what irene wrought

I showed you photos of my neighborhood after Hurricane Irene blew through, but I wasn’t yet ready to show you the real results of the storm: I started weaving! I’ve been kind of obsessed with becoming a weaver for years and years, but never had the equipment to make it happen. I got my hands on a brand-new Cricket Loom by Schacht and was sure to bring it home for our weekend trapped in the house. I figured I would set it up on Saturday so that if the power went out, I’d have something easy to do by candlelight.

365x4.66 riding out irene

I read the booklet to put the loom together—it arrives in pieces, but the photo-heavy step-by-step directions are completely clear—and jumped right in. The day before, I Googled and watched a series of “how to warp and weave on a Cricket loom” videos (starting with this one), so I was already familiar with what I’d be getting myself into, but the book has step-by-step photos for the process too, so I didn’t even need to do that advance research.

Because I’m not one for tentative crafting, I went ahead and warped the loom with Madeline Tosh Merino DK in a gorgeous green (colorway Jade) that I’d bought at Happy Knits while in Portland last March. I mildly wondered if the yarn might be a little soft for weaving, but I threw caution to the wind. Also? Turns out that you are supposed to buy different reeds for different sizes of yarn, and a 10-dent reed is more recommended for DK-weight yarn (I learned this later). The loom comes with an 8-dent reed, and I do think this had an effect on this single-ply yarn—there was a good amount of pulling and ultimately the pressure on one of the outer threads was too much; it ended up ripping halfway through! But I just wove in the end and barreled on.

I had a lot of trouble keeping the edges looking even and nice, and any time I got into a groove, it was time to shift the fabric more onto the cloth beam, losing me whatever momentum I had. I would like to think that it got better as I went on, but it did not! If any weavers have tips, I welcome them. Still, the color of the yarn was gorgeous and I was itchy to finish it once I started. All in all it took me just a few hours over Saturday and Sunday to finish it up! Maybe 6 hours of weaving, total? I wasn’t paying much attention, but we never lost power during the storm so I spent a lot of the weekend looking at other finished projects from a Cricket (in this Ravelry group especially) and watching videos. Sunday evening I cut it off the loom, gave it a nice soak in some Eucalan wool wash, and set it out to dry. The post-hurricane climate was very dry, so it was ready by morning!

365x4.68 Irene Scarf

You can point out flaws and issues all you want (not that any of you would), but I love it! It’s soft and warm and the color is so ┬álovely. I left the fringe a few inches long, though as you can see on one end it needs a little extra trim because I didn’t make them very even.

Jason loves the color too and actually requested the finished object for himself—he said it would be an honor to wear my first woven scarf, irregular edges and all—except for one sad factor: it’s too short. It’s fine for me under a coat, but Jason has been wanting a longer scarf since last winter, so OH WELL I have to keep this one for myself, and I’ll just get yarn for him sometime to make him a longer one!

It’s weird to me how boring I found the weaving—it’s such a rote action, back and forth, back and forth—but how addicted to it I became. I am eager to explore more design work with the rigid heddle loom. I have a feeling, though, that I’m going to want to upgrade pretty soon to bigger and more exciting woven items. I’ve already warped the loom with something new (a more sturdy worsted-weight) and my selvedges are already better, so I’m hopeful that I’m making progress! A new obsession is born . . .

I wove a scarf!

17 Responses to what irene wrought

  1. Specs says:

    Hooray! I’ve always wanted to learn to weave, mostly because I have very fond memories of visiting my cousin and falling asleep at night listening to the sound of my aunt’s rigid heddle loom (which was huge and you could hear on the second floor).

  2. earthchick says:

    Yay weaving! This is gorgeous, Erin. I love how fast weaving goes, esp. compared to knitting.

    I think the only way to better selvedges is practice and more practice. (I’m not there yet – but I haven’t had my Cricket out in ages).

  3. Mandy says:

    It’s so pretty! A friend of mine has a loom that she’s just learning to use. I’m going to try and “borrow” some time on it to try my hand at a scarf.

  4. GinkgoKnits says:

    I took a beginning weaving class this spring but haven’t had the cash to buy a loom. For the selvedges my teacher recommended always looking at them with the same eye (keeping the other closed) for a moment as it helps with consistency. Besides pure practice, this really helped me get a feel for the correct angle to lay the yarn before beating. Your scarf looks beautiful and definitely makes me want to weave more.

  5. rachel says:

    In the last few weeks, I’ve been reading loads of knitty bloggers writing about their weaving and I’m getting the itch. The scarf is gorgeous, but you can never go wrong with MadTosh. Great job!!

  6. Glyn says:

    I love the color; it’s gorgeous! I’ve also been thinking about a Cricket loom for a couple years now, but without any weaving experience I haven’t justified it yet. Maybe this will also get me on that path!

  7. Jacey says:

    I’m glad something good came out of Irene! It’s nice that you could keep busy to keep your mind off the storm. When Ike came through Houston a few years ago, it was too hot to knit, but it would have been a welcome distraction! I love the vibrancy of that scarf!

  8. Becky says:

    Gorgeous first scarf! It just takes practice to get better. I hold the edge where the yarn turns as I lay the yarn diagonally across and that seems to help with the neatness of the edges to some degree.

    Happy weaving!

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