Drum Roll . . . . Here it is, the final version of the alpaca scarf I made from squares (“weavies”) woven on a pin loom. As planned, I added an edging using the single crochet stitch to give the scarf a more finished look. I’m happy to report that the single crochet stitching in fact did go easily & looked great. Using the darker black color alpaca yarn rather than the fawn color yarn for the edging gave the scarf a very attractive defined border. For the fringe, I chose a 4 inch length & combined the two yarn colors for a very coordinated look with the scarf colors themselves, trimming the fringes to about 3.5 inches to even them all out after they were attached. Prior to attaching the fringe pieces, I blocked the scarf to produce a more even edging on it (very necessary in this case since the individual squares when attached together did not all line up perfectly). Not bad for a total amateur!!
My alpaca scarf pin loom project has actually progressed to a completed alpaca scarf!! I stitched together all of the individual checkered and striped squares in an alternating sequence to create a unique-looking alpaca scarf, pictured here at the right side. Thankfully, the two-color patterning happily hides the occasional weaving mistakes to a large extent! So is that it?? Not quite. I would like to add an edging to give the scarf a more finished look – for that purpose, I intend to use a single crochet stitch, a stitch simple enough for even a beginner like me. Will also want to add fringe, and finally block the scarf to provide a more even shape to it. So be sure to check back if you’d like to see what the final version of my pin loom alpaca scarf looks like.
Liking the look of the alpaca yarn striped and checkered weavie squares, I considered how the squares might be used for something to wear, and the idea of creating a unique alpaca scarf from them came to mind. A general advantage of using weavies as opposed to knitting or crocheting something like a basic scarf is that one can easily combine squares of different colors and/or designs to make a unique-looking overall pattern. In this instance, I liked the look created by alternating striped and checkered squares, and decided to go with that as the basic patterning.
Determining that 12 inches (3 weavies) would be an appropriate scarf width and 57 inches (17 rows) a good length, I experimented with groupings of the individual squares and decided to alternate 3-weavie rows containing stripe-check-stripe weavies with rows of check-stripe-check weavies. The pics here show that the rows are reversible, except that the stripes will have the alternate orientation on the reverse side, so I could opt for either consistent or varied-orientation rows in the overall scarf patterning.
Next Steps: First, to weave enough individual squares to create a 57 inch long scarf, namely, 51 weavies in all! That has taken some time, but I’m finally at the stage of seaming my groups of 3 squares together. Next steps will be to connect those rows, and finally to do some type of simple edge border. You’ll want to check back to see how all that is turning out!
Attaching alpaca yarn weavies together can be done in a variety of ways. The whip stitch is a simple option which will give you a smooth seamless look that’s sturdy at the same time.
Here’s how it goes. First, place one square on top of the other square to be joined, lining them up so that the edge loops alternate rather than being matched up (pic at the left). Weave through the first loop of the top square & then up through the first loop of the back square. Pick up the next loop on the top square & go back into the previously used loop of the back square. From then on, continue with the (angled) whip stitch, stitching from the next open loop on the top square back through the next open loop on the back square until all the loops of the two squares are stitched together.
Tip: As you progress with the whip stitching, check on the smoothness of the seam by opening out the two squares to see how the seam looks. If the seam appears to be too loose or too tight, simply adjust your tension accordingly.
What if you’re more of a “stripe” than a “check” sort of person? Using alpaca yarn to create a basic stripe pattern on a pin loom turns out to be super easy. Here’s how: Do the first wrap with one color (Color A). Cut off that yarn, & tie on the second color yarn (Color B) with a single loose knot, moving the knot as close as possible to the loom. Use this second yarn color for the second & third wraps. Cut it then, & tie on the first color yarn (A) – use that color for the weaving stage. Check out my first alpaca striped weavie at the left.
How much yarn does it take for a stripe weavie of this kind? If you’re using a 2-ply sport weight alpaca yarn, as I did, the weavie takes about 4.5 yds. of Color A (used for the first wrap & weaving) & 3.67 yds. of Color B (used for second & third wraps).
Once you’ve gotten the idea of how to create these square weavies, what next? There are tons of options, but basic to many of them is the need to attach multiple squares together. Next time we’ll talk about some simple ways to accomplish that.
How about using alpaca yarn on a pin loom? Just for fun I then tried some of my stash of alpaca yarn (sport weight) on another practice square. What a difference! The weaving needle moved easily in & out through the warp threads with no problem. I even worked with 2 different colors of alpaca yarn (of the same weight) to see if I could get a checkered pattern. Easy as pie, as it turns out: After winding on the warp threads with one color of yarn, simply switch to a second color for the step using the weaving needle. The second color shows up as the checks against the background first color. The pic below shows the square I made in this fashion, using fawn alpaca yarn as the background color (the warp), & black alpaca yarn as the checkered foreground color.
So how much yarn does it take to make a pin loom square? Not much, so you can feel free to experiment without fear of wasting a lot of expensive yarn. For the 4 inch checkered alpaca yarn square, I used about 5.5 yards of the first color (for the 3 wrap layers) and about 2.5 yards of the second color (for the weaving step).
O.K., once you’ve gotten the idea of how to create these square “weavies”, what next? There are tons of options but basic to many of them is attaching multiple squares together. Next time we’ll talk about some simple ways to accomplish that.
As a weaving adventure, I was interested in seeing how my wonderfully soft alpaca yarn would fare when woven on a pin loom. This thought occurred to me when I was recently introduced to the pin loom for the first time (pin looms actually have a long history).
Exactly what is a pin loom anyway? The pin loom is a miniature size weaving loom that’s typically square in shape with series of pins around the 4 sides (pic shows a 4 inch square pin loom). Yarn is wrapped back & forth across the pins in specific ways to form the “warp” threads, & then a long weaving needle is used to draw yarn crosswise through the warp threads to lock the threads in place. A square piece of cloth can be woven in just a few minutes in this fashion. At least, that is the theory!
How to start? Excited to try out my pin loom, I gave the instruction sheets only a quick glance. Not wanting to use my beautiful alpaca yarn for a first practice run, I decided to use some yarn from my stash of multicolor cotton yarn for this purpose. What a struggle that was – it turns out that cotton yarn is a very poor choice for a beginner as it has no stretch or “give.” I can certainly validate that, as I had a terrible time getting the weaving needle to move in & out of the tightly strung cotton warp threads. Doggedly persisting, I eventually did finish the fabric square (pic at the right).
Later going back to more carefully read the instruction sheets, I only then found out that the recommendation was to begin by using a yarn which has more stretch to it, like alpaca or wool. Also important was the advice to wrap the warp threads loosely so that the weaving needle is able to pass through them readily, ESPECIALLY if using cotton yarn! Nice to know these things.
Check back next week to hear about my pin loom experience with alpaca yarn, & what type of alpaca yarn I used.