Archive for the 'Tutorial' Category

Diagonal Weave on a Weave-it


I like tweed a lot. My whole motivation for getting a weave-it loom was so I could make tweed. The instructions for twill (diagonal weave) provided with the weave-it loom are a bit confusing and I imagine they deter many people from trying it out. That, and the regular woven squares are really cute too!

For more info on Weave-it looms and what you can do with them check out Eloomnation and the “week” of weaving over at Girlontherocks.

This is a my attempt at shedding some light on the process and hopefully clarifying the instructions for how to make your very own “diagonal weave” square. I made a full set of photo-instructions on flickr complete with notes. Below I have my general rules and tips. I should point out that my definitions of tweed, twill, diagonal-weave, stitch, and strand may not be strictly accurate but hopefully they are logical.


To make a diagonal weave square you will need:
weave-it loom (I think all the sizes will work but Ive only done 2″ and 4″)
weaving needle
two colors of yarn
instructions
tweed chicken for company (not strictly necessary)

You will wind the white yarn around the loom (diagrams 1 & 2) and then weave in the black yarn with the weaving needle (diagram 3). Full photoset with instructions on flickr.

Diagonal weave (as the Weave-It loom instructions call it), or twill, is made by going over and under two strands and offsetting the stitch by one strand each row. This is the basic pattern you will follow, and it helps me to keep that in mind when Im trying to remember what to do next.

The weave-it diagrams for diagonal weave (courtesy of Karrie). Also a very useful chart. Click through to flickr for a few clarifying notes.


Tricks and Tips for diagonal weave

  • The very first row is different than all the others in two ways.
    1. Row 1 is a 1-1 row, meaning that it is woven under one-over one all the way across (starts with under). All other rows are 2-2 rows (over two-under two) with some exceptions in the edge stitches.
    2. The yarn at the end of the first row should go to the outside of the corner pin (see this photo and diagram)
  • Rule 1: The black yarn should always overlap one stitch with the previous row and advance in the correct direction. This should help you decide whether to start the row with an over or under.
  • If you are weaving standard twill (not changing directions) the rows originating on the right-hand side will always begin 2-2 while rows originating on the left-hand side will begin 1-1. They both continue across with 2-2.
  • Rule 2: The black yarn should always go around the white yarn on the edge stitches. This means that if you end by going under the last strand you need to go over it at the beginning of the next row. This will also help you catch mistakes when you start the next row. If you make a mistake you will not be able to both begin the row correctly and follow rule 2. When doing herringbone tweed you will have to be extra diligent to make the edge stitches are “captured”.
  • Mistakes arent hard to fix, just weave backwards with your needle to the location of the mistake.
  • The last row can be very tight and difficult. Try doing it in sections so you can get more leverage on the needle.

Herringbone tweed is made with this same advancing stitch pattern but with directional changes. This poses a few additional complications. At the apex of the direction change there is a full two stitch offset (as opposed to the normal one stitch offset). I do one direction change in the example, but I like to do them every 5-6 rows for a more typical tweed look.

  • At the apex of the direction change offset weave the opposite pattern from the previous row. This will be a full two stitch offset.
  • Rows originating on the right-hand side will begin 1-2
  • Rows originating on the left take some more planning to satisfy both rules 1 and 2. I suggest ENDING the previous row with 1-1. This can be accomplished by backstitching one (see photo). If you do this left rows begins with 1-2. Otherwise you will have to begin 1-1-1 which I feel is invasive to the pattern.

The finished square on the loom:

and off:

Please let me know if you have any questions about my explanations, the photo-tutorial, or diagonal weave in general. Ill do my best to answer them!

Simple Flannel Baby Blankets

I made some baby blankets about a year ago for a friend’s shower and I debated with myself over what parameters make a good baby blanket. Having no personal experience with this I was somewhat out of luck so I did what I usually do in these situations, I called my Mom. With some basic guidelines I made up this simple blanket approach. These blankets are quick to make and seem to get a lot of use by the recipients. One little girl in particular poses with them in many photos! Her dad suggested that the key characteristic of the blankets is their size and stiffness. I guess there is an important role in baby accessories for structural wrapping items useful for containing limbs. If you have even minimal sewing skills you can tackle this project and wow your expecting friends (or yourself) with handmade gifts.

This is my entry to the June Whiplash “competition” – Introduce Yourself. Its my first post to Whiplash!
whipup

This will describe the steps to make one blanket even though two are pictured.
You will need:
One yard each of two flannel fabrics
Fabric cutting devices (scissors, rotary cutter)
ruler
round object like a bowl
sewing machine
thread etc.


Step 1: Purchase and Wash
Acquire 2 yards of flannel fabric, one yard in each print. I purchased mine from a fabric store (amazing!). I was particularly enamored with the Sock Monkey print. Im also a fan of non-pastel baby items so I go for dark, rich colors. I usually choose a patterned fabric for one side and a solid for the other. For the Sock Monkeys I chose a matching “Sock” print for the solid. Its all personal preference though! The solid colors are often double sided (i.e. fuzzy on both sides) while the printed flannels are usually single sided. The double sided stuff will make a stiffer and slightly heavier blanket.

Now wash the fabric (just in the washer with your clothes) and iron it flat.

Step 2: Square the Edges
You need to make your fabric into matching sized rectangles. Inevitably the edges will be un-square when they cut the fabric at the store so you will have to fix it. I use my gridded ruler and rotary cutter but you can do it with scissors too. I square one of the pieces first and then with *right sides together* I make the second piece match the first. I use scissors for trimming the second piece.

Step 3: Round the Edges
One of my favorite touches on this blanket is the rounded corners. I did this by taking a round object (the pictured bowl) and simply cutting away some fabric in a round shape. I just traced around the bowl, then cut away the excess.

Step 4: Sew, right sides together.
Now, with your rectangles right sides together sew around the perimeter with a 5/8ths inch seam allowance. Stop sewing when you get about 6 inches from where you started, i.e. leave a gap (you can see the gap in the spotted blanket in the background).
Trim the corners like this:

Step 5: Turn right side out and press
This one is fairly self explanatory. Turn the blanket right side out through the gap you left in the stitching. Using an iron on cotton setting press around the edge. Use your fingers to help the fabric expand all the way out. The notches you cut at the corner should help in the curves.

Step 6: Top Stitch
Pick a thread color that goes with each of your fabrics. It can be matching or contrasting, the same on top and bottom or different–you choose. Now using a 1/4th inch seam allowance sew around the entire edge of the blanket. You may wish to pin the section where the gap is but I find I dont need to since the flannel is adheres pretty well to itself.

Press the blanket one more time if you like and you are done!

Here they are in the sunlight:

And some I made a year ago:
DSCN1849.JPG

Quick Baby Bibs


I was in need of a quick baby gift I could make from things I had around the house. Since they came out so cute I thought I would share a little about how I made them.

I happen to have a stash of blank baby bibs (from Ikea) in my sewing box that had been waiting for just this occasion. My favorite baby gifts so far are the flannel blankets I made for Tillie but I didnt have time to shop for fabric and run it through the washer for this project. Perfect time to bust out the bibs.

First I gathered the necessary materials:

Blank Baby bibs, cute fabric for applique, stiff card (from my recycling bin), ruler, pencil and cutting devices for card and fabric.

I did a few different designs but these photos will show how I made the star.

I drew a star and added a seam allowance using my ruler for guidance:

Then I cut out the stencil using an exacto knife and a ruler.

I transfered the shape to the applique fabric using a pencil and then the shape of the fabric:

To tuck the seam allowance under I had to cut slits to the inner corners:

At this point you could use the iron to press the seam allowance under but I was too lazy, so i just pinned it to the bib. I did press the seam allowance for the circle because it was too difficult otherwise.

I sewed the star to the bib by hand using an invisible stitch (maybe called an applique stitch? im not sure). Since I was going to zig-zag around the edges I probably could have gotten away with basting but it didnt take very long to sew it properly and then I didnt have to remove any stitches.

I used the zig-zag attachment for my Singer 301 to make a reinforced (and decorative) edging around the applique.

I also made a circle and a patch of a VW pop-top camper bus.

Hopefully the little guy will like them!

Make your own Cardboard Spurs

So I was invited to a halloween party this past weekend with a western theme (is a theme even allowed at halloween?) for which I had little to work with in the way of costume items. What is a girl to do? Make her own cardboard accessories obviously! This set of photos on Flickr explains how you can make your own pair of cardboard spurs so you can be ready for whatever halloween throws at you. There isnt much complicated about it but you will need some way to cut cardboard, a tapestry needle and some yarn or string.

I would love to say that the spurs won “best use of cardboard” at the party but it’s hard when your up against someone dressed as an outhouse….