Trial and Error

Since I didn’t know what width of tarn would work best with my new mat loom,

710-9-box

I arbitrarily chose 5/8″, halfway between the widths I had used for my two previous tarn projects. (bathmat and kitchen rugs) The four colors, in the order I put them on the loom, are black, light grey, forest and bright green.

710-11-tarn

5/8″ strips worked o.k., creating a lightweight placemat,

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and I think the four-color pattern is striking, on both front and back.

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But reaching down through two upper layers (forest and light grey) to pull up the black strands of the bottom layer was not as easy as that video I wrote about earlier made it look! You think you’ve grabbed both strands when you’ve actually only gotten ahold of one.

It was only when I happened to look at the back of the loom that I discovered the many overshots that I’d accidentally created. (Overshot – in this case, a horizontal strand that passes over three vertical strands instead of just one) I corrected them by undoing and reweaving the middle of each three strand group, more difficult the further along I’d woven after making a mistake. . .  not something I want the Crochet Ladies to have to deal with.

And I’m not crazy about the mat’s little “zig-zags” either. There’s a bright green zig-zag over forest going vertically near the left edge and then forest against light grey going horizontally along the bottom.

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Plus, on the flip side, there’s a major jumble of light grey on the left. Yuck.

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Amazing, considering the number of times I watched the video, that I never noticed any “zig-zags” until after I’d finished weaving this mat.

O.Kaaaay. . . so what if we were to weave mats out of giant potholder loops instead of tarn?

I remembered having seen a CraftSanity post about making potholder loops from t-shirt fabric and thought I’d give it a try. I cut and stretched onto a potholder loom one loop each in the two widths mentioned in the video and decided to cut enough 2 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ loops to make one potholder.

Much too wide – not enough room on a little potholder loom for all that fabric! – so I skipped a peg every now and then in order to finish the potholder, which is why it’s slightly rectangular. . .

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and stiff, so stiff it can easily stand on its own! lol.

720 8a-standing

But that’s fine, cuz the main reason for making this particular potholder was to find out the ratio of looper length to loom size. . .  5.5″ loop to 7″ loom = .78, which I then applied to my mat loom. A 16 1/2″ x 20 1/2″ rectangle, it requires loopers in two lengths, 13 and 16″. ((16.5″ x .78 = 13″ and 20 1/2 x .78 = 16) Since this loom’s nails are further apart than the potholder loom’s pegs, I cut strips 3″ wide, 2 1/2 if the tee was heavier.

Weaving the first mat went smoothly, if slowly. A 20″ loom is huge compared to 7!! After I’d woven about a third of the way across I stopped cut 1/4″ from each side of the remaining loopers, which kept my first t-shirt mat from turning out as stiff as that first t-shirt potholder!

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For my second mat, I again cut loops 13 and 16 inches long, but only 2 1/2″ wide, 2″ if heavyweight.

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See how much they stretch!

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These proved to be Just Right. Yay!!

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These mats measure about 13 1/2″ x 18″, good for placemats, a sleeping mat for a cat or small dog, or as a mat to go by the door for wet shoes. – Any other ideas for ways to use these cute little mats? –

I’ll end this post by sharing something I learned through sad experience. . .  When stretching a diy t-shirt looper to go across a loom, it’s best to gently pull by the loop’s little “end tabs”. If, instead, you give the loop a mighty tug with all your fingers inside, like we’re used to doing with those tough commercially made sock loops, your handmade t-shirt loops are very likely to tear. – Oops! Good thing I had plenty more of that particular color loop. –

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2 Responses to Trial and Error

  1. You’ve been hard at work! Thank you for sharing all the tips and tricks. I pulled out several potholders for Thanksgiving. Several were crocheted, but there’s one, small loomed one that was gifted to me from the children down the street. I think they gave it to me about 10 years ago, since the two girls are now young adults. I always smile a bit when I use it. I’ve never tried it as an actual potholder to pull pans from the oven, but it works great as a trivet!

    I like the idea of your yarn mats as pet mats. I bet they’re nice and squishy. Perfect for a snuggle kitty. Did Emily try it out for you?

    • You’re welcome. Maybe my post will save someone out there from making the same mistakes.

      How cool that a little potholder/trivet has been able to bring you smiles for ten years! So much better than a macaroni necklace. lol.

      Not very squishy – think giant potholder/trivet.
      No, since it might end up on someone’s kitchen table, I haven’t allowed Emily to test it.

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