Posted tagged ‘rigid heddle loom’

Weaving and Appliqué Books and DVD

October 17, 2016

One of the things about moving across the country is that when you reorganize and pare down the stuff, it clarifies what is really important to you.

I have missed using my rigid heddle weaving loom, and I never got the time to try to weave purse straps using tablet weaving, so I’d like to get back to that when my shoulder injury repairs itself.

I have Deborah Kemball’s previous book Beautiful Botanicals, and I liked this Euphoria Tapestry Quilts for some of the smaller projects she includes. I was thinking of maybe using some of these designs in a mixed embroidery/appliqué accent on the shawl collar of a dressing gown I am making myself.


There are scant books on using a rigid heddle loom, but now and then a good one comes along. Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom by Syne Mitchell I liked because she discusses using two heddles for doubling the sett of your woven piece which is something I have planned to do for a couple of years for some new tea towels. I have the kit and extra heddles from Ashford, but never got them attached to the loom, it too was deferred for home renovations and selling and moving house.


I thought I might find some classes in my new area on tablet or card weaving, but there don’t seem to be any. I had woven two nice pieces of cloth to make purses some years ago, one in a lovely houndstooth pattern, and I wanted to weave my own bands to use as purse straps. I have the crochet cotton and the cards and shuttle/beater, and the spouse made me a surfboard style loom, but I couldn’t figure the process out from the book I bought.

This video is supposed to be very helpful for the confused and although he uses an Inkle loom for demonstrations, they can be adapted for my handmade loom.


Tablet Weaving Made Easy by John Mullarkey is a 2-disc video class lasting 120 minutes that gets good reviews, particularly from people like me who find the whole process confusing when using the weaving cards.

Boy, these are quite inspiring!



I Stick a Needle in the Monster Head While Wearing New Socks

October 27, 2011

Way back in March I started a felted bag for knitting projects and then got stuck on the embellishment. I have lots of stuff for embellishment but it wasn’t coming together, I felt I needed more texture or three-dimensional flowers or something. I recently purchased the book Knitted Flowers by Nicky Epstein, and have done up some samples of the Florets pattern on page 48. They are easy to do but I have a limited amount of yarn, so I scrounged up some old tapestry yarn left over from a long-ago needlepoint project. I tried some leaves too but I need a firmer fabric so have to use smaller needles before continuing.

I recently taught myself how to knit socks. There is never enough time for learning new things I find. I get pain when I knit too much, but lately I have found myself able to do some smaller projects on finer needles without pain, so I feel the world opened up creatively. It gave me a happy feeling to uncover my old needles from 30 years ago. My mother used to knit so it gives me a nice connection to her even though she died many years ago.

I call these my Malachite Socks because they have the colour gradations of malachite, one of my favourite gemstones. I made some mistakes but practice will help with that and I managed to trade some old machine knitting magazines and a book for some sock yarn, so I’m ready to go on another pair.

Here is a shot of the yarn with a string of malachite chips. Absolutely yummy, maybe I should make myself jewellery to match my handmade socks?!

Then I decided to make myself some mittens and a cabled hat for my husband using some other yarn I traded two books for. I of course made the spouse his hat first. I am just coming up to the crown shaping now, and he already tried it on and it fits well and looks very nice. This was made of Patons Decor yarn which is a blend of acrylic with 25% wool.

I like hanging around with creative types in forums as they are so inspiring. Lately I have been interested in what people are doing with knitted patterns from Rebecca Danger. I bought The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by her and am planning a few projects from there.

This is not the sort of thing I usually make since I don’t have children, but I do like to tell a story about characters and pair them up with books and card draws just for fun. To practice some of the techniques for knitting in the round to make monsters I made some Owl Puffs from a free pattern designed by Jenna Krupar.

I call them Percy and Patty, the Parliament Twins since a group of owls is called a parliament of owls. I messed up my Kitchener stitch on the heads. I did the stitch flawlessly before but got mixed up here. Perhaps they have tufts on their heads? Maybe a woodpecker got confused one day and started hammering on Percy’s head? You know how that happens in the wild.

I started weaving these towels on May 1st. Here it is October and I finally got around to hemming them. I was trying for something different and using a thick cotton yarn called Sugar ‘n Cream by Lily. I used their Hot Lime, Hot Pink, and Tangerine colourways. I liked the lime and pink but orange is a colour I detest, so that was my first mistake. My second mistake was using a thick yarn as I don’t like bulky yarns for knitting or weaving. My third mistake was doing two long towels on the warp instead of dividing it up into three. These are a huge thirty-eight inches long, almost the size of bath towels, and they are for the kitchen.

This project languished while I reconciled myself to not having a perfect project, then I got busy and hemmed the towels yesterday so I could get them out of the way and warp up again.

It nearly put me off weaving. While I understand the need for artists to stretch out of their comfort zone and use different colours and techniques, the bloody ORANGE was never going to fly for me, I don’t know what possessed me.

While getting charged up about weaving again, I decided to spend some of my Christmas money this year buying a second heddle kit and two extra reeds for my Ashford 16-inch rigid heddle loom as well as two pick-up sticks. Up to now I have used a plastic ruler as a pick-up stick but it isn’t ideal. The kit is two blocks of wood that fit on the loom to allow you to place and rest an extra heddle and thus weave a finer fabric or double weave fabric with two heddles to double the sett.

The shop that ordered my loom for me usually doesn’t open on the weekends but they are doing so in November and part of December this year, so I shall be able to pick my loom parts up and talk to them about finer cotton yarns and buy some fibre to work with. I have decided that I love weaving towels and want to experiment with finer setts and different materials and patterns .

As long as I don’t buy orange I should be successful.

Sea Towels

March 16, 2011

10 dent heddle
158 ends
112 inch warp
9 to 10 picks per inch

This was a random warp, an experiment with Knit Picks Simply Cotton Sport yarn, including some bouclé. They are tea towels, but because of the colourway I’m calling them “sea” towels. This is supposedly the maximum amount of warp I can get on my loom. The yarn was lovely and soft and I used the Knit Picks Crayon bouclé in the warp for a bit of texture. It was a slightly heaver double knitting weight but it worked fine, I just had to watch my fell line while weaving and make sure it was beaten down to be even with the sport weight yarn.

Before washing the dimensions were 14.5 inches wide by 26 inches for two of them with the third being 29.5 length. I had to squeak out as much warp as possible. I could probably have warped about 120 inches with this yarn as it was fairly soft and fine.

I put a decorative band of leno lace after the hem area. For the hem I used #30 DMC crochet cotton as weft for turning a finer hem, and I sewed the hems by hand because I felt the sewing machine would stretch them too much, plus I just think it’s a neater finish. The third towel on the bottom is still showing the hemstitching I did on the loom, I haven’t pressed and hemmed it yet. Here they are disporting with a shamrock plant in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.

Next time I try weaving towels I will use the 8/2 cotton on cones and double the threads in the heddle. But that’s for another time when the budget rebounds.

Another Woven Scarf

February 12, 2011

Aha, now that my friend has received this as a gift I can post pictures of it.

This is a scarf I made for a gentleman friend in the UK, and it is done with three skeins of Knit Picks Felici yarn in the colourway Sorcery. This is a very soft yarn with stripes. The finished measurement after washing was 6.5 x 64 inches, so a nice size for wrapping and warmth.

86 ends
12.5 dent heddle
15 picks per inch
90 inch warp

I couldn’t achieve a balanced weave but it made a nice fabric with a good drape for around the neck. The fringe is extra long at 6.5 inches but I thought that extravagance was something my friend could pull off; he’s quite stylish. One of those people who can throw on a scarf and look like they bought an ensemble at Harrods.

Fabric Bible Cover Finished

January 18, 2011

I originally started this in March 2010 while I was having fun embroidering redwork and bluework quilt blocks. After cleaning my dining room table last week I uncovered the project and decided to finish it.

I switched to a variation of the Cross and Crown quilt block for the final cover. I wasn’t too keen on the first version I picked and this block better depicts the crown shape that is in the embroidery. The piecing for the whole cover is an asymmetrical design as I didn’t want to fuss too much.

I also decided that some medium weight interfacing was fine rather than using quilt batting. That is too complicated which is why I got stuck last time and it ended up buried on my dining table. I also didn’t want to fiddle around with using different coloured inside flaps as originally planned. The main objective with unfinished projects is to finish them, not to dither about it for another year with bits and pieces all over the house.

Click to Enlarge:

I put an old pendant from a necklace my husband gave me about 30 years ago on some macramé cord and sewed it into the cover for a bookmark. Then I embroidered and appliquéd a small circle for the inside of the cover. In the circle I stitched down an old pendant that a high school friend gave me in 1972 for Christmas. One of the things I’ve learned from watching television shows about de-cluttering is that when you find old items that were once important in your life, you should find a way to honour them and thus yourself. I was quite happy that I incorporated both these objects into the new book cover.

The red roses represent the Rose of Sharon from Song of Solomon 2:1, and the clusters of lilacs, or grapes if I stretch my imagination, remind me of the old 1945 movie Our Vines Have Tender Grapes with Edward G. Robinson and Margaret O’Brien. I always loved that movie and the title comes from the Song of Solomon 2:15. What lovely language, and this little embroidery will remind me of that, as well as a long-ago time when I was 16 and my friend gave me this fish and cross charm on a chain.

Also this week, I warped the loom with Knit Picks Telemark yarn in the colours Columbine and Poppy for a lovely low-contrast houndstooth pattern to use for one or two sets of purses. It’s going well so far, and I love this print. I dislike the usual black and white houndstooth as it seems so much like suiting fabric, but this is terrific looking, I’m really pleased. I’m making a piece about 15 x 44 inches, and hopefully that will allow me to cut several accessory bags too.

Next up is an unfinished purse and matching wallet that I started last May and found buried in the dining room too.

Scarf on the Rigid Heddle Loom

November 27, 2010

I still have to twist the fringe as I hate fluffy chunky fringe but it is done and off the loom. I managed to keep all the edges straight so that the width of the scarf is the same all the way along too. My selvedges are pretty neat as well.

It measures 9.5 x 69 inches without the fringe. It might draw up a bit after washing, but I am quite pleased.

This is 75% wool and 25% nylon yarn, but it’s a sport weight so fairly fine and not chunky like worsted weight yarns. I like it–don’t think I’ve ever had a scarf like this. The yarn is Patons Kroy Jacquard in a colourway called Summer Moss Jacquard. This is my second woven project with Kroy yarn and it never gave me a bit of trouble, really lovely to work with in the loom.

It took me two days to make (but I was really pushing it) and then twisting and tying the fringe will probably take another two days as it’s quite tedious.

That’s why Hockey Night in Canada is on Saturday night, so women can fringe their scarves. It’s a known fact.

Oh, and I got half of it done before the game. Always good to be ahead of the game.

Woven Fabric Is Off the Loom

November 24, 2010

Well, here is my first effort.

Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom 16-inch
12.5 Dent heddle
170 ends of Patons Kroy Mexicala Stripes (I used 2 50 g balls–none left)
9 picks per inch
Finished measurement 14 x 24 inches.

It was sticky yarn, so I had a few skips and I repaired them with some darning, then washed the fabric and trimmed the darned ends. I am using this for a purse so it’s not crucial, but I must learn to check my sheds more carefully. I had an awful time with the down shed and had to keep using a piece of cardboard like a pick-up stick to separate it so that the shuttle would go through. I did pick out a couple of rows here and there to fix the skips as I went, but I missed a few.

So much to check for at first while I’m learning, and you can see my beginning on the right hand side of the picture where my selvedges were a bit wonky, but they improved toward the end.

I also learned hemstitching on one end and tried hemming on the sewing machine which wasn’t ideal but will hold the fabric until I sew it into a purse. Before I cut the fringe off I tried the twisting technique and that worked well so I would do that for fringe on a scarf as I don’t like fuzzy yarn fringe.

Update: Here is a mock-up picture of the purse. I have also purchased some nice burnt orange coloured buttons to anchor down the straps. I am just hoping the weaving will be okay when I try to machine quilt it.