Our guest blogger this month is Sarah Chy, a Wisconsin-based knitter, spinner, writer, and small-scale family adventurer. In today’s post, she shares her recent experiences weaving with Gems yarn on the Purl & Loop Wee Weaver, which Louet North America distributes throughout Canada. You can keep up with her latest crafty projects and family hijinks on her blog, knittingsarah.com.
I first started looking for small looms as a gift idea for my daughter’s 9th birthday. She knits & knows how to spin, however she has an impatient streak that often works against her. She still really wanted to join me in the fiber arts in some way, but we both recognized that at this stage knitting and spinning just weren’t quite the right fit for her. Having heard a lot of spinning friends talk about how speedy weaving is, I thought it was worth a shot to steer my girl toward a loom.
There are a lot of options out there on the market and as I was not a weaver myself, I did a lot of research. I was loath to spend a lot just for a taste of the craft, but it was important to me that the tools be good quality. I also knew that my very independent daughter might have a lukewarm reception for a complex warping process that required help from me. The ideal loom was one for which my daughter could just hit the ground running, that would allow her to do small projects, and that would insure that she could start and finish easily so her attention wouldn’t wane.
Ultimately where I landed was with Purl & Loop’s Wee Weaver. It’s just 4” x 4.5” across and it comes in a kit that includes everything you need to get going (except the yarn). A wood tapestry needle, pick up stick, comb, and metal tapestry needle are all included as is a handy little cotton carrying bag to keep everything together. As someone new to weaving, I really appreciate that I could get everything I needed in one spot. Even more importantly, though, the instructions are concise and well-written and accompanied by clear color photos. Simply put, it is a fantastic introductory loom.
Quite literally I did not have to lift a finger to help my daughter get started. Like many moms, a little part of me wanted to be needed, but she read through the directions and then informed me she could handle it. She went on to warp her Wee Weaver easily in just a few minutes and was weaving effortlessly in no time. She couldn’t have been more proud and I felt like we’d made a great choice.
Of course I was happy to see my girl succeed and fall in love with weaving. What I didn’t expect was how quickly I fell in love, too. The Wee Weaver, it turns out, is the perfect loom to introduce anyone to weaving. As I watched my daughter whiz through her little squares and make fun plans as to how to use them, a whole new world opened before my eyes. Along with my loads of knitterly yarn scraps, the spinner in me saw unlimited potential for handspun yarns. The fiber artist in me knew I had to get my hands on a loom.
With the Wee Weaver such a hit, shortly after acquiring it we added a Purl & Loop Placemat Weaver to our collection. Getting the Placemat Weaver was primarily to give my daughter some more options in her craft. She was having a blast and I really wanted to encourage her. I’ll confess though that there might have been the slightest hint of selfish motivation. It wasn’t lost on me that her devoting attention to a new loom would free up the Wee Weaver for me and I definitely wanted a turn to play with it.
With my daughter busy with the Placemat Weaver, I thought it would be very fun to put this little loom through its paces and at the same time create some fun Christmas gifts. Louet’s Gems Worsted is a great fit for the Wee Weaver – the worsted weight insures projects will be quick and there are loads of colors to pick from to personalize your projects. I picked Brick Red, Fern Green, and Cobalt Blue, thinking these colors would have a Christmas feel that wasn’t so overpowering that they couldn’t be used all year round. And then I got weaving!
I started with some very basic fringed mug rugs. The instruction manual includes directions both for squares with fringe and without, so doing this was a snap. For fun, I made one mug rug with a green warp & red weft and one with a red warp & green weft. I think a set of four would make a great little handmade hostess gift or stocking stuffer. I could also see making individual, personalized ones for co-workers or even having kids make them themselves for their teachers. There are so many ways you could go!
I learned very quickly the not-too-loose and not-too-tight place that was just right for my warp. I discovered that weaving my weft in at a slight angle before combing it down helped to keep my edges nice and neat and that taking a little time to check on my edges throughout was well worth it. I also found it fun to experiment with how tightly you ‘beat’ the weft as it can really change the feel of the fabric. And that’s the great thing about the Wee Weaver, it’s a fantastic tool to just play & observe & try things out.
With my mug rugs complete, I had another idea in mind to test. What about a coffee sleeve? I whipped up three identical fringeless squares, sewed them together, and voilá! A quick & easy coffee sleeve! I used my sewing machine to sew the squares together, but you could just as easily hand sew them. I especially love that thanks to the fact that Gems Worsted is machine washable & dryable, this sleeve is reusable and easy to care for – always an added bonus, especially when you’re making gifts.
I’m so very impressed with the mighty Wee Weaver. This loom that fits in the palm of my hand and is very reasonably priced has turned both my daughter and me into fully fledged weavers. Whether you just want a new tool to play with, you want an easy and fun way to make unique gifts, or you want to get a taste for weaving, young or old, the Wee Weaver is for you. Be prepared to fall in love with weaving – I think you will!