A new year … a new toy … a new craft.
I got this for myself for Christmas, and was eager to try it out right away. I was like a child, anxious and eager to open up a present.
This has been on my to-do list for some time now, and when I saw that it was on sale in December last year, I thought that it was coincidental? serendipitous? that the thought had crossed my mind again that maybe I should try something new.
Yes … I still have lots of WIPs in each room of the house … ok, maybe not in the bathroom. And there’s all those other project ideas and stitch and colour experiments that I also have on the list to try out. So do I need a new toy to play with?
When I showed it to SIL, she said, ‘Oh, that means more yarn.’ Aha! The boys didn’t like to hear that though, but since they were busy opening up their Christmas presents, they weren’t really paying attention to that part.
I started to put the loom together. Yes, me, with all the parts and screwdriver in hand. The boys sat there and watched me, the rascals.
Christopher did help me out when I got stuck by going into YouTube to look for instructional videos for one particular step. I guess by that time, he was intrigued as to what it could do.
Finally … yeah, about three hours later or so … I got it all together … wefts and warps and all.
This is the first sample swatch. We were enjoying watching the pattern come out, as I passed the shuttle back and forth. My mind is running around, thinking of all the colour combinations, and now I can make a tartan scarf! or blanket! or afghan! Well, at least I think it will work with this, right?
Hmmm … seems I missed some steps there in the beginning. Looks like the first row or two will be sliding down. And my tension is uneven. And I missed some of those wefts at the side.
Ok, I think I have an idea now of how I should be weaving. As with everything, practice makes perfect. I continued for several more inches, then the mistakes and missed wefts started to bother me, so I took it off the loom, and started to warp with new yarn.
If you’re thinking of picking up loom weaving, it will go well with your crocheting or knitting. You still get to play with yarn, and you’ve just added endless colour combinations and patterns ideas to your to-do list and projects.
Here’s some tips I’ve picked up from fiddling with this during the three hours or so. If the expert weavers out there see something wrong I’m doing, please do let me know. But this is what I learned so far.
1) The most important one I learned is that when making a swatch, don’t make it five feet long!! Rarely does the first try work out perfect for me, so I don’t know why I thought that I could make a scarf from the first try without having to start over because something was wrong with it. Oh, and no, you can’t just unravel a little portion of it – well, at least, I haven’t learned yet how to do that, if you can.
2) There’s lots of YouTube tutorials on this. Not all of them explain or show each step in detail, so it helps to watch all of them, so that you’ll see how it’s done, and pick up tips from there. One tutorial was very good with setting up the loom and the warps, and starting to weave. When I looked for Part 2 of the tutorial, there was none. It was too bad because she was really good at showing how to set-up the first steps.
3) Picking up the yarn over and under the anchor – that’s what I had a problem with. I didn’t know if what I was doing was right or wrong, and most of the tutorials will tell you that it’s important that you pick up over and under alternately, but I couldn’t find anywhere to show how that was done. I’ve improvised on it, and it seems to be working.
4) Tension is important here. My tension on the warp is tight with this second swatch, specially when changing the rigid heddle reed from low to high. This stretches the yarn, and at times I think that the yarn will snap. I’ve been loosening the tension as I switch from high to low, and it’s starting to get a little tedious. Maybe I’ll get it right the next time.
5) Don’t use yarn that breaks easily when you’re pulling or stretching it. Using that as the warp will surely snap in a short while. Don’t use the expensive yarn either. Reserve that for when you’re more familiar with using the loom. Use those left-over scraps of yarn that’s not enough to finish an item without having to buy another skein, but is still too much to just throw out.
6) Make sure that the anchor is pulled over the rear bar, so that it’s higher than the warps. Having the anchor pulled over the rear bar will raise the warp, when you change the position of the rigid heddle reeds from low to high. It will create that shed to pass the shuttle through.
That’s all I can come up with for now. I’ve had to set it aside now that we’re back to reality with work and school and life in general … I’m still dreaming up of colour and pattern combinations … I’ll post that finished swatch soon …