Wednesday, 9 November 2011

DIY Cardboard Box Inkle Loom Tutorial

Hi everybody!

I have been so inspired by the tutorials I have found on other weaver's blogs, most especially Laverne over at BackstrapWeaving. WOW. She weaves totally gorgeous things with very little in the way of equipment. If you haven't been to visit already please check it out. I can't get enough of her online tutorials and informative videos. I recently purchased her ebook on Andean Pebble Weave, and it's pretty rad! I CAN'T wait to make my first backstrap and get started!

I really want to make my blog a bit more about sharing knowledge and process. Sometimes I think people might be inclined to try inkle weaving at home, but don't really know if they will enjoy the process, or do it often enough to warrant spending the money on a piece of equipment.

Today I have a picture tutorial on how you can build an inkle loom out of stuff that is easy to come by. You might even have it kicking around your house. This way you can give the process a try without spending too much money and see if it's something you could dive right into. I'll be posting about how to thread up your looms, different basic patterns and then a video on weaving your first band too! You should be able to click on any of these images for a closer look. I hope this will inspire some of you to give this process a whirl!

First of all, I clearly have trouble counting. I have one too many dowels here for the job. I used what I had around my house, and encourage you to do the same. So one of my dowels will be fatter than all the rest. They need to be at LEAST one if not two inches longer than the width of your box, so that they will stay in the holes that you cut for them.

The first thing I do is decide what end of the box will be the back of my loom. Then I measure ABOUT seven inches in from the back edge and mark. I find the bottom front end of my box and measure UP two inches from the bottom and mark. Then I use my marker and sort of loosely draw a curve that is steeper towards the top of the box and then shallows out as it moves towards the bottom front edge. You can see how I made several lines before I decided where I would make the cut. That's okay, in fact I recommend it. This isn't a beauty contest. At this point choose function over form. The shallowing out is important because you need quite a bit of room in that open front area of the loom for working. You will understand this better when you see how the loom is threaded later on. I keep the flaps in tact at the top of the box, except where I am cutting away the curves. I tape them down once the loom is cut out. I am not sure if folding in the remaining flaps inwards helps the loop stay sturdy, but that's what I did this time around.

Flip that cut out piece over and use it to trace the identical (mirror) curve on the other side of the box. Cut it out. Then draw a straight line across the bottom front of the box (where the lower end of the curved sides end) and cut that section off.

You should now have something that looks like this:
Trace the end of the dowel using the measurements in the photo below. Once again, you may have to make small adjustments in measuring based on the size of your box. The placement of this dowel does not need to be exact. Most important thing is to make sure you get things fit securely. This is where the structure is weakest so the try to avoid bending and tearing the box, and aim for the dowel to fit snugly.

Do this to the other side as well. I push the dowel through the first hole, all the way to the other side, and inspect it to get it straight, then I trace the hole again off the dowel and then cut it out.

Above is the directions for the two top dowels. Once again when the holes on one side of the box/loom are cut, I push the dowels through to the other side and carefully adjust them so they look straight, comparing them to each other, and to the back of the box, from above and below and the side. I then trace the dowel ends on the inside of the opposite side of the box and cut these out. (Note: I am cutting through the side of the box as well as through the flaps which I folded inwards. You can choose to discard the flap portion).

Now you place two more holes. One hole is at the bottom rear of the loom directly below the top rear peg, and at about level with the bottom front peg. The last hole is for the heddle bar.

It might help to run a string from the front bottom bar up to the top rear bar. The heddle bar should be placed BELOW this and slightly forward compared to the top front bar. maybe even a bit more than in my drawing. Once again I haven't provided exact measurements because your boxes may all be a bit different size.

Now that all your dowels are in place your box loom is complete and should look like this!

One of the things I can't stress enough besides getting a very strong box is to make sure your dowels are as straight as possible in the frame. A slight angle is workable, but try and be sure before you cut.

Just so you get an idea of the different possibilities, I made the loom below using a giant freezie box, some heavy cardboard tubes from inside saran wrap and tin foil, and one very large plastic knitting needle. :P I ran out of cardboard tube. The rear bottom peg is the one I will remove in order to wind my inkle around the loom as I weave. I figured the knitting needle would work best in that spot.

You can see a colourful band on here, which I have used to make a key chain and a few friendship bracelets. You can also see that I have a bit of an angle on my top rear peg. This was a little annoying but not a total project killer.

I turned up the flaps on this one and wound some packing tape around, to make the box tall enough for the rear pegs. The flaps on this box actually tapered at the edges a bit, which I believe helped the structure of the loom. It's deceptively sturdy! You could always try and trim a very slight angle onto the flaps of your box and then tape them up like this.

Okay! I hope you're getting excited about trying this bad boy out! I'll be back with a short tutorial on making the string heddles, and then we can thread up and get weaving!

Thanks for stopping by, good luck and remember to leave a note or drop me an email at heartsonfibreblog (at) gmail (dot) com if you have a question!


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Completed Guitar Strap

Hi Guys! I got a few photos of the recently completed guitar strap:

100% cotton in a Celtic pick-up design using the basket weave structure. Black, white and gradated reds.

Black leather ends and nickel plated hardware.

I used a thicker, softer dishcloth cotton for the pick up which gave the design a kind of 3-d effect!

♥ SOLD! ♥

I'm in the process of ordering more hardware, and plan to weave a bunch of these for the upcoming guild sale in November!

Thanks for peeking! Take care and have a great weekend!


Monday, 12 September 2011

Tapestry Update!

Hello Hello!
Here is a shot of the rose tapestry at 138 Hours! You can click on the photos to get a larger view!

I got to wind the warp down a teensy bit further. That's always exciting! But my hips sure are bothering me. I am feeling a little deflated. I just hope I manage to get this one finished before I need to take a few months off and heal. But! Do you see the white area on the upper right hand side of the cartoon? That's totally the background! Eeee!

At this point I have so SO SO many butterflies and bobbins attached to the tapestry I can barely think straight and don't get me started on keeping things untangled. But until I start to close up the top of the rose I will have to keep moving across the entire piece, working up an inch at a time or so of each section. C'est la vie. Pun absolutely intended. :P

I can't wait to start in the center of the rose. The colours will be deeper and there will be some rich burgundy in with all that purple.

"Rest not. Life is sweeping by; go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime, leave behind to conquer time."
---Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I finished weaving the first Celtic knot guitar strap. This one has a home already plus I have 2 more requests!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ PINK! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I just threaded this bad girl up this morning. Looking sharp! This one is destined to pair up with a pretty wicked bubblegum pink electric guitar. HOT.

Thanks for popping in! Hope everyone had a nice weekend!


Friday, 2 September 2011

Adventures in Inkle Weaving

♥ ♥ Greetings fellow fibre junkies! ♥ ♥

First I thought I'd play around with supplemental weft. In the following two bands I have two wefts (horizontal) threads on separate shuttles: one finer and one that has 3 or more threads. I open the shed normally and throw through the fine weft, the, holding the same shed open drop selected warp threads, and shoot the thicker weft through. This allows that weft to pop up to the surface and create a pattern I couldn't make with a basic threading alone.

In this first example my supplementary weft wasn't very thick so the colours beneath shine through, but depending on the angle you see the band at the pattern becomes more or less visible:

In this band the supplemental weft is comprised of 4 strands of navy blue Clea crochet thread. The pattern is much more solid.

The Clea compresses more inside the shed but opens up at the surface because it's so much softer than other crochet threads, so I find it works really nicely for this!

And a shot of the two finished supplemental weft bands next to a plain weave one:

And now for the pick-up patterns! Pick ups are where the pattern is created by a secondary warp (the vertical threads) that can be lifted or dropped to create the pattern. So only one weft was used for this:

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Celtic knots! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I can't get enough of this celtic design. It's sooo cool. And the way the pattern is drafted in combination with the threads lifted and dropped on a normal shed--you really don't have to lift or drop more than 3 or 4 threads on any given row. It's too much fun.

This basket weave structure always reminds me of snakeskin, so I thought I'd try and obtain the effect. I'm not as close as I'd like, but getting there. It did give me a really cool idea for a future band. But I'm not telling!

This purple one was a pattern I designed myself on graph paper, but it involved picking up AND dropping the supplemental threads in every row and it just about made my head explode. This is why there are only about 2 inches woven on it. But I will conquer it:

I was inspired by a project (thank you Anne Dixon) in this Autumn's issue of Hand Woven magazine to weave a pleated necklace on my inkle loom. I used crochet thread for the project because it was what I had on hand, but in hindsight I should have used the size 30 or 50 thread for this, as my final product turned out super chunky. I really didn't beat down the weft either, so the ruffles wound up being bigger. Overall I am pleased with the outcome and hope to try it again soon with finer cotton. My brain is already chewing on some possibilities for integrating the technique into my other jewelry work. this done in a small scale with just one ruffle would make pretty snazzy earrings. Also I am wondering about crocheting lace along the bottom edge (again of a more delicate inkle).

Thanks for taking a peek! Happy weekend!


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

128 Hours! My Deadline is Set!

Hi everyone!

Well after tons of landscaping, company and a trip to my family reunion, I am back with an update! I hope you have had as much fun so far this summer as I have been having!

Here is the rose tapestry at 128 hours:

You can see the center of the rose now in the cartoon behind! I have set my deadline for the end of September 2011. I hope to have the warp for my next one threaded, tensioned and twined by mid October.

The image of my cartoon, with the past 18 hours worth of progress in blue:

Detail (left):

Detail (right):

A little closer...

And this is my not so itsy bitsy weaver friend:

She is a common Barn spider or Araneus cavaticus. Charlotte A. Cavatica from the book Charlotte's web is named after this bad girl. She made her summer home in my back porch doorway and has been hanging around for 2 months now.


A few other things I got up to before the family reunion. Would you believe I never took any pictures of the pretty blue and green hand spun, hand dyed, handwoven scarf I made for my auntie??? I have to get her to send me a picture.

Some inkle shoe laces I made for to match Miss Naomi's pretty new sneakers:

Two pretty mauve, plum and teal ruffled scarves for the November Sale:

A pretty red "kelp scarf", also for the November sale. I have several warps made for scarves like this. Some of them are asymmetrical! I'm excited!

Here's a few of the warps one pink and grey with a pink ruffled center as well as ruffles at the edge, and one gold and rust with the ruffle on one side over twice the width as the other side:

Thanks for taking a peek! It gets to this time of year and I just have to embrace the manic panic and ride it, tresses to the wind until Christmas.

Then FULL STOP and movie marathon my way through January and February. :P



Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Wheel Deal

Yesterday my husband found a listing for this Louet S10 spinning wheel on Kijiji and it was such a fabulous deal we couldn't say no! It's in really great condition and has seven spools and a rack that attaches to the bottom of the wheel so I can easily ply as many as four singles. :)

I just found out from my mother in law that there will be some wool fleece coming my way which is SO AWESOME! I will have to decided if it will be good for wet felting, because otherwise it will get spun on this bad boy!

A lovely friend gave me this amazing handwoven rug with an Asian dragon silhouette. Also it is TOTALLY in my wedding colours and thus matches a handwoven hand dyed/screened blanket that two of my college girlfriends made for me. I plan to hand stitch a little sleeve at the top so I can hang it on my wall instead of putting it on the floor. I just don't know if I can walk on it. :P

The coolest thing about the rug is that is is reversible! I adore it!

I have been busy weaving up scarves on my four harness jack loom in the basement. A-It is so much cooler down there and B-I need to start building up some stock for the Annual Sale in November.

This scarf in 100% wool, made with a peach and sage green space dyed wool, and a few stripes of peach and rust stuff I have on cones.

This scarf was a real learning experience for me. It is difficult to see but I wove a stripe of darker green above and below the horizontal orange stripes and that yarn didn't shrink at all when I wet the scarf out to finish it. So I had to cut it out and replace that with the paler green weft and re-wet it and hope for the best. Shown below is the scarf where the yarn has been replaced in the left side but not yet on the right. It looked a lot worse in reality, but if you click on it you can see the puckering that occurred when that section of weft did not shrink with the rest.

Below are close ups of the two sides. Now I got a much better result once the weft was replaced, but because I was sewing it in by hand the tension was different and so I did experience a bit of a pucker at the outside edge when the yarn I replaced shrunk, but over all it's much better than what I had before.

The other thing that happened was kind of a happy accident. The stripes of rust and peach were of a different wool than the rest of the warp, and it shrunk more. So it pulled up the ends of the scarf into a scallop. NEAT. I left a very long fringe, plying two warp threads together all the way across. (Sarah, I absolutely used that little doohickey you gave me. It worked like a charm and my fingers thank you). Below is the puckered scarf before I wove in the new weft.

And this scarf was a real quickie using some dishcloth cotton I had dyed. One side was pale brown, space dyed with navy, and the other side is peach. I used a peach acrylic faux-hair for weft. Not only is the scarf soft and fuzzy, but since it doesn't have any animal fiber in it it might appeal to a vegan, unless they are concerned about the dyes.

The peach faux-hair crosses the areas of pale brown in the navy warp and gives the scarf a mottled look.

And this is the Rose Tapestry at 114 hours:

I had warp threads break on me! So where you see the white cord wrapped in figure eights around t-pins that is a busted warp thread than I had to replace. I seriously have nightmares about this kind of thing and it was a bit trying when they started to fray, especially because it is supposed to be a high quality rug warp and I paid a hefty sum for it. GAR.

Anyways in the long run it should be no big deal. I think it was just the idea that freaked me out (angst to the max) in the beginning. It's a pain in the bottom but not The End of Days. :P

And hey, speaking of pains in the bottom I have learned something new. The lady who gave me the rug told me that the pain I have been experiencing deep in my hips is likely Weaver's Bottom. I laughed but she was dead serious, so I looked it up:

Weaver's bottom: Inflammation of the bursa that separates the gluteus maximus muscle of the buttocks from the underlying bony prominence of the bone that we sit on, the ischial tuberosity. Weaver's bottom is a form of bursitis that is usually caused by prolonged sitting on hard surfaces that press against the bones of the bottom or mid-buttocks. In proper medical parlance, Weaver's bottom is called ischial bursitis.

Thanks MedicineNet. com!

Thanks for popping by!