Tag Archives: weaving

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:

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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!

How to Maximize the Use of a Gradient Yarn

Gradient yarns are hard to pass up, and we’ve created a free step-by-step guide which demonstrates how you can use any two colors of fiber to blend your very own set of gradient batts, which can be used to spin a totally unique gradient yarn. Click here to get our guide!

Free guide to blending spinning fiber to spin a gradient yarn.

Once you’ve spun your yarn, it’s time to find the perfect project to show it off. Depending on your yardage, you could knit or crochet a simple accessory that shows off the long color transitions, such as a hat, cowl or scarf. The great thing about making a scarf is that you can just keep knitting or crocheting til you run out of yarn!

knitting

You could also try weaving with your beautiful gradient yarn – you will have to do just a little bit of math to ensure that you don’t run out of yarn. Here, we’ve blended a total of 8oz. of fiber to create a single-ply gradient. If you have a complementary color of thinner yarn that you can use to weave with, you can warp you loom with your handspun gradient yarn and then loosely weave with your complementary yarn to get a warp dominant project using the instructions to follow!

Handspun Gradient Yarn, get our free tutorial on the Woolery blog.

Here’s how to maximize use of any gradient yarn in your weaving project:

  1. Make sure that you have an accurate measurement of yardage in your skein. Example: Yardage: 260 yards.
  2. Calculate how wide you want your woven piece to be, and multiply that number by the number of EPI (ends per inch) you need. Example: Weaving width: 10” x Sett: 5 ends per inch = Total number of ends: 50.
  3. Divide the number you got for Step 2 by your total yardage in Step 1. This number is the how long your warp ends need to be to use every last inch of your yarn! Example: 260yards/50 ends = 5.2 yards warp length.

Find out how to plan your weaving project using a skein of gradient handspun yarn on the Woolery blog!

We can’t wait to see what you make with your handspun gradient yarns – be sure to share them with us on social media using #thewoolery in your post!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery Team

Like this post? Pin it!

Maximize the use of any gradient yarn AND get our free guide on blending fiber to spin your own gradient yarn, too!

Free Guide: Getting Started with a Rigid Heddle Loom

A new year is full of possibilities! If one of your 2017 resolutions is to learn how to weave, or to pull your loom out of the closet and rediscover this craft, we’ve created a free guide to help you reach your goals with ease.

Visit the Woolery blog for a free guide to getting started with a Rigid Heddle loom.

Whether you’re new to rigid heddle weaving or just need a refresher on the basics, our free guide will jump start your weaving in 2017!

Click here to download our free PDF guide to Getting Started with a Rigid Heddle Loom.

If you are already on our mailing list, check your inbox – you should have already received a download link from us.

Photo Credit: Liz Gipson of Yarnworker.com.

Photo Credit: Liz Gipson of Yarnworker.com.

Our guide will help you choose the right loom & accessories to get started; it also covers essential weaving terms, the anatomy of a loom & more.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can visit our website for free weaving patterns and lots of other helpful info, too.

We look forward to helping you on your weaving journey!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Fast Finishes for Fixing Flaws

It’s down to the wire: Christmas is right around the corner, and you have finished or nearly finished your handmade gifts. The problem? You aren’t 100% satisfied with how it looks.

Here are 3 different finishing techniques that you can pull right out of your hat to turn those projects from flawed to fabulous! 

Finish #1: Crochet bind off for knitting project.

This finish is good to use when you don’t have enough time to do a full knitted bind off. By slipping a few stitches at a time onto a crochet hook, and then using your working yarn to yarnover, and bring through two loops, and continue across until you have fully bound off (check out this tutorial video to view this technique in action!). This bind off is just as stretchy, if not more, than a traditional knitted bind off.

Try the crochet bind off for a neat edge on your next knitting project. Find more finishing ideas on the Woolery blog!

Try the crochet bind off for a neat edge on your next knitting project. Find more finishing ideas on the Woolery blog!

Try the crochet bind off for a neat edge on your next knitting project. Find more finishing ideas on the Woolery blog!

Finish #2: Single crochet border on a woven project.

Sometimes your selvedge edges aren’t even, and they look lumpy, loose, or down-right funky. By using one of the yarns in your project, you can single crochet a border on any selvedge edge to hide the mistakes. This can be a great idea for plaid or other colorwork scarves that require the yarn to travel up the side of the work. If you don’t know how to crochet, follow these simple steps  to master single crochet.

Finish wonky edges of your weaving with single crochet - find more great tips on the Woolery blog!

Finish wonky edges of your weaving with single crochet - find more great tips on the Woolery blog!

Finish wonky edges of your weaving with single crochet - find more great tips on the Woolery blog!

Finish 3: Just add Fringe.

Most crocheters know that single crochet has a tendency to curl along the edges, and that can be annoying – but other crafts aren’t immune to this problem!

Got curls? Tame those curly edges on your handmade projects by adding fringe!

To help prevent that, add fringe. You can speed up the process of making fringe by taking a book (preferably hard cover) that has a larger front and back cover than its pages. Wind your yarn around the book, until you have 2 times the number of wraps than you have stitches to attach fringe to.

Making fringe is easy with this clever hack on the Woolery blog!

Cut the fringe using one of the gaps create by the space between the cover and the pages, then start attaching fringe to your piece. Insert your hook into the stitch, take two pieces of fringe yarn and pull a loop through the stitch, then yarnover with the fringe yarn and pull through the loop. Pull snug. As you attach the fringe to both edges, the fabric will want to curl less!

Attaching fringe to a project using a crochet hook. Find more finishing tips on the Woolery blog.

Fringe is fabulous! Find out how to add fringe to any project easily on the Woolery blog.

Now you’re ready to finish all of those holiday gift projects with ease, giving you more time for R&R once Christmas rolls around!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

Share Your Crafts With Those In Need!

The holiday season is a wonderful time to use your fiber arts skills to help those in need. As temperatures drop in many parts of the country, warm winter woolens can be in high demand. Perhaps you have been accruing a pile of mittens, scarves, hats or even blankets that are looking for a good home, or you have finished all of your gift-making and are looking for a new project to start. Here are some tips for using your knitting, crocheting and weaving skills to help others this winter.

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Tip #1: Do your research.

Most charitable organizations have a list of requirements for donations – for handmade items, they may stipulate that all items must be machine washable or contain a certain fiber content, for example. Some charities will only accept certain items or have other regulations that they must uphold, so it’s best to check their website or contact them via email to find out what they are most in need of.

Tip #2: Think Local.

Contact local homeless shelters, animal shelters, churches, and other community-based organizations to see if they need help – not only will your donations directly impact your community, but you will save money on shipping (which means you can buy more supplies for making more items to donate!). Allfreeknitting.com has a list of resources here and you can also check out Crochet.org’s resource list here to help get you started.

Tips for donating handmade items to charity this holiday season - click to read more on the Woolery blog.

Tip #3: Think Outside the Box.

In some areas, good samaritans have been placing scarves, hats and even coats in public areas with notes stating that they are intended for those in need. While many of these donations are store bought, there are many yarn crafters who are sharing their gifts (and there is even an official movement of called Chase the Chill which has locally-based chapters throughout the globe). Even if you don’t have a local chapter, you could just as easily employ this approach on your own!

Tip #4: Consider a Monetary Donation. 

Many organizations have limited space, and while the thought behind donating a handmade item is wonderful, it could have an adverse effect but straining other resources. Consider making a monetary donation instead; you could even sell your handmade goods and use the proceeds to fund your donation.

If you have any suggestions you don’t see here or favorite charity where you donate your handmade items, we’d love to hear about it – leave a comment on your post to share your thoughts with us!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

 

Who’s Worthy of a Handmade Gift?

It’s that time of year when friends, family, and sometimes even acquaintances might start hinting that they would like (or perhaps even expect) a handmade gift under the tree. Sure, they see you spinning, weaving, hooking or knitting, and they might have some idea of all the time and effort such a request entails – but are they truly worthy of a handmade gift? We’ve created a handy flow chart to take the guesswork out of this process for you so that you can enjoy your fall and winter crafting stress-free:

WooleryGiftGuide_FinalV2

Click image to view full size!

Be sure to pin and share with your crafty friends, or click here to download a printable PDF version to keep handy!