Given my wonky hands, lots of my crafty hobbies are inaccessible. I find holding smaller things harder than bigger ones, so cross stitch is off the table – I started the Clouds Factory ‘Magical Creatures’ calendar to be my 2019 sampler, then had hoped it might become a 2020 sampler, and it still isn’t further than August yet. Crochet caused the biggest flare up I’ve had this year, and whilst I bought one of the metal tension rings you can wear to hold the working yarn I’m still to really try and see if that helps because if I’m honest, I’m scared of hurting myself that badly again.
But I needed a low-energy fibre project. Enter: the loom.
Everyone’s seen those macrame style wall hangings on Pinterest, and somehow a YouTube tutorial for a beginner’s weaving pattern came up on my video feed recommendations. I thought, that seems fun. That also seems like something I could physically manage, and with room to get creative and a bit funky with it. Maybe it’s not too expensive? I can’t afford another disappointment, either financially or emotionally.
I’m so pleased with it! This little wall hanging was made using bits and pieces of wool from around my house, with the exception of the roving which I purchased from CraftyJam.com (side note: their tagline “always ethically sourced: crafting with moral fibre” really tickles me!) to give a chunky texture in the middle. I made it over the course of a few evenings, making sure to take breaks when I sensed my hands getting unhappy whilst I figured out the best way to hold the tools and move across the frame. I also spent some of that time looking up different stitches – this one includes tabby weaving, soumak, rya loops and an attempt at a twill weave!
I’ve since made a second piece (which I’m not sharing photos of in case it becomes a Christmas gift!) but that one only took just one evening to make whilst watching TV. The second one I’m even happier with, and I hope this trend will continue into the third one as well. I see many of these being made in the future, and yes, family members reading this might just find themselves in receipt of such this winter. Surprise!
It’s really easy to make a basic weaving frame out of sturdy cardboard or an old photo frame, with lots of tutorials for that online, but there are also beginners frames on Etsy and Amazon. I think I spent less than £20 in total for both the frame and roving and I’m happy that was money well spent. I didn’t want to go wild buying kit for something I might not be able to do, or just plain might not enjoy, but that seemed like a reasonable risk for me at that price point. If you don’t already have wool, places like Poundland will often have cheap acrylic yarn in a range of colours (post-lockdown 2.0). You can also just buy starter kits that come with everything including both frame and wool for a project, though they will be a little bit more money.
Overall I’m thrilled. The woven pieces look pretty, there are infinite combinations of colours and textures I could employ to keep making different ones, and importantly I can do it for a couple of hours before feeling I need to stop. Typing this blog post has taken more energy/caused more physical discomfort, frankly, so I’m calling that a win!