Can I just start by saying a heartfelt thank you for your comments on my last post. As always I am bolstered and warmed by your friendship, support, encouragement and interest. Thank you.
Ok, it's time for the final Making the Seasons post, the end of the most wonderful year long partnership between myself and my friend Lucy of Attic24. The initial aim of Making the Seasons - to find a little time and space in a busy life to spend on something creative and seasonal - has never felt as relevant to me as it does at the moment, as I juggle work, family life, blogging, friendships, housework, cooking and craft. Oh, and the whippet. Focusing on the seasons brings me so much happiness, whether it's getting out my crocheted pumpkins to put on the mantel in the autumn, making Christmas presents, or bringing bulbs and greenery into the house in the new year. I find it grounds me somehow, connects me to the month we're in, to what's going on outside, the weather.
This month's project is a wall hanging, woven on a small loom that I bought about a year ago. I don't know that there's anything particularly October-ish about this project, but I do know that as the weather gets colder and the days shorter, I find I want to work with yarn more and needle and thread less. I was a little apprehensive when I finally unpacked the loom, opened the book I bought over the summer holidays and actually engaged with it all, but once I got going there was no stopping me. I cannot recommend this craft highly enough, I think it is just a wonderful way to create something unique and personal.
Once you've purchased (or made) your loom, it is a very thrifty craft and a fabulous way to use up yarn scraps, especially very small amounts of nice, expensive yarn that you don't want to throw away but don't know what to do with. I didn't buy any yarn for this project, but just used a mixture of cream acrylic DK, cream aran weight, and leftover chunky yarn in mustard, pink and cream, and a very small amount of roving wool that I bought some time ago.
Providing you are making your wall hanging this size, and you are using a fair amount of chunky yarn in with your DK, it's very quick to create. I started and made the whole thing in just two evenings, although it did seem to take a while to darn in all those ends on the back.
It's also exceptionally easy. There is a reason why looms are often aimed at children - all you have to do is weave over and under the warp (vertical) threads and tie the odd knot.
The most fun part was hanging the weaving on a small piece of wooden dowel and cutting the long threads at the bottom. Sooo satisfying. Snip snip.
I've hung it in the living room for now, and I like the way it adds texture and warmth to an otherwise stark white wall
I bought this loom which I think it sometimes called a "lap loom" since it's about 30 cm x 40 cm so can sit on your lap while you work, although I found it much easier to sit at a table to weave. The area of woven work is slightly smaller but you can make the finished piece as long as you want by adding tassels. I would very much like to make a large wall hanging, and am toying with the idea of turning an old picture frame into a loom by removing the glass and banging nails into the top and bottom of the frame.
The overall size is 24 cm wide by 52 cm long, but at least half that length is the tassels.
There are many books on weaving out there, but after a long browse in Foyles in London, I bought Modern Weaving and thought it was very good. There is a lot of inspiration, and it's not just wall hangings but all kinds of other projects like cushions, mats, coasters, bags and phone cases. I didn't follow any one pattern to the letter and made up my own wall hanging as I went along, but I think the instructions on how to prepare, start and finish your project, as well as different types of stitches, are very clear.
I absolutely love it. It's very soft and tactile, and I love the imperfections and the way the different types of yarn are so distinct. I am already planning two more like this, as gifts, and then I might pluck up the courage to make my own large weaving.
I really hope you've enjoyed these posts. I know I've loved the challenge of creating something each month, whether is sewing or dyeing or gardening, or weaving. Please do pop over to lovely Lucy's blog to see her final Making the Seasons post.