Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

Completed fingerweaving project

When it comes to yarn, as I’ve said many times, I’ve fallen so far down the rabbit hole that there’s no coming back, even if I wanted to! I’m always discovering new-to-me crafts, and while not all of them have stuck, most of them have, and I take a lot of pleasure in learning about the less well known fiber arts.

When I say “less well known”, what I really mean to say, I guess, is that they are niche arts. When you walk up to people and say “weaving”, they instantly have a picture in their heads that, while maybe not completely accurate, indicates a general knowledge of the term. Same for knitting, crochet, etcetera. Even if they don’t take part in the craft themselves, they at least know enough to recognize what you mean. But if you walk up to John Q. Public and say “naalbinding”, or “fingerweaving” or “taaniko”, most likely you’re going to get a blank stare. If you follow it up with “fiber arts” and you’re talking to people like me, they’ll be compelled to go look it up. If they’re really like me, they’ll also be compelled to at least try it.

Thus my repeated attempts at fingerweaving, which finally paid off and were successful: I got through an entire band, with pretty decent selvedges, and I’m pretty proud of it. Will I continue with it? Most likely. It has the feel of one of those things that stick for me.

Practicing taaniko

Another thing that has that feel is taaniko. In my last post, I mentioned seeing a Maori artist who had posted a demonstration video of taaniko, or taniko, which is Maori weaving, and also resembles, as I discovered, the Chilkat weaving of the PNW nations.

I was so enthralled with this video–and the fact that no loom is actually necessary–that I hunted down a book on taaniko weaving to give it a shot and see if I liked it.

The book arrived a few days ago, and I finally got to it to make an attempt. The book was written in the 70s, and, for me, didn’t give me quite enough information. It went over setting up the warp, and the first two rows of actual weaving, then mentioned something about starting row five differently, then I turned the page, and the author was talking about finishing the piece.

Whoa, hold on!!!! There’s a whole heap of things that take place between row two and finishing! Where is all that information? What happened to rows three and four? Do I just repeat the same thing I did for rows one and two? Why is row five begun differently? And why are we talking about finishing the piece ten seconds after beginning it?

I tried, I truly did. I made two attempts in mercerized cotton that were absolutely disastrous. Then i decided to try what I should probably have tried in the first place: I hit my tutorial go-to website: YouTube. Some things just never click for me without a video.

I found a bunch of tutorials on taaniko, more than I honestly had expected. And the ones I chose to watch not only demystified the art, but also de-complicated the book. What I saw in the videos was far simpler than the book had been. Then I made an attempt in acrylic that went a little bit better. Then a fourth one in acrylic that went even better, and I began a fifth in unmercerized cotton that is only slightly better than the fourth, but the key is that I improved each time, and I’m proud of that.

The funny thing is that, watching the videos, it looks simple and easy, and in a way, it is. At its most basic, you’re twining two different colored wefts around your warp threads. That’s it. If you want color A to be visible, put color A overtop of your warp. If you want color B to be visible, twist the weft until B is on top.

It sounds simple. It looks simple.

It’s not simple at all, and yet it is.

I’m still working on my fourth and fifth attempts, and I’m just beginning to maybe-perhaps-possibly figure out how it works. I’ve given up on trying to follow even the easiest pattern yet, and just get the hang of getting the twining itself right, and the color changes. When you look at my photos, you can see there are mistakes…lots of mistakes. And I kept going because right now, it’s not about getting it perfect. It’s about figuring it out. Getting it right comes a little bit later.

It’s been a bit less frustrating than fingerweaving was. That, pardon my language, royally pissed. Me. Off. For years. I could not get it right. I couldn’t even get it going. I can now, but it has taken me nearly ten years to get to this point. Taaniko, thankfully, clicked a bit better! And yes, I do intend to continue with it, because it’s fun for me.

Monk’s belt patterns

I also tried out monk’s belt patterns on my new Windhaven Ukulele. And, by the way, I couldn’t be happier with both of the Windhaven looms, and I plan on getting at least one more, if not two.

But anyway: monk’s belt. It was a different kind of bandweaving for me. Dressing the loom was different than I’ve ever done before, and bandweaving has always been warp-faced before, but monk’s belt is weft-faced, which made it weird for me. With a monk’s belt chart, the only threads you actually manipulate are the pattern threads. The other threads just change sheds back and forth and don’t get manipulated at all, really. They’re really just there to help anchor your weft down; that’s the only way I can think to explain it. Weird, but pretty. Naturally, I’d had to try it because, new loom, and Celtic knotwork! Once I’d seen that, there was no way I wasn’t trying it!

Well, I think I’ve babbled enough on this post. I’d better get to bed!!!!


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The results of the micro macrame sampler

As I patiently wait for my Windhaven Ukulele, and not so patiently wait for the European rigid heddles, I’ve been playing with different things, as I’ve been posting (Windhaven has been great about updating folks. The European company seems to be unconcerned about the lateness of its order.). Ply-split braiding continues to go well, but I’ve also been playing with micro macrame and fingerweaving.

I’m not particularly good at either one, although I’d like to say I’m getting better at both. I don’t know if that’s strictly true, but it’s what I’d like to say!

With micro macrame, it’s not tying the knots that causes difficulty, it’s getting them to line up properly and actually look good. I keep redoing the one tutorial DVD that I have, because it covers all of the basic knots. It’s definitely going to take more practice!

Fingerweaving is something I’ve tried several times over the years, and always failed at. Of all the different types of weaving, this and tabletweaving are the ones that give me the most trouble. Years have passed, and that still holds true. I haven’t completely given up on either one, though. And this is the furthest I’ve ever gotten with fingerweaving!

The third fingerweaving attempt.

The first two pieces, I anchored the weaving to a clipboard, which doesn’t work as well as I had hoped it would. It does fine for the first few rows, but as the piece gets longer, well, there’s no take-up rod to enable you to keep your hands in a good position to keep weaving. I tried a couple of things that didn’t work, so those two pieces are necessarily short.

Finally, I decided to pull out my 10″ Schacht Cricket, and anchoring to that has worked out a little bit better. My selvedges still need work…a lot of work…but the weaving itself is getting somewhat easier.

Ideally, with fingerweaving, you’re supposed to anchor to the back of a chair, a nail on the wall, something like that, but the Cricket seems better to me. I like having a take-up rod.

It’s a little strange, not having the weaving anchored at both ends, as that’s what I’m used to, but I can see the appeal of fingerweaving.

Speaking of fingerweaving, there’s a Maori woman who has posted in a couple of the Facebook weaving groups, and she does traditional Maori work called taaniko that looks a lot like fingerweaving, and they’re not small pieces!!!!! It’s interesting to watch her videos. They’re not teaching videos, they’re demonstrations, and her fingers just fly. It’s something I’d love to learn. Yeah, I know, another fiber hobby. As if I need more. But in my defense, I think every type of weaving has something to teach that helps with other types.

Great defense, right? It’s even true!

I learned something else, too. I was watching a Taprootvideo class by Carol James on fingerweaving, and she has a different way of changing sheds on her weaving. So, naturally, I tried to do it her way…and screwed everything up. Moral of that story: if you have your own way of doing things, and it works, don’t change it to someone else’s way just because!!!

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Still fighting with the Spindle from Hell.

I’ve been trying to challenge myself in spinning during this Tour de Fleece, and to that end, I’m trying harder to learn more about using my more difficult spindles, get better at consistent yarn thicknesses on the wheel and the spindles, and trying out fiber I’ve never used before. I even gave my blending board a shot.

These self-challenges have brought me back to the Spindle of the Damned, the spindle from hell: the Scottish dealgan.

I cannot emphasize enough how difficult this thing is to use. I am wearing out my cuss word stockpile. It’s supposed to be a drop spindle, and the operative word, here, is “drop”, something that it does constantly. I have resorted to park-and-draft spinning to build up a cop on it. Apparently spinning on it improves once you have a buildup of yarn. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Normally, spinning is a very calming activity for me, on the wheel and every spindle I own…except this one. I refuse to be beaten by it, but it’s very difficult not to throw it across the room.

I’ve had much better luck from the Mayan spindle. I now have two of them. While scrolling through a weaving hashtag on Instagram, I came across a weaver with an absolutely stunning shuttle, so I asked her where she got it, and she directed me to the woodcarver’s profile (I haven’t decided whether her help falls under networking or enabling. I think it depends on which side of the transaction you’re on. If you’re the carver, it’s networking. If you’re the weaver, it’s enabling. Makes sense to me.).

My new sugar glider Mayan spindle, and the tiny bit of yarn I spun on it so far, wound onto a nostepinne.

This gentleman does beautiful carving, and he doesn’t use power tools at all. He does it all the old-fashioned way: with a pocketknife. Knowing that makes looking at his work all the more impressive. No laser, no lathe, no chainsaw, just a simple pocketknife. He has a waiting list, and no wonder! I made sure to get myself on it, and told him I wanted a Mayan spindle, a shuttle, and what he calls a tall whorl spindle, which means the whorl is several inches tall.

I mentioned my likes–sugar gliders, Arctic dogs, etc.–and left it up to him to decide what image went on the Mayan spindle. I am now the proud owner of a sugar glider Mayan spindle. He’d never heard of them before I brought them up, but he did justice to the tiny terrorists, and the spindle arrived yesterday.

That meant it had to be tried out immediately, of course, and since my gliders are special to me, to honor them, the fiber had to be special too. I have a tote dedicated to spinning fiber, so I dug in, and came out with a package of a yak-silk blend that I’d forgotten I even had. Beautiful, soft stuff! And onto the spindle it went. I was not disappointed by the yarn or the spindle. Both are beautiful.

The blending board experiment was much less successful. The less said about that, the better. Lol. Granted, it was only my first time using it, but it was still pretty bad, even based upon lack of experience. I’ll try again, but I won’t show what happened this time!

Since I’m just about out of the muga silk on Anansi, I think I’m going to go fight with the dealgan some more, and see if I can’t narrow the gap between its score and mine. Wish me luck!


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Ply-split braid

Tour de Fleece is a yarn-spinning event, created about fifteen years ago to run concurrently with Tour de France. You know, because we’re all using spinning wheels, although in different ways. They’re riding bikes, we’re making yarn.

Basically, it’s kind of a challenge, to yourself. You set a goal to reach by the end of the tour, whether it’s to spin a certain amount of yardage, a certain type of yarn, whatever you want your goal to be. And initially, it was an online thing. Now, in some places, such as Colorado, it’s an annual guild event.

I never participated before; there was always something else I had to do during such things. And technically speaking, I guess I’m not really even participating now. I’m not on a team (yes, that’s a thing), nor have I joined an online TDF group. I am spinning at home, with no particular goal in mind, just a plan to spin until the tour is over and see what I’ve got. So I’ve buckled down to the gold muga silk that I had started a little bit back, and am now close to the end of my supply, with a nearly full bobbin. I’m not sure the little I have left to spin is going to actually finish filling the bobbin, but that’s okay.

I’ve been spinning all day, for the most part, but now I’m taking a break because my hand is tired of drafting out the silk. It’s hard to make myself stop spinning, because, like everything else, you get into a rhythm. Sometimes I even zone out completely; it’s that peaceful. But as I said, my hand was beginning to raise objections, and so I stopped for the evening. That, of course, does not mean that I didn’t pick something else up. Yes, it was the ply-split braiding.

I actually am improving. I don’t know if you can see it in the photo, but there’s a safety pin on one of the edges. You start the band in the center and work outwards, first on one half, then the other. The safety pin marks the starting point, and I can see the difference between the first half and the second half that isn’t done yet. The first half starts out not pulled in tightly enough; my edges are inconsistent. In some places the band is wider, but as you get to the end of that side, it starts to draw in more. The band becomes narrower, the edges are smoother, with fewer bumps. The second half has started out much better, already narrowed down, the cords pulled in tightly, no bumps along the edges. So I can definitely see improvement. Once I’m sure I’m being consistent most of the time, I’ll try a different pattern.

The funny thing is, there seem to be a finite number of patterns available on the net, and even in the books I have. Different authors show the same patterns, as do Pinterest and Instagram, and I find myself wondering why that is, if it’s something about this style of braid that is self-limiting. When I do a search on Google or Pinterest or Instagram, I see the same patterns over and over again, in different colors, and there truly aren’t that many patterns. It appears that there is more flexibility if you use ply-split braiding for making baskets. Something to research, I suppose.

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Incorrect braid, but still pretty

I bought a ply-split project from Etsy a few days ago, a pdf pattern, and I’ve been dying to try it out, which is why I spent the better part of the day a couple of days ago making cord. The piece calls for 24 cords, in five different colors. Eight of one, and four each for the rest.

I used Scheepjes Catona for the cord. Since trying it out, it has rapidly become my go-to yarn. The colors are gorgeous, and the yarn is soft and strong. Love, love, love this yarn, and I wish it was more easily accessible here in the States. Shopping online is great, but nothing replaces viewing an item with your own eyes.

I didn’t realize how time-consuming the cordmaking would be. The battery-powered cordmaker can only do so much so quickly, unlike the drill-driven cordmaker I’ve seen in videos. But though my setup isn’t the best, the job got done.

What I’ve learned, though, is that I didn’t pay quite enough attention to detail as I thought with the cordmaking. Yup. I posted a pic in the Facebook group and asked if I’d done everything correctly, and it seems that though my cords are made with 4 strands, they are still 2-ply cords. Why? Because the four strands were to be twisted separately, then be twisted together. What yours truly did was twist two strands together, then twist all four.


It would be the one time I post a video that I did it wrong, wouldn’t it?!

New cords, this time made properly!

I’m going to finish the pattern anyway, then try to make my cords correctly and do the pattern again. The piece I currently have is still pretty, if incorrect, and I figure since I can’t use those cords for anything else, I might as well finish what I started. It is giving me a feel for how to place the gripfid, which is a good thing. And I have gone back and made more cords, properly. I definitely need a better setup for cordmaking, and that means getting into the garage to find the other cordmaker. I’ll get there…eventually.

As much as I’m finding that I’m enjoying ply-split braiding, it also leaves me in a bit of a quandary, because Scheepjes Catona doesn’t come in huge skeins. So far, when I make cords, I use two four-yard lengths of yarn for one cord. If I need four cords of one color, that’s already sixteen yards used…that’s a significant amount of the skein. It means that if another project comes up, I will have to buy more yarn. Not that that is a hardship, mind, and a skein isn’t expensive at $3.85, but there are 109 colors in the Catona colorway. I’m trying to have at least one full skein of each color on hand, because I use Catona in weaving, crochet, and now ply-split braiding. Having multiple skeins of each color is going to get pricey quick, and having multiples would be the ideal situation. My wallet, however, is screaming at even the idea. Can you hear it? I think there might be tears…

Maybe what I should do is a destash trade kind of thing. I’ve been trying to get away from acrylic yarn, of which I have plenty. Maybe someone would trade away their Catona. Hmmm…

On the left, the new braid, with different colors, and proper cords

So that’s the quandary: I need a large amount of the Catona if I’m going to use it in those three crafts. Something I’ll have to work on.

Today, I started the same pattern over again, with different colors, proper cords, and there is a noticeable difference. I haven’t quite finished the first, incorrect one, but I really wanted to try doing it right. One mistake I made, right off the bat, is using black as the dominant color. I wanted to make the colors pop, and they do, but I didn’t stop to think about the fact that seeing the plies is really, really difficult. As in, I can’t work on this one in the living room. I need to be in the studio at my desk, with the magnifying light on. 

Once I got it going, I didn’t need the magnifier so much anymore, and I think I can thank the time I’ve spent on the other braid for that, getting a feel for where the fid needs to go. I’m beginning to be able to see it in this braid as well, and starting to go a little faster. It’s fun, and the pattern really isn’t hard. Once you’ve done a couple of repeats, you can look at it and know where you are and what you need to do next.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with these two braids, but I’m sure my children will have ideas of their own, and will claim them if I don’t have an instant answer to that question!

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Ply-split keychain-become-choker

I haven’t felt like doing much weaving the past two days. Sciatica has been flaring up across my whole lower back, and the only way I’m actually comfortable is standing up or lying down. But I still needed to do something that involved yarn. Because, of course, right? Well, ply-split braiding is another one of those things that hit my radar when I learned to weave, and I really had an interest, but buying pre-made cord for it can get really expensive, really fast. So I watched videos on how to make my own cord, and years ago, I bought a battery-powered cord maker to attempt it, but the stupid thing and I could not get along, much like the previously mentioned dealgan. The cord I made was far too loose to work with, and I couldn’t figure out why. I blamed the cord maker, as everything I read and watched said it wasn’t an ideal way to make cord. I put it back in its box and put it away, and looked for the item that research had told me was the best way to go about making my own cords. It’s a cordmaker that attaches to a drill, and is also very pricey. As in close to $300. It took a few years before I finally bought one, only to realize I didn’t have the best setup to use it. Into my desk it went, until the day I had a better setup, and I bought a few hanks of pre-made cord. As I expected, it’s not really cost effective to buy it that way. For a tiny project, you can get away with it, especially if you’re only doing one project, but if you’re going to spend any significant amount of time doing this, you honestly need to make your own cord.

I still had some pre-made left, so yesterday I began to play with it. I started out to make a keychain, and it quickly decided to become a choker. A choker, I might add, that Aneira wasted no time in claiming. I let her have it. It looked better on her anyway.

I should explain what ply-split braiding actually is.

Made-by-me cords for ply-split braiding

The easiest explanation I can give you, seeing that I’m an utter novice, is you start with a number of four-ply cords, however many your project calls for, and a little item called a gripfid. From what I’ve seen, those are usually made from hollow metal knitting needles. The metal is removed from an area near the tip, exposing the hollow space. What you’re going to do is insert the gripfid, tip first, between the plies (plys?), so you will have two plies on top of the fid, and two beneath. You do this through all of your cords except the last one. That one, the end with the aglet is inserted into the hollow space of the fid, so it’s inside of it. Then you draw the fid back out the way it came, pulling that last cord through the others. Pretty cool. That last cord becomes your first now, and on your next pass, it’s the first one you split with the fid. That’s the simplest way I can explain it. I hope it makes sense.

Having the choker turn out so well led me to wanting to try another project, but I didn’t have enough cord, and I went looking for my expensive, never-been-used cordmaker, and discovered it’s not in the studio, which means it’s in the garage, somewhere amongst the boxes that we have yet to unpack. The cheaper, not-ideal cordmaker, however, was right in plain sight. So I shrugged my shoulders, and decided to give it the old college try again.

Would you believe that this time I finally figured it out and managed to make some decent cord?! I’m in shock. No, the battery-powered cordmaker isn’t ideal, but I’ve gotten it to work. Twelve more cords to go, and I’ll have enough for the next project.

I even did a video of making the cord, this time. I’ve never posted a video before, so we’ll see how this plays out. If it works, I would suggest playing it without the sound. I have no idea how to edit out the loud, annoying motor sound!

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Today I managed three posts!!! Yes!!

Well, I can’t lie…the other two were done and sitting in my drafts, waiting…they weren’t all written today! But this one is. I’m still happily inkling along, but I wanted to show you some things that were new and interesting to me, and had to be tried. I came across one, I don’t remember where, and in looking for it, ran across the other.

As you can see in the picture, there are a slew of new spindles here. The purple one is a Peruvian chac-chac from Straddle Creek Spins. That one has a captured ring that is supposed to rattle as you spin…I have yet to manage to make it do so. The five to the right are from Mirkwood Arts. I am a proud fantasy geek, so just the shop name alone was enough to make me look. But all the spindles are aptly named as well (not by me, this time!!!). And naturally, there was a spindle club that I had to join, because what kind of geek would I be if I didn’t?! The first one to the right of the chac-chac is Fili, the next is Idril Celebrindal, then Legolas, then Bettina’s Rainbow (the only non-Tolkienesque spindle), and finally Haldir. They’re not pictured in order of receipt. They’re gorgeous supported spindles, and spin quite well!

The last two, to the left, are the ones I wanted to show you. The one with the fiber is called a txoatile, from the Basque area of Spain. It intrigued me because I’d never seen a spindle like it before, although it resembles a Turkish spindle, a bit. I’m still getting the hang of spinning with it; it doesn’t spin as easily as a drop spindle.

The one between it and the chac-chac is a Scottish dealgan, another one I hadn’t seen before, and therefore had to have (do you see a pattern forming here?). “Dealgan” is actually pronounced “Jelligan”. This is where you learn that all of the Irish and Scottish names we hear in the US are, for the most part, mispronounced. “Caitlin” is not pronounced “Kate Lynn”. It is pronounced “Kathleen”. “Aislynn” is not “Aze Lynn”, as I had thought, but “Ashlynn”. Pretty cool, right? So many names like that. Duncan? “Dhonncaidh”. If I’d had a son, that might have been his name, spelled exactly like that. Like I said, geek. So: jelligan, which I would never have tumbled to.

The dealgan and I are still having words with each other. There are videos about spinning each on YouTube, and I bought both from Muddy Duck Workshop. I’ll get the hang of them soon; they only arrived yesterday!

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I came into the studio today with the sole purpose of trying a little harder to organize the area, but there are problems. One is just the sheer number of little items that pile up everywhere. It’s not the larger pieces of equipment; those are easy. It’s all of the little ones, particularly those of which you don’t have eight million of the same item. Take shuttles, for instance. If you just label a drawer for shuttles, you can toss all of them in there, and you’re done. But say you break them down according to the looms they’re for: rigid heddle, inkle, floor loom, etcetera. Well, the Flip only has one shuttle, and I’m not going to earmark a drawer for one shuttle. So it goes into the desk drawer, with the small box of miscellaneous clips, another of stitch markers, and so on. The top of my desk and the desk drawers are a mass of little things that don’t really have a place to call their own…yet.

Some things, you know will live on your desk forever because it’s the best place for them, things like pens and paper clips. The rest, you kind of have to make up as you go along. One of the things I’d like to make is a series of pockets to hang on the desk hutch, to hold the studio remote controls. Yes, there is a television, as well as a stereo in the studio. I don’t always want it to be quiet in here. Sometimes I want music, other times I put on movies…it depends on the day! The stereo has a remote, the tv has its own and the satellite remote, the DVD player under the tv has a remote, and the fan has a remote. On the desk, they take up a lot of space, but hanging pockets would take them out of the way and still keep them organized and accessible.

I’ve also got this rolling cart with ten drawers that has been awesome for me. I’ve ordered four more of them. Two are for the studio, the other two are for the kids to neaten up their bedrooms. Especially Bryony. We won’t discuss her room. If you have kids, you can already guess. If you don’t have kids, once upon a time you were one, so you still have a pretty good idea.

My other problem is my ability to be sidetracked by other projects. Today, it was the little mini inkle that got me, and then this blog post about being sidetracked lol!!

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Tiny loom from Hard Maple Looms. It’s 7″ long by 4″ high and cute as a button!

The weavebrain is back to running amok. I currently have four looms under warp. Two are weaving the same design in different colors and yarn thicknesses. One is under a practice warp. And the last, a teeny little loom, is under an inkle warp. My last loom and my wooden heddles haven’t yet arrived, and I have no idea when they will. The Ukelele is coming from Windhaven, and they had a major flash flood, so the shop was under water. No telling when they’ll be able to resume work. That’s a horrible thing to have happen, especially now when there’s already so much going on in the world.

The heddles are coming from Latvia. They shipped on May 7th, but there’s no tracking number for them, so I have no idea where they are. Given the state of the world, they might have gone to Outer Mongolia, for all I know!

Staying on point is hard because I am seriously wanting to try my hand at Baltic pickup weaving, but I don’t have a loom free. At least, not one for that. Two of my three rigid heddles are free, but they don’t fit in my lap. I need to swing by WalMart and get a tv table of some sort. Maybe I’ll do that today. 

In other news, both kids will be moving on to their next grades. Aneira did well with homeschooling, and we’re looking into keeping her there until graduation. Bryony, not so much. And I am no teacher. Her passing had absolutely nothing to do with any help on my part. We spent more time fighting over her actually doing her work than cooperating to get it done, primarily because it is her contention that “help” means that a parent does all the reading and tells her which item to read to get the answer she needs. Naturally, that’s not happening!

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Windhaven Concertina

One of my three new inkle looms arrived the other day, and I’m very happy with it so far!

The Windhaven Concertina is a small loom that fits in my lap for weaving, which is very cool. Used as an inkle loom, it will do a 4 inch wide band that is about 3 feet long, and it can be expanded to a width of 8 inches. It can also be used as a rigid heddle loom, with the front and lower back rods used as take-up rods, or fabric beam and warp beam, which is also very cool, as you can then make much longer bands. If you remove the top rod altogether, you have enough space for tablet weaving, if you use small cards. All in all, a very versatile loom. It’s like a Gilmore Wave, without all the fancy pieces that make the Wave so much more expensive.

The downsides of this loom are very minor, but have to be mentioned to be thorough. If you want to do pickup weaving on this loom, it can be done, but be aware that the working area is very tight. If you like getting your hands in there to manipulate the warp, as I do, it’s difficult, although, as I said, it can be done. A small weaving sword might be a better idea, but that’s something else to get used to. I used to do pickup with a sword, but then stopped in favor of my hands. I may have to go back to the sword with this loom, but I’ve been using my hands as usual. Like I said, the downside is minor.

I did worry about the warping path a little bit…on my other inkle looms, the warp threads didn’t come in contact with other levels of the path, where they do with this loom, but that concern turned out to be unfounded: the warp advances very smoothly. The only thing I have to watch out for is that the tensioner isn’t quite as wide as the other rods, because it has to be able to move back and forth in its track, and that means that on a warp as wide as the rods, you need to make sure that warp threads don’t slide off the sides. It did happen to me once at the beginning, and it was a pain to get them back where they belonged, but once I realized what had happened and why, I learned to just advance carefully, and it hasn’t happened since then.

Because it’s a small loom, the working area is tiny, and you will be advancing a lot more often than with a standard sized inkle. That doesn’t bother me much; one of the biggest pluses for me was the fact that it fits in my lap! Another is the fact that I can toss it into a tote bag and take it anywhere to weave. Gonna be waiting at the doctor’s office for an appointment for an hour or more? You can take your loom and weave, or sit in the car on your break at work and weave. That is beyond awesome to me.

The company is made up of a homesteading mom and her two daughters, one of whom, the master woodworker, is a high-functioning autistic teenager. And while yes, I did like the idea of supporting her work, if she wasn’t good at it, I wouldn’t have ordered more than one loom. This one, I bought used from another weaver, but I already had one loom, the Ukelele, on order, and when they are back to work, I fully intend to order the bigger Accordion as well! The craftsmanship is fantastic, and the looms are among the least expensive I’ve seen as well, making it much easier for aspiring weavers with a limited budget to get started. Windhaven’s ladies are also very accessible, with a group on Facebook that is very active.

So, that’s my review of the Windhaven Concertina. As long as you don’t have unrealistic aims for the loom, you can’t go wrong with buying a Windhaven loom.

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