Friday, December 19, 2014

Reformed Bananagram Scarf - Stephanie Flynn Sokolov

The Bananagram scarf featured on the cover of the book Woven Scarves by Jane Patrick and myself is a great beginner project. One of the things I love about this scarf is that it is easier to do than it looks. A fine merino wool yarn, woven at 12 ends per inch, is felted with tie-in objects which leave a lasting impression after the finishing process.
For this "Reformed Bananagram" Scarf, I Changed the object used for the resist from a Bananagram to a Lego (not a far leap in my house). These building blocks now come in all different shapes and sizes which create a variety of lively shapes. The yarn is JoJoLand Harmony (the same one used in the book), great for its softness and flexibility. The orange color made it super fun to weave. To get started, pull out your 10" Cricket loom, put in a 12- dent reed, direct warp the full width and you are ready to weave. Even though this scarf has a 24 picks pr inch and a 104" warp length, it moves right along in plain weave.

Once the scarf is woven, round up your Legos and position them randomly along the scarf, securing them with small rubber bands.

Be sure to secure each block twice around with the rubber band (I learned this the hard way). Even though some of the blocks seemed big enough to warrant just once around, but don't be fooled, the bricks will fall out when finishing. I also had a learning moment when I saw that some of the long skinny blocks poked through the fabric and slid out completely during the washing process. This scarf can take on many different shapes, depending on the objects you use for the felt resist, so get creative, look around, and start weaving.

Stephanie Flynn Sokolov trained in accessory design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She teaches classes in weaving and spinning around the U.S. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Sashiko Posh Plum - Denise Renee Grace

I am often pleasantly surprised with "happy accidents" in my creative process, and this scarf is one of those gifts. I set out to do something like the "Posh Plum" scarf from the book Woven Scarves. Even though I planned to double the warp every inch or so, when it came to warping, I went on auto pilot and totally forgot. Still wanting the striped effect, Sashiko seemed to be the perfect answer to my "accident".
Recently, I have been exploring a Japanese-style embroidery technique that uses basic running stitches and I thought it would be great to add stripes to the fabric of my scarf.  

Handspun yarn adds delicious texture to any handwoven piece
One of the many things I love about hand-made items is seeing the progress. Each step feels like a mini victory, but when the end product is done, it takes on a life of it's own. This is the yarn from my default challenge: handspun from merino/silk roving in Garden colorway and For Better or Worsted Yarn in Grace colorway, both from Anzula.

The project was woven on my 10" Cricket handweaving loom using an 8-dent heddle with For Better or Worsted in the full width of the heddle. I set the warping peg about 84" from the rear apron bar. Using the handspun as the weft, the project was simple, but has a subtle and elegant beauty. The running Sashiko stitched stripes were done about an inch apart. These stitches cause the fabric to have a different look and feel, giving a slightly gathered depth to the scarf. The fringe just wanted to be twisted for the perfect finishing touch!

Did you get inspired by one of the scarves in the Woven Scarves book? Please share pictures with us! We love to see the endless possibilities of woven creations! 

-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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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fibonacci Scarf - Kate White

I keep having to remind myself that I’m a beginner. Working for Schacht, a company that produces spinning wheels and looms, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the crafts. Shortly after starting here, I learned to spin and weave, but between the planning, replanning, obsessing, and fantasizing, I spend a relatively small amount of time actually making. After I made my challah cover, however, I had an unwarped Cricket Loom and lots of beautiful, leftover hand-dyed yarn. I also had a roommate who’d been tolerating a kitchen full of dye pots and had a birthday coming up. A long, skinny scarf seemed just the ticket – with the tools and materials immediately at hand, and a deadline, this scarf would practically weave itself! I found that clearing the mental clutter and choosing a simple project helped me focus on developing two other important aspects of weaving: technique and instinct.

Naturally-dyed warp yarn
When I first set up my loom to warp, it was backwards! When direct-warping a rigid heddle loom, the reed should be in neutral, which is the groove near the back of the loom. The front of the loom faces your warping peg.

Make sure the warp goes over the back beam. It’s easy to just pick up the apron bar where it sits and start warping, but if it’s going under the beam, you won’t get a proper shed. We get calls every week from experienced weavers who have made this mistake – it’s easy to do! My first weaving teacher told me that the apron bars will give your loom a hug. A double-check before you start warping will save you a lot of grief.

Proper pathway for your warp around the back beam
This scarf ended up being nearly 8 feet long, so I had a lot of practice with my selvedges. By not complicating my pattern, I had more awareness of getting the proper tug and angle in my picks. In each pick, I paid attention to how tight I was pulling along the selvedge thread, and to the angle at which I was placing the yarn in the shed. For a more in-depth exploration on great selvedges, check out Dear Tabby in the Schacht E-Newes.

I also focused a lot on my beat – as I mentioned in my previous post, I packed my challah cover at nearly twice the sett that was called for by the yarn. With this scarf, I was very careful to beat gently and maintain about 8 picks per inch. I counted at first, and then got a feeling for it and just checked occasionally. Different projects will have different needs, but reminding myself to be mindful of the process will help me in the execution of plan into product.


I’ve been intimidated by color in my weaving, and have tended work more texture via pattern. Working with natural dyes, however, made me want to let the colors speak for themselves. I had plenty of yardage in two of my hand-dyed colorways, and pillaged my stash of commercial yarns for a third. I did a modified Fibonacci sequence (“modified” in that I messed up the order of some of the threads and decided not to fix it) for the warp. The colors were a seafloor blue (the commercial yarn) and the brown that was my weft for the challah cover.

For the weft, I used a hand-dyed skein that had a run of brown to pink. This yarn was my sample warp from my challah cover, wherein I displayed a total lack of understanding for how a warp works. The great news was that I had actually planned for the sample, so I got the education, a second chance at my goal warp, and a skein of yarn that was completely lovely. I was a little concerned about the pinkness of the yarn for my recipient, but with the other colors, it blended into a lovely field of russet tones.

Detail of the striping sequence shows the color interactions beautifully
My color changes were very subtle, so I didn't put any thought into transitioning between stick shuttles, but Denise wrote a blog on the treatment of color changes that you might find helpful for semi-solid yarns.

With a weekend, a good tv show, and my roommate out of town, I warped and wove this scarf in just a few hours. It was a great reminder that simplicity lends itself to success. I am still a beginning weaver after all, and there was plenty of opportunity to challenge myself. Plus, by not being overwhelmed with over-complex visions, I actually wound up with a finished project in hand, in time for my friend's birthday. That's pretty rewarding.
-Kate White

Kate White wears several hats here at Schacht. Some of the many roles she plays each day include computer operating system liaison, project manager, data maven, and interface between our sales and production departments.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Weathered Brick "Log Cabin" Scarf - Benjamin Krudwig

As an office, we decided that we would love to use Jane and Stephanie's book, Woven Scarves, as inspiration for our next projects. This book has a wealth of ideas and stunning photos--plenty of ideas to choose from. Each of us thumbed through our copy of the book and chose a scarf that we found personally inspiring. Of course, Denise and I aren't happy doing just one challenge, we decided that we should also weave our scarves with yarn we spun during Spinzilla.

I have always been drawn to very graphic patterns. Bold colors and high contrast are immediate attention-getters for me. I love color-and-weave patterns because, though they look like a complex deal, once you get past the threading, it's all plain weave from there. This is what drew me to the Log Cabin scarf in the book. I knew at that moment that I would do my own log cabin scarf. Because the yarn I chose to use was variegated, I knew that my finished piece wouldn't be a traditional looking log cabin pattern. This made me even more excited to warp and weave my scarf!

My hand dyed and handspun yarn in the colors "Ghost Ranch" on the left and "New England Tide" on the right
I chose a color scheme based on a photo that I took while my wife and I were on a trip to Boston. This inspiration came from a side alley on my way to a coffee shop. The weathered brick was stunning in the cold February light, a contrast of cool and warm.

Exposed bricks in a Boston alley inspired this color scheme lending to the truth,
that inspiration can be found anywhere!
A close up begins to reveal the log cabin pattern.
I warped up my 15" Cricket with 140 ends giving me 14" in the reed. My sett ended up being 10 epi, whereas the chunky log cabin scarf in the book boasts 5 epi. I did pattern blocks of 20 picks, which ended up being perfect for my yarn. Since the yarn varied in hue and saturation, the log cabin pattern isn't immediately apparent, yet upon closer inspection, the structured blocks become more visible.

A closer look lends a more structured view
Using my two variegated yarns created a surprisingly beautiful fabric that had an organized chaos that I love so much. I finished my scarf by separating the different colors of yarn and fringe twisting them together.

Make your own log cabin scarf, and show us on our Facebook page!
Find this project and more on our Pinterest!
-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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Friday, December 5, 2014

My Zoom Loom Gave To Me - Day 12

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Zoom Loom gave to me.

Twelve Candy Twists

Seven Sweet Things

Three Snow Birds

One Star Tree Topper on the tree.

This concludes the Zoom Loom Ornament Weave Along!

Thank you for participating, and may these ornaments brighten up your 2014-2015 winter!

See if your local dealer will be holding an event during December, or weave along at home! Post pictures on our Facebook, and chat with others on our thread on Ravelry!

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