Earlier this week, for a school field trip we packed up and set out for the Milwaukee Public Museum. My husband had put together an awesome lesson on Native Americans and we spent the bulk of our time comparing and contrasting the different cultural groups. It’s no surprise that the cultures that relied on sheep and did a lot of weaving stuck with my kiddos (and me) and afterwards I may or may not have spent some time browsing looms. Browsing only. This is totally a whim and I have neither time nor space for a bigger loom (repeat this like a mantra, Sarah… a lot).
Flashback to the past month. I have been relying on Instagram for my crafty news as there just has not been much spare time around here for anything beyond flipping through this lovely little photo feed. The whole month of February I was watching the talented Stefanie of Handmade by Stefanie post up photos of her finished Zoom Loom squares. With every square I was reminded that I am long overdue for tinkering with this awesome little pin loom. If you remember, I got one of these sweet looms last summer just in time to enjoy the Zoom-along The Woolery hosted. The result of this adventure was this guy…
Laurel the Lion who was made from a very nice and convenient kit from The Woolery. My daughter informed me today that he was actually renamed “Laurel the Loom Lion” because it’s more fun with the extra ‘L’. The kids take turns ‘caring’ for him – clearly he is belover!
In any case, Stefanie’s posts reminded me that I really needed to get my loom back out. But what was I going to make? I will admit I was a little lost because it’s one thing to sew together a little toy like this, but a whole other thing to, you know, do a scarf or blanket or whatever with seams that would actually show (and no I will not buy a bigger loom to avoid this sewing).
Stefanie to the rescue!
Her post yesterday mentioned Margaret Stump’s Pin Loom Weaving book — it promised instructions for projects I could see using including scarves and dishcloths and blankets. The book even has directions for joining squares together. See! I really don’t need another loom (this mantra is really working now!) — I can use the one I have! Now I have the loom and desperately need some guidance to be able to branch out from stuffed animals — that is pretty clear to me. My dear hubby, however, has been dropping some not-so-subtle hints lately that my fiber arts library may have gotten a little large over the last couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, if it makes me happy and I use them he supports my book acquisitions and I know that, but the comments make me a little self-conscious. So… I got the eBook version. It doesn’t take up any space, so there’s minimal guilt and I get instant access to it. It’s a win-win.
As you may have read in an earlier post, I’m pretty much chief procrastinator when it comes to knitting dishcloths. I love them, but I hate making them. I keep a decent stash of Peaches n’ Cream cotton lying about and it so happens that that stash still includes some cool hand-dyed cotton from Dyeabolical that I bought a very long time ago. This new book — as I mentioned — had instructions for a dishcloth, so I was thinking that I could totally check two things off the to-do list at once: 1) make a dishcloth and 2) use the Zoom Loom. Score!
I got right to work. OK, not true. I got right to work after downloading the PDF of the instruction manual from the Schacht website. My daughter ‘put the booklet away’ after pulling it out a month or so ago, so I am thankful to the folks at Schacht for having this available online! Loom successfully set up, I went right to trying out the rib pattern the squares for the dishcloth pattern use.
Can I just say I LOVE it! I actually think it’s more fun that standard weaving! I didn’t have enough of the green to make the four squares required for the dishcloth, so I split it up with a plain brown I had in the stash. Two of the square I did the set-up in the green and the weaving in the brown and for the other two I reversed it. I whipped up all four squares during lunch and the kids’ ‘Friday Crafternoon.’ And then the craziest thing happened…
I tried to crochet.
I used to crochet all the time from the time I was little all the way through college, but I really have done very little since I started knitting. In fact, I’ve only crocheted to finish my knitting when a pattern calls for it. First, it was pretty much a miracle that I had an appropriate hook. Then miracle #2 occurred as I, you know, crocheted.
I’m the very first in line to say that it is by no means perfect. There were at least two spots where things went very, very awry. But I did my best to recover, fighting the urge to double crochet instead of the suggested half double crochet for the entire edging. Anyone who tells you tactile memory can’t span years is 100% wrong. I am living proof that the double crochet stays with a woman for at least 15years.
I survived though…
This is the finished dishcloth. I apologize that it’s unblocked, but I was racing the sun going down for light. And I’m just going to go ahead and use it rather than taking the time to block it. I think the texture will actually make a great dishcloth. I’m really interested to see how my crochet joins hold up and I’m even more excited to see how my creating them improves over time in future projects.
I think there are two lessons that I’m taking away from today’s story. First, there is a way to make dishcloths that I actually kind of like. And second, I do not need a bigger loom (at least not yet).