Two summers ago, at the first Fiber Festival in Crystal Lake, I took a work shop in weaving on one of those tiny little square looms. It was fun and entertaining, but of course anything that small is really only useful for sampling (since I’m not about to make a bunch of small squares to sew together).
Soon after I happened to be at a yarn shop in Richmond, and somehow this came up. The store owner persuaded me to purchase an Easy Weaver loom, which preceded to sit in its box, unopened, until a few weeks ago.
I finally pulled it up and set it up – it comes pre-warped, in this case in a tartan warp pattern in 2 ply wool.
It’s a simplified Rigid Heddle loom, with I think a maximum width of 13”. On it I wove two scarves, each about 50” in length, using the provided red and green yarn. For the first I used their suggested 3/3/10/3/3 pattern and when I was through the fringe was done with a simple overhand knot:
When I finished the first scarf, it remained on the loom – I left space for a fringe, wove a 6 row ‘header’, left another space for fringe, and resumed weaving. The second was also about 50” with the same weft, but this time I wove a 3/5/8/5/3 pattern and braided the fringe.
It was an interesting exercise and I think I learned a lot about how it works, and my likes/dislikes . Weaving is fast! I was able to find and correct some errors while weaving, others are still there. At first I was cutting the yarn at each change, but of course that meant ends to weave in – so I quickly figured out how to carry the yarn along the selvedge, which I liked much better. My selvedges are a bit uneven, but not as bad as I feared – I think they evened out a bit in the wash. The warp shows much more than I would have guessed. I like the 3/5/8 pattern better than the 3/3/10 one, but I prefer the loose fringe to the braided. I made the mistake of washing the entire fabric in one piece right after pulling it off the loom – I should have cut it and tied the fringes, and fixed any errors, first, as they weren’t particularly correctable after.
I liked that the loom came pre-warped, as it let me weave first and leave learning warping for later. It was frustrating though to find multiple knots in the warp, as well as one break. Unlike a more-typical RH loom, the Easy Weaver uses velcro to hold the warp ends on the front and back beams. That does seem to give less loom waste (though there certainly was some!) and struck me as rather clever. Still, as I am reading a book about basic weaving, I can already see why this is considered an ‘educational toy’ (something that escaped me when I purchased it, unfortunately) -- it has heddles of course, and a shed and shuttles, but no dents nor treadles. For learning the basics and deciding if I like weaving at all, it is fine – but as I could have purchased a more complex/complete rigid heddle loom for not a lot more, I’m a bit sorry I hadn’t done some research first. Still and all – I think I would like to take some classes using different types of looms before I consider an additional or replacement loom – it’s apparent that the difference in loom types is considerably more meaningful in terms of what you can do than I have thus far found with spinning wheels!
and the making of
- Current Music:Do Re Me
After I spun the Merino, I picked up another colorway from Spunky Eclectic -- this time a sliver of Coopworth in the colorway Nightshade. While the fiber itself was perhaps a bit coarse and scratchy, I love the colorway and am sad she isn't still producing it.
For this I went back to my 'default' spinning -- short-forward draw/inch-worm style, a relatively fine 2-ply. Since there wasn't a discernible 'pattern' to the colors (it looked kettle-dyed rather than space-dyed), instead of splitting the entire roving lengthwise, I opted to fold it in half, and literally split across the middle of the length. My hope was that I would get reasonably close to the same lengths on the two bobbins (though that didn't occur) but I wasn't trying for a consistent color. I packed both bobbins pretty full.
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(It's from yahoo videos, so there is a (skip able) ad at the end.)
After I finished the previous batts I was still in the mood for fast spinning, so last weekend I spun up some Merino roving I had from Spunky Eclectic, in the colorway Mudslide. Merino is a very soft fiber that really is best served by being spun thick and lofty anyway. Again, being from a fiber club, this happened to be a colorway I wasn't especially keen on.
Now, her fiber is carded and in roving form; this particular one was space-dyed, and had a distinct pattern. I unrolled the braid, and then stripped it - here is one of the strips (I forgot to take a photo prior to stripping and unfortunately this is the only one I took of the strips):
A couple of weeks ago I wanted to spin, but wanted more-immediate gratification than thin spinning allows. So, I dug through my fiber supply and pulled out a crosspatch creations batt that, while nice, wasn't a colorway I particularly cared for, and made an effort to spin it thick and soft. This was harder than I expected (though it did get easier once it dawned on me to adjust my wheel from the smallest to largest whorl :p) -- I definitely spun a bit thick-and-thin! Still, I filled 3 bobbins, and made a very soft and squishy 3-ply that is really quite soft and nice. It's very textural (as are their batts), and being carded rather combed there was a lot of VM to pick out -- also, this particular batt was still high in lanolin -- nice feel, but made it a bit sticky.
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