What a Great Idea!

Sorry to those of you who are watching for crochet news, but I thought another weaving post would be better than no post.

It was a looong time before I came across another thrifty picture frame suitable for turning into a large potholder loom.


But it was well worth the wait because. . . turns out this is a 12″ artist’s stretcher frame.

How much easier it would be to make potholder looms from frames of a single consistent type!!

I was curious, how much do new stretchers sell for?

The best price I found on-line was $3.16 (79¢ x four 12″ bars) plus ? for shipping, during a Super Sale at Jerry’s Artarama. I was sure I could do better locally and boy, did I! Instead of getting wooden bars or empty stretcher frames, I ended up with a pack of seven complete artist’s canvases, only $10 w/a coupon at Michael’s. That’s less than $1.45 each, thrifty frames without having to scour a single thrift store!

I’m thinking that, someday, I may want to use a few of these to display other small weavings made by the Crochet Corner ladies. – I could poke tiny holes through the canvas and attach the woven piece with fine wire twist-ties. Kindof like this. – so DH removed the canvas from just three frames to start, pulling about 24 staples from each. Then it was my turn. . . lots of holes to drill and nails to hammer!

This all happened just in time as our newest weaver, B2, uses the potholder loom we made from the old quilt frame,

which temporarily left me without a potholder loom.

This turned out not to matter much because with three ladies steadily weaving potholders and mug rugs (S alone makes at least three potholders per week.)

759 for sale

I’m spending more and more time turning tees into potholder loops!

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Those of you who have followed alottastitches for a while know that few things make DH and I happier than figuring out how to make something for ourselves! A while ago that meant we turned old picture frames


into large potholder looms. YAY!

741 ta-dah!

This spring I gave you a quick look at the special boat shuttle we made for the Crochet Corner ladies to use with their “new” Initiation floor loom.

Now I’d like to take a minute to explain what makes it so “special”. . .

This is a traditional boat shuttle.

The pointy ends and slick finish make it very easy for this type of shuttle to slip between the lower layer of warp threads and go crashing to the floor! – I’m sure you can guess how I happen to know this. lol – And, if your hands happen to be arthritic or weakened by a stroke, getting a bobbin on/off its spring-loaded rod could be a real struggle.

I searched the web for boat shuttles that would work better. This is the cardboard prototype DH built from my rough sketches.

Notice – no rod!  Just pop in a yarn-filled bobbin and you’re ready to weave.

Compare the size of the circular hole in its side to the narrow slit on the traditional shuttle.

Which do you think will be easier to thread?!

And, instead of costing anywhere from $25 (used) to $100 (new), they’re free because DH used hardwood scraps (maple), some of which he salvaged from shipping pallets!


758 4A in proc

DH made three: one for me,

one for my friend, Linda,*

and one with pegs for the Crochet Corner ladies.

Those pegs are going to work as brakes to keep the shuttle from flying off the end of the wide shuttle shelf that he added to the nursing home’s loom.

I ordered a dozen durable 6″ plastic bobbins for the ladies, but for my personal use I’m going to cut down Milkshake Straws. – 25/$1.00.

758 6 2w:strws

By wrapping a thin rubber band round and round the shaft – The teeny tiny rubber bands used on braces would work real well here. Where’s a brace-wearing teen when you need one? –

I can get these large diameter straws to work with my Harrisville Designs bobbin winder. –

Easily crushed, these colorful bobbins aren’t going to last forever but, since I can get over 400 for the cost of 12 “real” ones, I don’t mind. – Gee, at that price I suppose I even can afford to share a few with Linda. HAha.

* In exchange, her DH is making a rag shuttle for the ladies!

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Everything Counts

It’s the beginning of August. By this time of year, I’ve usually (since 2011) shown you around 30 additional blankets that I’ve made for charity.

So far this year. . .

only eight!

Feeling that there’s still a small chance that I can catch up, I’m willing to count just about anything as a blankie.

The nursing home’s Rec. Department recently received a gift of all this sportweight yarn.

Remembering a bag of vintage Sport Spun that I had in my own charity stash,

757 vintage yarn

I figured I had enough neutral colors to make a little sportweight Ripple Wrap.

757 shwl8

Usually the Crochet Corner ladies who don’t enjoy the Rec. Room’s air conditioning bring their own jackets, but it’s going to be nice to have something available for those times when someone forgets.

2016’s Blankie #9

757 shwl2

How is everyone?

It’s been hot and muggy here in New England. DH and I were lucky enough to miss the recent 100 degree day, though. . . We were camping, with my sister, at the lovely Green Lakes State Park near Syracuse, NY. In the comparatively cool shade of our campsite, – Moved the picnic table every few hours to keep it in the shade. lol – I taught her how to weave. yay!

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What a Cute Little Baby!

Here’s the newest addition to my family of Rigid Heddle Looms. . .

a used size A Easy Weaver, which I found on eBay.

Smaller, 17-1/2″ x 10″, and much lighter, than my 18″ x 18″ Bs,

this baby will be easier to tote around!

Although it can only weave fabric 6″ wide, (compared to about 14 1/2″ for the size B) that’s not a problem for demonstration purposes. What is a problem is the missing “shedmaker”. That’s what Harrisville calls the tall block of wood which serves as a heddle rest. . . near the middle of the larger loom. But DH says he can make one. Yay!

He has plenty of time to get that done. . . my next demo isn’t until August 5th, during Putnam, CT’s next First Friday.

Oh, I want to share with you the fun little bonuses that came with my new loom:

a 7 x 10 pegLoom,

which I suspect one of the Crochet Corner ladies will enjoy weaving on, (Found a couple of video tutorials: Part One, and Part Two.*. Looks like DH needs to make us a pick-up stick, maybe by tapering down one end of a wooden ruler.)

and a 1995 Harrisville Designs catalog!

Interesting to see that back then you could order Refill Warp Kits in SIX different color combinations for the Size A

and, on the right-hand page, three for the, then NEW, size B.

* More Information on Lap Looms:

  • First 2 min. of this video, from Schacht, talks about larger versions.
  • Double warp to weave with finer threads.
  • I like the over-sized wooden needle that comes with this one!
  • Note to Self: Could add legs to any frame loom as a way to display a finished weaving or work-in-progress.
  • Instruction Booklet – pdf
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Blankie #8 of 2016

For years I’ve talked about wanting to try my hand at weaving, instead of crocheting, a charity blanket. Well. . . I finally did it!

Since this was my first attempt, I used yarns from the scrap box for the striped warp and the weft is black vintage Wintuk that I got at Sal’s for 50¢ per 4 oz. skein.

Strips #1 and 2 done. Strip #3 on the loom.

755A 2strips

The gold is a scrap yarn header that I’ll remove when I’m ready to deal with the loose ends.

Joining the three strips went smoothly and took less time than I’d expected, about an hour.

I passed a needle carrying a single strand of black through the little loops that form on the edges as the weft wraps around the outermost warp threads. (click on photo for a closer look)

755C close-up

My explanation seems about as clear as mud! – lol – It went something like THIS.

Go ahead, examine the join. . . in the middle of the wide black stripe on the right, between the pale pink and green, below this capital v. . . . . V

755D joined

Looks really good to me! Far better than I had expected.

Obviously, I had a little evening up to do down at the other end,

755E otherend

but unraveling a few picks doesn’t take long and then, excited to be so close to finishing, I started twisting fringe. . .

755F twisting

which took all the time I’d not needed for joining and more, way more. Let’s just say that although I love the look, I will not be twisting the fringe on every blanket that I weave.

Three Striped Strips

755H ta-dah

I brought my lovely blanket indoors so I could adore it lay it out on our bed and take measurements. – 40 x 55″ – Terribly pleased with myself, I left to find DH so he could share in my success.

We returned to find “the inspector” had completed her work while I was away.

755G inspctr

She seems to be pointing out two yarn ends left from when I refilled my shuttle. – HA – New to weaving, she doesn’t understand that I must wash and dry the blanket before clipping ends.

This project was so enjoyable, I immediately started work on Scrap Stripes #2. Instead of fringe, I plan to give this one double-turned hems.

755I #2

Ah-hem. There are definitely supposed to be some purple stripes in there. Hopefully they’ll show up for my next photo shoot.

Note: The last blanket I wove, circa 1977, was a red/green/blue tartan which I gave to my dear Aunt Clara and Uncle Don for their 50th wedding anniversary. I know I have a snapshot of the occasion, somewhere. . . if it should ever show itself, I’ll be sure to share.

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Blankie #7 of 2016

I combined these colors from the Crochet Corner yarn stash

754 sunny-yarns

with some of the Red Heart Shimmer that Karen of VA sent me last September.

754 sunny-sparkle yarn

Crocheting just ten sparkly rows,

754 sun-close

leaves enough Shimmer for me to use as an accent in some future blankie.

This blankie,

Sunshine on a COLD Spring Day

754 sun-full

will be returning to the nursing home as a prize for next month’s Bingo Party.

Maybe I should have named it, “Bingo!”

Posted in Ripple Afghans of 2016 | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

It’s Official – I’m a Weaving Teacher!

I taught my first weaving class Saturday, one-on-one with Linda, a nursing home employee, who recently received a vintage Peacock table loom for her birthday. – You can take a look through a Peacock instruction booklet, here. – The timing was perfect as I’m in the process of reviving my own little Peacock, a tag sale find, which we’ve carefully stored in our attic for the past 30 years.


A little elbow grease and Howard’s Feed-N-Wax – or, as I like to call it. . . “weed and feed” – and she’s almost as good as new.

Our class went well, for the most part. When Linda asked for a grade, I gave her a B+, while she thought that she’d earned only a C-. – Sounds like I wasn’t exactly pouring on the praise, eh? Must do better with that. – Haven’t heard back yet what grade she gave me, as a new weaving teacher. Hopefully she will fill out the review form that I gave her to take home. –

Still, I must find a better venue for my next local class. The nursing home’s Rec Room may be convenient but. . . SO Many Interruptions!! I didn’t realize just how inquisitive everyone would be: staff, residents and visitors alike.* Which would have been wonderful if my major objective had been to entertain and inform (like during a weaving demo) but not so good as I was trying to stick to a class outline and time schedule.

We started at 1:30 and I had expected to get through the entire weaving process: measure out a short/narrow warp, put it on loom, thread heddles and reed, weave a little sampler and finish with simple fringe, by about 6:30, having allowed what I thought was plenty of extra time for folks’ Q and A. Well, we quit at 9 p.m., having just started to weave. sigh. Live and learn!

This Saturday, April 23rd, I’m going to happily answer questions, from 1:00 – 5:00, as I demonstrate weaving at the Artisan Soul Gallery in Putnam, CT. Should be fun! There will also be knitting, spinning, – both spindle and wheel – angora bunny clipping and felting demonstrations as well as some opportunities for hands-on experiences. Children are welcome.

Visitors can participate in a Community Weaving Project and you can even weave a Mug Rug to take home!

I would love to see you there. Maybe you’d like to sign-up for one of my up-coming classes: A Weaving Adventure, Free-Style Stress-Free Weaving and Weaving 101.

P.S. Given more time and more looms, I would have invited them all to try their hand at weaving. Sounds like a nice way to spend a future weekend afternoon!

Posted in looms, Weaving | Tagged , | 4 Comments