The other day when I was tidying up the store, I came across a surprisingly large amount of yarn scraps and ends lying around collecting dust from the mill. Refusing to throw them out, I set them aside in a little pile, noticing that all of the colors actually matched very well. I decided I needed to put these scraps to good artistic use, so I took them home and spent the day free-style weaving them into a wall hanging.
I was delighted at how simple, inexpensive, and satisfying this project was. Not to mention, it was a great way to use up random yarn scraps (which I know everyone has!!)
So if you are looking for something crafty to do on a rainy day, or a fun group activity, give this little project a try. I've put together a full tutorial and materials list you need to make your own! Keep reading below :)
To Get Started:
Step 1: Prepare the Warp
To get started, I prepared my materials by laying them out on a table (or floor) and mapping out which colors and textures I thought looked good together. You don't have to stick to this plan, but it's good to have an idea of where you'd like your design to go. I tried to separate the thicker materials with thinner ones to keep the weaving from getting too bulky.
Once you have a rough plan of your design, you can begin the "warping" process, which will untimately look like this:
The first step is to separate the inner ring from your embroidery hoop. Set aside the outer ring and tie your 5 yd. warping yarn onto the inner ring with a tight, secure knot.
Once the knot is secure, bring your yarn to the opposite side of the ring, pull it taught, and loop once around rim.
Bring the yarn across the ring again and loop around rim about an inch to the right of your starting knot. Then cross the yarn across the ring and loop again, one inch to the right of the first loop you made. Always make sure to pull the yarn as tight as you can to create a tight warp.
A star shape will start to form as you continue to cross the yarn and loop around the opposite rims, always moving an inch to the right as you go. If the middle of your star isn't perfectly centered, you can either adjust the strings to make it even, or leave it asymmetrical for an artsy effect. (Mine ended up a little off, but I decided I liked the uneven look.)
Once you've made your way around the ring and back to the starting knot, secure your yarn with another knot on the rim and trim the yarn. Place the outer ring back onto the hoop and tighten to keep the yarn from moving.
This will leave you with a base to weave your yarn scraps into.
Step 2: The Weaving Begins!
I know right now your warp might seem a little unorganized and intimidating, but once you start weaving, the strands will become more defined and the piece will start to come together.
Start by choosing the first yarn scrap that you want to use and make sure it is secure in the middle of the star either with a knot or a twist. Begin to weave the yarn, alternating under and over every strand. Since the strands aren't crossing perfectly, it might be a little difficult at first, but try to get under and over every other strand. This over/under technique is what creates a fabric.
When you get back to where you began the round, it's time to start a new round, this time weaving under all the "over" stitches of the last round and over all the "under" stitches. At this point you will start to see the strands become more defined. You can continue with the same yarn for as long as you like, alternating your "unders" and "overs" every round, until you want to switch to a new yarn. To switch yarns, cut the one you're using and either tie a new yarn onto it or leave a long tail to tuck in later.
As you weave, you want to make sure you're pushing your stitches in toward the center to eliminate gaps in the fabric. For this you can use a knitting needle, your finger, or any other small pointy object you have lying around.
Continue weaving and working your way outward from the center. Again the materials you use are entirely up to you. I like to alternate different weighted yarns to create texture. The brown yarn above is our super chunky core-spun yarn and its awesome for adding bulk and texture.
The more texture you add, the more you're wall hanging will pop and stand out. You can use fun yarns like boucle, brushed mohair, thick and thin, or fun fur to play around with different looks.
Step 3: Get Creative!
It's totally up to you how much you'd like to experiment with your weaving. As long as you follow the basic weaving techniques, you will end up with something beautiful. So if you are comfortable weaving stripes, then continue on that way. If you'd like to experiment, feel free to try out new things! The photos below show some of the patterns I tested on my wall hanging.
I started straying away from the basic stripes and began constructing a section with roving. Weaving sections is very easy, you just start a new round and weave as normal, but instead of doing a whole round, you pick a point where you want to turn your work and start going back the way you came, making sure to do the opposite "under" "over" pattern than the last row.
Adding an extra section can change the shape of the work and also give it some asymmetry. Tying roving ends around a couple of the strands and trimming them to make little bows (above left photo) is another simple way to add flair to your work.
You can also play around with different colors to change the look of your weaving. I wanted to keep my wall hanging pretty light so I used mostly white, light gray, and soft pink yarns, but contrasted those colors with pops of darker tones to add some dimension.
At this point, I got a little ambitious and tried some knotting. I'm not even sure what kind of knots these would classify as, but they actually made some cool little pockets to weave yellow roving into. You don't have to know what you're doing to make interesting designs. Just try experimenting and if something doesn't look good, take it out and try again!
Step 4: Finishing Your Work
There's no "right" place to end your work. If you're like me and like the way the strands look peeking out, then you can finish before you get to the edge. However, it's completely up to you where you'd like to stop and tie off.
[ Design Idea: If you decide to leave some empty space between your work and the rim, try weaving bird feathers or dried herbs into the strands for a more natural look ]
To finish your work, cut off the yarn you're working with and tie a secure knot onto a strand, leaving a long enough tail to weave into the back of the work. Find any tails and loose ends that you may have left while you were working, and weave them into the fabric making sure they don't show through on the front of the work.
After all tails are tucked in, take a final look at your work to see if there are any adjustments that need to be made.
Once you're happy with the way the wall hanging looks, just tie a little string of yarn onto the rim or adjustment screw of the embroidery hook and you're ready to hang your artwork or give it to someone as a gift!
Thank you for crafting with me! Hopefully this will inspire you to use up all of those pesky yarn scraps you have at home. If you decide to make one of these wall hangings, be sure to send us pictures on our Facebook page or by email so we can see and share them! Also if you have any questions or need help with any aspect of this project, please ask and we will get right back to you!
Thanks again and enjoy your week! Stay tuned next Thursday for more updates and ideas from The Yarn Barn! As always ~keep crafting~
Fall foliage may not be at its peak yet here in Ohio, but I am certainly ready to start celebrating my favorite time of year. Each year around this time, I am (without fail) filled with the urge to take country drives and visit every coffee shop I can find. On these fall trips, I plan out knitting projects and Christmas gift ideas that I want to work on once it's too cold to leave the house (Coincidentally, this weather makes me want to do nothing but knit!)
So in my search for knitting patterns, I decided that I would share some of my favorite patterns that I've found, in hopes that you will find some crafting projects to last you through winter :)
Most of the patterns I found were free, either from Ravelry or Knitty, and I've included both knitting and crochet patterns, so enjoy and be sure to check out the links to the patterns :)
Patterns for the Home
With Halloween just around the corner and the holiday season not far behind, here's some cute ideas to decorate your home and your loved ones homes for the holidays. These are quick, inexpensive projects that can be loved by everyone! To access the patterns, just click on the photos you are interested in and they'll take you right there.
Cute and Quick Gift Ideas
I love hand-making all of my Christmas gifts, and sometimes I just need something small to give. Here's a few of my favorite little gift ideas that I would make for nieces, friends, or coworkers.
I don't know a single person who doesn't enjoy receiving a hand knit scarf as a gift. Here's a few simple ideas, and you can always change up the colors of these to make them unisex!
My favorite accessories are those that look sophisticated but are actually very quick and easy to make. Here's a few free patterns that I think fit the bill perfectly!
Similar to accessories, I'm a fan of simple yet sophisticated sweater designs. I don't think it takes a lot of fancy stitches or colors to make a statement, and these sweater patterns, though simple, pack a lot of personality.
Well there you go! Hopefully these designs helped you plan some fall crafts or at least inspired you to break out the needles and start researching some projects you want to start. Stay tuned next week, I will be talking about ways to use yarn without needles!
Thanks for reading and ~keep crafting~ Talk to you next week!
It's been a pretty quiet week here at The Yarn Barn as Robbie and Carrie are enjoying a much needed week away to celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary (yay! congratulations!)
Emma and I have been holding down the mill, processing some rug yarn and felt sheets, and taking advantage of the unusually quiet mill to do some yarn experimenting.
Over the past few weeks, you've seen our experiments with dyeing and new fiber blends like angora and merino, but something we haven't dabbled with too much is texture.
If you're a hand spinner, you know that its almost inevitable that you're yarn is going to have some texture to it, and you learn to manipulate the roving to achieve a desired texture or color-way.
However, in mill spinning, the machines are in control and these machines are programmed to create consistent even strands at all times, so it takes a little extra effort and experimentation to get well-made textured yarns.
So this week Emma and I have been playing around with techniques that can give our yarn a more organic, hand-spun feel and so far we've come up with two blends that we both love!
The first yarn, dreamt up and executed by Emma, is a thick & thin yarn with a blend of merino and angora that has some serious squishiness!
In hand spinning, thick & thin yarn seems to happen naturally. On an industrial spinning machine, its hard to create one strand with thick and thin parts, so you have to spin separate thick and thin strands and ply them together to create the bubbly texture. We tried this technique and out came a perfectly uneven yarn that could make an adorably fun little hat or cowl!
,The next experiment was something we've both been wanting to try for a while: Single strand yarn.
Single strand yarn is yarn that consists of only one strand of spun fiber. Most yarns are plyed, meaning several strands of fiber are twisted together to add durability and keep them from unraveling. However, it is possible to create a yarn with one strand, as long as you set it correctly.
The draw of using this type of yarn ( at least for me) is that it adds a certain simpleness and rawness to the fabric you create, that you just can't achieve with a plyed yarn.
The nature of single strand yarn can be very finicky and we weren't sure it would work for us, so we just ran a very small batch to try it out. We started with merino and tussah silk, which we dyed in the raw, dried and then processed and spun. At first the yarn coming off the spinner was extremely twisted, but after being washed and dried, it straightened out very well!
Here's some pictures I snapped during the process :)
I actually love this yarn so much! It's everything I look for in a yarn: unique, soft, versatile, and very strong for not having been plyed.
Emma and I had a lot of fun experimenting in the mill and we encourage everyone to try their hand at using new yarns. Whether you be a hand spinner who is looking for new spinning techniques, or a fiber artist looking for fun yarns, try something new and get creative. It's really cool to see where fiber can take you!
Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy your week! Stay tuned next week for more from us here at The Yarn Barn!
P.S. Be sure to wish Robbie and Carrie a Happy Anniversary when you see them next :)
Good Morning from the Yarn Barn!
It was a beautiful misty morning here in Somerville, OH. I snapped this photo on my way to work today and was amazed at how much it looked like an 18th century American landscape oil painting. Seriously, check this out!
Anyway, we are finally back in action after the Wool Gathering!
This weekend was a blast!
With it being our first year participating in the festival, we were a little unsure of how the weekend would go. Fortunately, everything went very smoothly. In fact we had such a good time, we already have our booth reserved for next year!
For those who don't know, the Young's Dairy Wool Gathering is two day festival hosted every September to celebrate all things fiber arts. The festival has been running for 22 years and is one of the largest fiber festivals in the area, hosting more than a hundred vendors among its three giant tents.
The Wool Gathering is an amazing opportunity for fiber enthusiasts from all around the nation to gather and share their passion and creativity. It's a great activity for children to learn about fiber and farming, and a perfect fall weekend getaway. Not to mention, the festival is hosted on a Dairy farm that produces the most delicious ice cream and artisan cheeses ever, so basically you leave the festival satisfied with arms full of fiber and stomachs full of butter pecan ice cream :)
Carrie, Emma, and I ran the booth on Saturday and Robbie joined us Sunday to help pack everything up. Speaking of Robbie, there never seems to be any pictures of him, but he is doing great and working as hard as ever in the mill. I'm going to have to snap a photo of him soon...
Anyway, Overall, the festival was very organized. We had electricity, tables, and chairs provided for us, and everything went very smoothly and according to plan.
As a vendor, it was encouraging to see so many friendly, creative shoppers visit our booth and check out our yarn. The best part about selling yarn is having a customer tell you that your yarn is perfect for the project they've been wanting to make. If you've bought yarn from us, or just want to show us what you're working on, please post a picture to our Facebook or Instagram, we LOVE to see what everyone is working on!
Speaking of projects, here's a quick snapshot of a hat I recently started working on with our Cherry Cordial Worsted Merino yarn. This yarn is hearty, warm, and knits up so quick. I love it!
Thank you so much for catching up with us. I know these posts have been pretty short recently, but we have lots going on here at the Yarn Barn. If you have any questions, feel free to comment or leave us a post on our Facebook page, we'd love to hear from you :)
As always ~keep crafting~ and we'll be back next week with more Yarn Barn news!
Hi All! Because we are so busy packing up for the Wool Gathering this weekend, I'm going to keep it short and sweet and give you a little sneak peak of some of the new yarns we will be featuring at the fiber festival.
Fall Fades: Alpaca, Merino, Tencel blend yarn in three ombre shades, Cranberry Crush, Passion, and Blue Raspberry. I'm loving these shades and dying to see what they would look like knitted up!
Lime Margarita: A soft merino Thick & Thin yarn with gray and lime green. Very durable, warm , and machine washable.
Halloween Edition: Alpaca, Merino, and Tencel Blend yarns in Spooky Hollow and Dark Night. Perfect for a chilly October evening project.
Wonderland: One of our favorite yarns makes a fresh new appearance with stripes of pink purple, and blue. There's a limited amount of this so check it out before it's too late!
Superwash Merino: Six soft shades of 2-ply Worsted Superwash Merino.