Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Twill ZigZag Bag Squared - A Zoom Loom Project

With just a few squares, you can weave something that looks complex, but is actually quite easy. And in the end, you have a darling little bag, just the right size for your wallet and a few essentials.

These bags, designed and woven by Constance Hall, explore twill weave (the zig zag) on the Schacht Zoom Loom. We love the contrasting solid black with the graphic black and white--which is so in this spring. The links to the complete weaving and assembly instructions, as well as other fabulous Zoom Loom projects are below. Happy Weaving!

Difficulty rating: Medium

Size: Large bag, 8-1/2" x 6-1/2"; Small bag, 5-1/2" x 5"

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (100g/210yds); 63 Natural and 195 Black, 1 skein each. 

Large bag: 162 yards black, 108 yards natural

Small Bag: 90 yards black, 54 yards natural

Other notions, equipment or tools: Sewing machine or needle and thread; 2 buttons for each bag; lining fabric; 4 Super magnets per bag

Overview: These small bags are woven with a Zoom Loom using a zig zag twill pattern. When weaving the black and natural squares make sure to warp with the same color each time. The solid black squares are woven with the zig zag twill pattern. You can use the twill zigzag pattern or plain weave. The bags are fulled gently by hand until the squares firm up. Too much felting will cause the twill pattern to be blurry. The closures used are magnets, but snaps or buttons and loops could be used. 


Large bag: Weave 3 black squares and 12 natural and black squares, using the zig zag twill pattern. 

Small bag: Weave two black squares and 6 natural and black squares, using the zig zag twill pattern.

Weaving the ZigZag Twill

With natural yarn, warp the 1st layer as in the Zoom Loom instructions. 

Turn the loom 180 degrees. Go around the 1st pin and warp this layer as in the Zoom Loom instructions for the third layer. 

Break the yarn leaving a 3" tail and tape the tail to the back of the loom, out of the way. 
Wrap black yarn around the outside of pins 9 times to measure yarn needed for weaving. 
Weave with the black yarn as follows:

Row 1: [U1, O1] straight across, 
Go around the bottom corner pin to lock the yarn down. 
Back through large space.
Row 2: [O2, U2] across, ending with U1 
Row 3: O1, U1, [O2, U2] across, ending with O1 
Row 4: [U2, O2] across, ending with O1
Row 5: U1, O1, [U2, O2] across, ending with U1
Row 6: [O2, U2] across, ending with U1 
Row 7: O1, U1, [O2, U2] across, ending with O1
Row 8: [U2, O2] across, ending with O1
Row 9: U1, O1, [U2, O2] across, ending with U1
Row 10: [O2, U2] across, ending with U1
Row 11: O1, U1, [O2, U2] across, ending with O1
Switch twill direction here
Row 12: U1, O1, [U2, O2] across, ending with U1
Row 13: [O2, U2] across, ending with U1
Row 14: O1, U1, [O2, U2] across, ending with O1
Row 15: [U2, O2] across, ending with O1
Row 16: U1, O1, [U2, O2] across, ending with U1
Row 17: [O2, U2] across, ending with U1
Row 18: O1, U1, [O2, U2] across, ending with O1
Row 19: [U2, O2] across, ending with O1
Row 20: U1, O1, [U2, O2] across, ending with U1
Row 21: [O2, U2] across, ending with U1
Row 22: O1, U1, [O2, U2] across, ending with O1
Change back to the original twill direction 
Row 23: U1, O1, [U2, O2] across, ending with U1
Row 24: [O2, U2] across, ending with U1
Row 25: O1, U1, [O2, U2] across, ending with O1
Row 26: [U2, O2] across, ending with O1
Row 27: U1, O1, [U2, O2] across, ending with U1
Row 28: [O2, U2] across, ending with U1
Row 29: O1, U1, [O2, U2] across, ending with O1
Row 30: [U2, O2] across, ending with O1
Row 31: U1, O1, [U2, O2] across, ending with U1
Row 32: O1, [U2, O2} across ending with U2

It’s not necessary to change the direction of the twill with the all black squares. 
Assembly: Arrange the squares in a rectangle 3 squares across by 5 squares down. Place all black squares across the top, with the beginning yarn tails at top left corners and the ending yarn tails at the top right corners [A]. Make sure the zig zag pattern is flowing from one square to the next. Sew the squares together using a very small seam allowance, either on the sewing machine or by hand. 

Fulling: Wash the sewn rectangle in hot water with a little dish soap. Agitate for a few minutes, then check the amount of felting. The fabric should thicken, but not shrink much. Repeat the agitation until done. Do not overdo or the twill pattern will be blurred. Rinse to remove soap, then roll in a towel to remove water. Straighten the sides and lay flat to dry.

Finishing: Cut the lining fabric 1/4" smaller than the felted rectangle. If using magnets, cut 4 small rectangles 1" x 2" or big enough to fit your magnets. Fold the small rectangles in half and pin onto the wrong side of the lining. Place two magnets at the top and two at the bottom [B]. Line them up so when the bag is folded the magnets will connect. Sew three sides of the small rectangles to the lining, insert the magnets and then stitch the last side. 
Place the lining on the fulled rectangle with right sides together. The lining is slightly smaller than the fabric. Line up one long side and sew using the smallest seam allowance possible [C]. Sew the sides in the order shown in [C], stretching the lining over to meet the edge of the fulled rectangle. Leave the bottom edge unsewn. 
Turn the bag right side out. On the unsewn side, fold the edges of the lining and fulled fabric to the inside and hand stitch the edge closed. 
With the lining outside, fold up the bottom of the bag to align the bottom edge almost to the spot where the black squares start [D]. Hand sew the side seams and turn the bag right side out. Fold the black end over to form a flap and sew on decorative buttons. 

Optional handle: Cast on 5 stitches and knit I-cord to the length desired. Bind off and sew the handle onto the lining on the inside of the bag. 

Download the instructions
View other Zoom Loom projects

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ravelry Project Page Update

We have been busy here at Schacht improving as much as we can; from our processes and products to our projects and posts!

You may have already noticed that we have been updating old blog posts to make the projects associated with them easier to access, and to make the style of the blog posts more congruent with what we already have. We are also in the process of adding each of the projects to our Ravelry projects page!

Having this page allows other users (like you) to sort through the projects to find exactly what you're looking for!

Over the next few weeks we will be updating this page and organizing it as more projects populate the space. We hope you find these project pages helpful! Give us ideas of what kinds of projects you would like to see, and you may see them on our blog!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Weaving a Twill Sampler - Part 2

I underestimated how exciting the process of weaving a sampler can be. Some of the tie-up and treadling combinations gave me unexpected results which gave me ideas to try out a few of the patterns on a larger scale.
  • Looking at the sampler below, starting at the left, is straight twill where your twill progresses in a single direction like a set of stairs. For this example, I threaded the shafts 1,2,3,4 (or the first thread on shaft 1, the second thread on shaft 2, the third thread on shaft 3 and the fourth thread on shaft 4, and so on).
  • Point twill happens when a twill weave starts in one direction, for at least three threads (according to Helene Bress), and then reverses itself. For example, here I threaded 1,2,3,4,3,2, repeat. 
  • A broken twill is exactly what you might expect. Instead of progressing in a sequential numerical order, backward and/or forward, a break is made in the threading so that at least one harness is skipped in the order. For this example I threaded: 3,4,1,2,4 3 2 1, repeat.
  • Extended point twill is created by combining straight twill and point twill. Here I've threaded: 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 3,2,1,2,3,4,3,2,3,4, repeat
  • Bird’s Eye is a point twill or broken twill threading that traditionally creates a diamond pattern with a dot at its center. Here, I've threaded it: 4,3,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,3,2,1, repeat.
Each threading is approximately two inches across, give or take, using 3/2 mercerized cotton sett at 15 ends per inch. I would recommend using a dark color for your warp and a light color for your weft, or vice versa, so that you are able to clearly see the pattern you are weaving. You might also vary the warp thread color to distinguish the five threadings even further from each other – say black and charcoal or dark blue so that you still get a good contrast with your choice of weft threads. I selected two weft colors to use alternately as I went from one treadling sequence to the next. And finally, you can see that I also used a length of orange yarn to indicate where I changed my tie-up. Oh, and I came up with so many treadling sequences to try, that I ran out of white 3/2 cotton before I finished weaving. Oops!! A gold 3/2 cotton took over where the white left off.
Swatch 3
The fourth tie-up is a little bit different from the others. I got to thinking about my Wolf Pup, which is a direct tie-up loom. This means that each shaft (or harness) is attached to a single treadle. Table looms are similar in concept but use hand levers. To weave patterns that require multiple shafts to be raised at once, you press down multiple treadles or levers at one time. I got to thinking about how tying up a single shaft to a single treadle and using the direct tie-up technique of pressing down multiple treadles within the sequence might enable someone with a four-shaft loom with only four or six treadles or four levers to weave more complicated patterns. You will see the tie-up in this draft suggests that you need eight treadles. If you have them, great, but if you have fewer, simply tie-up 1-2-3-4, and when the draft indicates that you need to lift more than one shaft, use both of your feet, or hands in the case of a table loom, to accomplish this.
Draft 4
[Download a ZIP file of the drafts in WIF format, with their accompanying images,]

These samples showcase five common twill threadings across a single warp.

All of the samples (and drafts) are woven on the same threadings as listed above – straight, point, broken, extended point, and bird’s eye. The threading reads left to right and the treadling reads bottom to top. This will match the woven fabric in the photos.

Swatch 1

Swatch 2

Both sides of your cloth can be interesting and so different from each other. If you’re excited about something you find on the underside of your cloth, use the inverse of the tie-up to weave it on top. If you weave the first inch or so of cloth in plain weave as I did, you’ll see that a plain weave structure creates a thinner fabric with less draw-in, making a wider cloth.

You may find a new favorite pattern. Mine is found in draft three, the third treadling sequence of the point twill threading. It reminds me of a happy little flowerbed. The best thing about weaving a sampler is this sort of random discovery. Why not warp up your loom and give it a try?

Happy Weaving!

-Melissa Ludden Hankens
You can find Melissa designing weaving projects for the Schacht newsletter and teaching at the Creative Warehouse in Needham, Massachusetts.

Instagram - melentine on Instagram

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Georgia On my Mind - Denise Renee Grace

Recently Rebecca Mezoff and I went sheep shearing. This is one of my favorite times of year. The coats of the sheep are big and fluffy around their pregnant bellies. They get sheared before lambing to make it easier on everyone. After the ewes are sheared, they tend to want to have their lambs in the warmth of the barn instead of in the cold field. Shearing always inspires me to dig into fleece. I love the smell and feel of it. I love everything about it!

One of the sheep that got sheared was named Georgia. I took a pound of her CVM fleece and got brave enough to try washing it in the washer. I put the wool in lingerie bags, filled the washer with HOT soapy water. (To make sure it was really hot, I added a kettle full of boiling water). I gently put the bags into the water making sure they were submersed in the water with a wooden spoon. I followed with another soapy wash, one rinse with vinegar, and one with just plain hot water, not agitating at all, only going through a soak and spin cycle. It worked!

Usually, I use a drum carder, but I wanted to try the method of holding a 72 psi carder on my lap, taking a lock of hair, "flicking" it, and then spinning one right after the other. It was an interesting experience. I thought this would be a shorter process than drum carding. Now writing that, I realize that it might have been an unrealistic expectation, but I had the crazy idea that it would be quicker. It was not. Also, it didn't homogenize the color, so it had patches of darker spots. I did like that look for this project. In the end I had spun about 3ounces of fiber into 195 yards of a two ply DK weight yarn, using my Schacht Matchless to spin, and my Ladybug to ply.

I like the circular nature of crochet hats, but love the ease and flexibility of a knitted rim. So I thought, why not do both? I used the appropriate size crochet hook for the yarn (I love my Addi Swing hooks), then I switched to knitting needles picking up stitches around the edge of the crocheted portion. I gradually went down a few sizes to make the brim fit tighter.

The warmth of the fleece paired with the open-knit fabric makes this the perfect spring or fall hat! Thanks Georgia!

-Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How to Tie and Replace Spinning Wheel Drive Bands

As many of our readers and fans know, we have been working on making tutorial videos. Our latest trio of videos focus on tying and replacing drive bands on the Schacht Reeves, Matchless, and Ladybug Spinning Wheels. We hope you find these videos educational and helpful. If you have any suggestions on videos that you would find helpful, please let us know!

Catch all of our video updates by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

-Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our social media manager--the main reason you've seen more activity on our Blog, Facebook, Ravelry, and Pinterest. To see what's happening, click on the links below.

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