and it is safe to say that the inundation of upsetting daily news is exhausting to everyone. Compassion fatigue, some call it. When do we get a break from the bad?

For me, the break in the bad has been this contest.

Woolery Weave-Off Entries

Every day since February, we have received envelopes carefully sent to us containing hand woven dishtowels. Some are bright. Some are neutral. Some are from beginners, and some are from experienced weavers. They vary in size, in pattern, in colorway. Some have fringed edges, some are hemmed. Waffle-weaves, crepe-weaves, twills, and plain-weaves. They are all as different as the ways of the wind – there are not two that are similar. What they all have in common, though, is the obvious love with which they were woven. Beautiful notes accompany many of them expressing the delight to have a reason to warp a loom for a good cause. Some entries recount time spent in unsure housing circumstances themselves, and the frustration felt at having next to nothing, and definitely not much ‘nice’. One entry confessed that she wove it oversized so the owner, clearly in a tough time of life, might be able to use it for something other than just dish drying (that one caused me to burst into immediate tears).  A generous donation came from a sweet 12-year-old weaver, who acknowledged that she was unable to officially ‘enter’, but wanted to contribute alongside her mother’s submission. A school in Pennsylvania sent in a box of beautiful towels, despite many of the weavers being under 18 themselves. Some entrants added matching wash rags, some sent duplicates and multiples, just to bolster the donation amount.

The break in the bad.

As a woman and mother myself, I understand how stressful having young children can be, even on a good day, in comfortable circumstances. To add in the enormous stress of being housing insecure, feeling untethered to a stable life, must be overwhelming. As women and their children move out of The Simon House, into new apartments, they often do so with nothing. What they do have is usually donated, having once belonged to another family. Bare bones, and precious little luxury, but a new beginning. So lovely, well made, practical, and prettyare these dishtowels, that despite how utilitarian they may seem, the women who receive them will confidently possess at least one beautiful, brand new, high end thing that is hers. In the mundane tasks of putting away dishes, bathing the baby, wiping down the high chair at the end of a long day, there is guaranteed to be a bright spot when the owner gets a flash of a lovely, fun pattern, pleasing colors, and quality that gets the job done, only softening and becoming better with every wash. How many of us have a favorite dishtowel? I know I do. One small, reliable bright spot in the day.

A break in the bad.

The generosity, and more importantly, the empathy shown in these wonderful donations have been heartbreaking in their beauty, kindness and love, compassion, and obvious understanding of a less-than-ideal situation. One nice item, made just for them, that will last, wear well, and always be something enjoyable to use and look at. A break in the bad.

On behalf of the entire Woolery staff, the McFarlands, and our extended Woolery family, I thank you all from the genuine bottom of my tear-soaked, but now much larger heart. To be reminded of the love and generosity that exists in this chaotic world is a morale boost I desperately needed, and am so glad the ladies they will benefit get to experience, too.

Your true, warm colors all came shining through with this act of generosity. Thank you for this break in the bad.

~Katherine

Woolery Weave-Off Entries

Ask Nancy: Weaving Patterns

Ask NancyWe have a very topical Ask Nancy post this month if you’re thinking of participating in our Woolery Weave-Off!

Question:

I have just ordered a bunch of the Bluegrass Mills 6/2 Cotton Yarn to make dish towels. Do you know of any patterns using 6/2 weight yarn? The only patterns I have found are for 8/2. I’m not experienced enough to know if I can use an 8/2 pattern with 6/2 yarn. Any help would be appreciated.

 

Answer: 
The 6/2 yarn works up in a plain weave structure very nicely at 15 or 16 ends per inch (EPI), and in a 2/2 twill at 18 EPI, and a 1/3 twill at 20 EPI.

Patterns in a book like Dixon’s Handweaver’s Pattern Directory or in the Davison book, A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, don’t give you a size of yarn; they just give you a draft, which is usable in any size yarn as long as you use the appropriate sett for that yarn and that structure.  So for instance in plain weave, if you want to start out with 18” in the reed, you would wind a warp that is 18” X 15 EPI, or 270 ends.  If using 16 EPI as your sett, your calculations would be 18” X 16 EPI, or a warp of 288 ends.

If you are weaving any sort of 2/2 twill, you’ll need to consider the number of pattern ends in each motif, and adjust the number of total ends slightly to accommodate whole pattern repeats so you don’t cut a pattern off in the middle at the edge of your towel; that always looks odd!  But any pattern is just a draft, and any draft can be woven in any yarn, as long as you are willing to do the multiplication yourself.

As in anything woven, it’s always wise to make a sample first, and see how it looks and feels, and what your shrinkage rate will be.  Depending upon the weave structure you pick, your shrinkage might go from 10% on the low end (in a plain weave) to 30% on the high end (waffle weave shrinks like crazy).

I hope this helps!

Announcing our very first Woolery Weave-off!

Woolery Weave-Off

The Woolery is excited to announce our very first Woolery Weave-Off!

We’re having a Weave-Off to celebrate how well our Bluegrass Mills 6/2 Cotton Yarn has been received. Weave a dish towel with Bluegrass Mills to compete for prizes in four separate categories.  Here’s the thing though, you don’t get your towel back, because we’re donating them all to the local women’s shelter (Simon House, here in Frankfort Kentucky), because women in crisis need the special energy that handwoven textiles provide, too!

Grand Prize Winners in each category will get Spectrum Packs of our BGM 6/2 — that’s 20, one-pound cones of yarn in a whole array of colors!
Second and Third Place Winners in each category will get $50 Woolery gift cards

 

Woolery Weave-Off Prizes

 

Now through January 31st all Bluegrass Mills Yarn* is

25% Off!

You need to use our Bluegrass Mills 6/2 Cotton Yarn to weave your entry, so we’re offering 25% off the price of this yarn from January 3rd – January 31st! 

*Please note offer excludes already discounted clearance colors.

Here’s the fine print – we ask that you read completely before deciding to enter:

The four divisions will be:
1) Beginners; those who have been weaving less than one year. Please use the honor system when determining your beginner status!
2) Rigid heddle weavers (remember, 6/2 is great in plain weave at 15 or 16 EPI; you can do that on a rigid heddle loom!)
3) Color: here’s the chance to be outrageous; remember, you’ll never need to wear it.  Be bold and inventive, and knock our socks off!
4) Pattern: stretch yourself.  Do you have 4 extra shafts on your loom that have just been looking at you funny?  Use them, be brave and inventive; learn something and get out of your comfort zone!
 
Entries must be mailed to: 
The Woolery
c/o Katherine
859 East Main Street, Suite 1A
Frankfort, KY 40601

 

  • The minimum size for each towel is 15” x 24”, washed and hemmed.
  • One entry per person – entries must also contain the name, phone number, email address, and address of the entrant.
  • Contest entries MUST be postmarked by April 1st, 2018, to be considered. Entries postmarked after that time will not be entered in the contest, and will not be returned.
  • Entrants acknowledge they will not get their submissions back. In the event that we receive too many towels to donate to one place, sister residential shelters/organizations in nearby Lexington and Louisville will receive the ‘spillover’ .
  • Winner agrees to have her/his towel and name used in photos and on social media platforms.
  • You MUST use Bluegrass Mills cotton to weave your towel – All non-clearance colors will be 25% off through the end of January!
  • Odds of winning change with number of entries received.
  • Winners will be notified on or around April 15, 2018. Winner has 14 days to claim her/his prize.
  • Lists of winners and runners-up in each category will be available by request in writing after May 15th, 2018.
  • Contest is open to entrants aged 18 years and over.
  • Woolery employees and immediate family members are welcome to participate, but they are not eligible to win.
  • Woolery suppliers are welcome to participate, but they are not eligible to win.
  • Entrant assumes the cost of shipping the towel.
  • Winner of prize assumes responsibility for all and any taxes/tariffs/duty fees incurred.
  • No ghost weavers! Towels must be woven by the person entering the contest.

Please direct any questions about the Woolery Weave-Off to katherine@woolery.com

Handmade Gift Giving at The Woolery

You probably already know this, but we have some talented people working here at The Woolery. Not only are they talented, they’re generous too! So many of our team members have made beautiful handmade gifts this holiday season, that we felt we had to share them with you. Theses gifts span all sorts of different fiber arts including; needle felting, weaving, knitting, and crochet.

Handmade plaid scarf

Some absolutely beautiful woven gifts have been floating around the shop. Our Customer Service Manager, Dani, has been weaving some plaid scarves on our floor model Schacht Wolf Pup.

We love the color schemes Dani is working with for these scarves! Also, the plaid patterns all all Dani’s own unique designs. How lucky are the members of Dani’s gift list?

Weaving on the Schacht Wolf Pup

Then, of course, our own Weaver Nancy has her own woven gift to show off! This beautifully textured towel was made on her Schacht Mighty Wolf using Maurice Brassard Cottolin Yarn in the Natural Lave color. The texture is a 5-thread huck lace 4 shaft pattern. The final effect is so stunning.

Gifts-11

We don’t just weave here, Business Manager Mistene made a whole collection of incredibly intricate crochet doilies as a present for her mom and sister. The detail work on these is fantastic. They are so tiny and lacy!

Group of three crochet doilies

Detail of Mistene's Crocheted Doily

Handmade crochet cup cozy

Debbie, our Shipping Manager, has also been crocheting up some gifts. How adorable are these little canine inspired cup cozies? Debbie makes all sorts of different custom styles based off of different dog breeds. We are obsessed with the fuzzy eyebrows on the Yorkie one in the photo to the left. Too cute.

 

Debbie with her crochet dog cup cozy

Handknit shawl with tasselsOur knitters are not to be outdone, they have been working on some gift projects of their own. Annie, our newest Customer Service Representative, knit up a cozy shawl and cowl for some lucky recipients. Annie is going to be teaching some beginning knitting classes next year at the shop so if you’re wanting to make some gifts like Annie’s check out our class schedule!

Annie modeling her cowl

Socks are one of our favorite gifts this time of year and David, who is also a Customer Service Representative, has been knitting up some fabulous socks for his daughter. What an awesome dad! They aren’t quite done yet, but we’re confident he’ll finish in time for Christmas.

Handknit socks

Gradient Knit ShawlEmily, who works on our Creative Marketing (including writing this blog) has also been knitting away to finish some gifts in time for Christmas! The shawl to the left is for her grandma and if you’re curious, the pattern is Shaelyn on Ravelry.

Emily also has branched out into weaving since starting working at The Woolery (you can’t work here without wanting to try ALL the fiber arts)! And even wove up a scarf or two on her new Schacht Cricket Loom.

Handwoven scarf

And finally, our Customer Service Representative Anna, worked some needle felting magic to create gnomes for some of her Customer Service co-workers! They are one big happy gnome family!

Needle felted gnomes

Have you already made some gifts this year, or did any of our projects inspire you? We would love to hear about any handmade gifts you have been working on this season! Share your projects below or in our Raverly Group! We can’t wait to see your creations!

Meet The Creator of Loome: Vilasinee Bunnag!

We get to work with so many amazing and inspiring creators here at The Woolery. Vilasinee Bunnag is one of the co-creators of the Loome. We recently started to carry some of the Loome tools and we love how accessible they make weaving for everyone! Vilasinee was nice enough to take some time to answer some of our burning questions about her life as a creator.

Vilasinee Bunnag creator of Loome

Tell me the story of the Loome, when and how did you first come up with the idea for it? 

The design of the original Loome tool was inspired by the medival tool called the lucet. This tool was used to make cords and braids. The Loome tool’s co-inventor and I took this ancient device and evolved its functionality so it could be used beyond making cords. This was the starting point, revisiting the past to create some thing for today’s makers.

What is the design process like for Loome tools? Do you have several shapes that you tried that just wouldn’t work out?

 I’ve always been drawn to design, particularly modern design for every day living. I love when design is married with utility to bring beauty and practicality together – it’s the best. The design process of the Loome tools included five steps: sketching, digitizing, prototyping in cardboard, testing (look and feel, user feedback, sizing) and prototyping. After each test, I go back to the drawing board to make adjustments based on the feedback and repeat the design steps. Designing is such a rewarding process and it’s taught me to be open-minded to every thing. What looks good on the computer can feel off in 3D and vice versa. This was particularly true for the rectangular and round shapes which didn’t make it to production. There has been nine designs altogether and we settled with four which offers a little some thing for every one depending on the aesthetic you like. I usually tell people, it’s like the iPhone, there are different colors but they all do the same thing. In this case, it’s the shape.

Overall, it took three months of prototyping plus twelve months of on-going refinement the tool from design to production.

 

Vilasinee Bunnag working on designing Loome tools

 

Are you a crafter yourself? What fiber arts do you practice (aside from Loome)? Absolutely! I love making things, especially when I can add them as a special touch to a present. I really enjoy making keepsakes for friends and family. For example, recently I made a housewarming gift for a friend that included a candle, a knotting book and a bundle of tassels made of vintage linen yarn that’s can be hung on a door knob, bed post or mood board. I also love mixing mediums so to keep learning new crafts and techniques, I like taking classes with artists at local studios like Handcraft Studio School and Makers Mess.

Fiber arts wise, weaving and knot making are some thing I really enjoy. I find that they help me focus and reconnect with making things with my hands.

The Loome can also be converted into a slingshot. Was that intentional or just a really excellent side effect? Also who came up with that so we can give them a high five?

This is hilarious isn’t it? I told you I’m totally into multi-functional designs. You can slingshot all the pom poms you make! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people beeline to my booth at craft shows becaus the slingshot was the first thing they saw. I appreciate that the tools evoke a nostalgic toy for people.

Inspiration sources at theloome.com

 

We love all of the inspiration resources for Loome you have on your website, what inspires you personally?
Thank you so much! My biggest inspirations come from other Loome users and artists plus my motivation to use my yarn and craft stash which I have a lot of. All of my Loome projects start one of two ways: to make some thing fun for Loome users or some thing special for a friend or family member. For instance, I made ten woven friendship bracelets for a friend I’ve known for ten years, I picked her favorite colors, pull my yarn, incorporate beads from my craft stash, add in techniques like French knots and start cracking. One of the nicest thing about crafting with the Loome tool is it’s low time commitment and high satisfaction. You can make experiment and some thing sweet in a short amount of time and if it doesn’t work out, you try it with a new yarn, etc.

 

What part of your business are you the most proud of?

I’m so grateful that people like the Loome tools and find them useful. This really inspires me to keep making and sharing. On the business side of this, I feel extremely proud that we’ve been able to provide employment and contribute to the economy as a small business. Loome is also donating 10% of our sales until the end of the year (and possibly longer) to hurricane and flood relief. At the end of the day, these things are the most satisfying outcomes of having a business.

Which is your favorite Loome Model? Or is this like asking you to choose your favorite child? 
Indeed…and I’m so happy there are four to choose from!

 

Vilasinee Bunnag loves pompoms

 

Okay, another hard hitting question: tassel or pom pom?

Oh no! Don’t make me choose. I’m seriously obsessed with both. To me, pom poms are instant happiness and tassels are the best detail that you can add to just about any thing. They can be made with any fiber and they’re always special.

 

And since we are The Woolery, if you could only work with one type of fiber for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Hands down, wool. And I feel like there is a major renaissance going on in the fiber world. I’m in awe of the artists and producers who are spinning, dying and innovating to give us such a stunning array of beautiful wool. There is no better time to work with wool than now. There is so much to learn, enjoy and try.

What are some new things on the horizon that you are excited about?

I have a book coming out in March 2018 with Abrams Books called “Loome Party.” It’s a combination of fundamentals (for 15 types of pom poms, tassels, friendship bracelets, cords and small weavings) and projects for your yarn stash by 15 artists and makers. This is a dream project for me to be able to work with so many wonderful people from Maryanne Moodie to Arounna Khounnoraj to Courtney Cerruti. Second, I’ve been working on tools with prints on them, they’re finally here!

Coming soon, Loome Party

Thanks so much to Vilasinee for taking the time to chat with us. We are super excited to see all of the new things happening at Loome! For now you should definitely check out:

Guest Post: A Weaver’s Guide to Swatching with Liz Gipson

Liz GipsonWe’re pleased to welcome Liz Gipson of Yarnworker.com to our blog for a special guest post! Liz is a weaver, instructor and author – you may recognize her from Weaving Made Easy and Slots and Holes, or perhaps you’ve spotted her name on the pages of Handwoven Magazine or over at Knitty.com. 

Today, Liz shares some of the weaving inspiration behind her newest book, A Weaver’s Guide to Swatching.

All the Best,

Wave, Perri and the entire Woolery crew

The thing about writing a book is you don’t have time to fail slowly, you need to fail fast. With less than a year to get together a couple dozen projects and write the accompanying manuscript for my forthcoming book, Handwoven Home, I needed a way to test yarns, colors, setts, and finishes faster than even my rigid heddle could provide.

For years, I hunted for a small frame loom in the setts that I, as a rigid-heddle weaver, use—primarily 8, 10, and12. Occasionally, an 8 would pop up and then disappear again depending on the trends. A single size 8 did me some good, but I couldn’t compare the same-sized swatch in one sett vs. another.

Then I met Angela Smith of Purl & Loop. She was making the cutest little frame looms and I asked her if she could make me a set in closer setts. We talked about the wider issues, threw ideas back and forth, and the Swatch Maker Looms were born!

Purl & Loop Swatch Maker

We put these little looms out in the world and instantly I started getting questions about how to weave a swatch. At first I thought it was about the technique, but then I realized the questions had to do with the whole system: “How do you weave a swatch to get information to make your big loom life better?”

A Weaver's Guide to Swatching by Liz GipsonSo while I was writing the big book, I wrote a little book about the methods I use to get to a final finished project. That little book, A Weaver’s Guide to Swatching, shows you how to use a small frame loom to road test your bigger ideas. I talk about selecting sett; a bit about yarn for weaving; the tools you will need; the mechanics of how to set up, weave, and finish a swatch with lots of tips and tricks; and how to track results for future projects. It’s a tried and true method used by designers of all stripes. Start small. Dream big. Fail often. Do it again.

As summer approaches, swatching is the perfect way to take your weaving with you. I get my best ideas while I’m traveling and I no longer feel I’ll “lose” that idea; I can grab my loom and swatch it out.

It’s a joy to be on this journey and share it with my fellow weavers. You can find me online at yarnworker.com or on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Weave happy. Weave often. Just weave!