I’m quite proud of it. It’s washed OK, considering the wide variety of fibre types in the weaving, some of them only guessed at, and I found another use for the old picklocks; they are inserted at regular intervals around the edge to stretch it gently into shape as it dries. I have since been out and fingercombed through the fringe, then trimmed it roughly to a manageable length. I’m not giving this one away! It’s a little stiffer, but also warmer, than the first one I wove, completely out of scrap & leftover yarns, but as far as I remember most of that one was acrylic. I’ve done better with the shape of this one; I was more careful with the tension, as far as you can be, but also the loom kept its shape far better than the hardboard did. I was a bit anxious that the wool & other animal fibres would shrink at the fulling stage and distort the shape, but thankfully that doesn’t seem to have happened – everything has tightened & evened up a little, that’s all.
Now I’m looking forwards to wearing it – perhaps at our famous Wimborne Folk Festival next month?
Update: following a couple of requests elsewhere, I’ve added a page describing how I made the loom: see
The last shawl took me months to complete. But this one is nearly done in just over a week; as far as I can work out, the difference has been down to;
1) a longer needle. I don’t know what the technical name is or what it was originally for, but this needle is over 12″ long, straight and quite sturdy with a big eye. I’d have said some kind of knitting implement, maybe? The only problem is that it has a sharp point; a blunt one would have been better for this job. I swapped to a “proper” weaving needle towards the end as the big one was too long for the far corner.
2) the “loom” is much less wobbly than the hardboard square was. It has stood up to the weaving process very well, in fact, and I expect to be able to use it again.
3) not using eyelash yarn – that was a total nightmare to keep track of…
4) moving the loom around to adjust the working height; on the floor when I was working near the top, then steadily moving it up onto first a chair, then on top of the budgies’ cage towards the end. Said budgies went very quiet, though I can’t say the same for the cockatiel, who evidently thought it was all very funny.
It is now finished and off the loom; tomorrow I will “full” it and see how it’s turned out. There’s rather more rescued yarn in there than I realised, too; about half, in the end.
The pure new wool hanging down from the top came from a charity stall at the market at the weekend; I only wanted to buy the plain undyed stuff but he insisted I took the whole lot for the same ridiculously-low price. My neighbour trotted off happily with three skeins of black, I kept the three skeins of assorted blues, and we spent a happy afternoon “handpainting” the three plain ones with Kool-Aid sent by kind e-friends in the States. Excellent fun! The blue wool will be appearing in another weaving project soon; not sure what we’ll do with our gloriously-technicolour handpainted wool, but I’ll think of something. Not to mention the three black fleeces I’ve “won” on Freecycle this week and have to pick up at the Market tomorrow…
Trying desperately to justify my extravagance at the Knit, Stitch & Creative Crafts show at the Bath & West showground last week, I took it into my head to create another shawl with the lovely yarns that somehow found their way home with me. The last one I wove was on a 4′ square of hardboard, which sadly has warped so far that there’s no way I can use it again. So I picked up some bits of wooden moulding at the Dorset Scrapstore, and spent a few noisy hours knocking tacks at ½cm intervals down two of them. Then I joined four into a square, using old electric sewing machine drive belts as giant rubber bands to join the corners. A couple of 7′ bamboo canes, tied with an oddment of old shirt, made a crosspiece that has “tied” my improvised loom together, and today I’ve warped it up and started to weave…
It’s cheating, really, using new yarns that I haven’t spun myself. But it may take me some time to turn out stuff as lovely as these… And there are some scraps & leftovers in there too; some odd bits of Paton’s Spirit, for example. So it’s not completely out of order. Really…
Next project is a Tri-loom, using more (& sturdier) Scrapstore moulding. And I should be able to finish the Charkha soon, too.