Saturday, June 30, 2007

Weaving & Unravelling Old Sweaters

I haven't posted in FOREVER, because I've been busy doing knitting projects, and learning to weave, and buying sweaters at thrift stores to unravel for the yarn.

I've started a HUGE project in the Knitting Help Forum, where we are making blankets for charity. Each of us knits a portion of the blanket, then mails it to the next person so they can continue knitting with the same needles. We always include gifts for them also, just because it's fun to do!

Right now, we have 5 blankets in progress, as well as 6 shawls!
There are almost 100 knitters involved in the projects! COOL!!!

Learning to weave has been an interesting challenge. I've been thinking about weaving for the past two years, but didn't think I would be able to afford to do it. The nice looms are so expensive! I've been watching some auctions on eBay, hoping to one day get a floor loom, but no luck so far. I did get a table loom, though! Not a fancy new one, but it still works!

It's a Spears Weaving Loom, Size 4, which will weave items up to 16 inches across. I won the auction, and was able to purchase it for less than 40 dollars, with the shipping included.
Spears Weaving Loom

It was easy for my hubby to put together for me, but the actual weaving has been quite a challenge.
Loom Set Up

I've been trying to decifer the instruction booklet, and looking at websites for the past two weeks. I've also been reading a book I won on eBay a while ago. It has LOTS of great information. I'm so glad I got it.
New Binding on Weaving Book

I've decided to try making a simple cloth, using some cheap cotton yarn I've had in my stash for a while. (Aunt Lydia's Crochet Cotton)

To start off, I had to cut 84 warping threads. They are each 87 inches long. THAT took a while!
Warping Threads Cut

Next, I put all the threads on the loom, according to the directions in the book.
Threads on Loom FINALLY

Threads on Loom

Threads on Loom Loose Ends

Then, I realized that in order to wind up the threads on the top bar, I would have to unhook the threads from the bottom bar! (Oops!)
Winding Top Bar

Finally, I had the warp threads all put on the loom, and tightened up.
All Wound Up

All the work I had done so far took quite a while. It was time consuming, because I didn't really know what I was doing yet. So far, I had spent about 4 days trying different things.

Today, I finally tried the actual weaving of the cross threads (the "weft"). It's not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But, HEY! I'm still learning!
Learning to Weave - Not Perfect

Learning to Weave - Twisted Threads
Originally, I was going to use this cloth as a bath mat, but now I can see that it will be too thin and open for that. So, I'll probably use it as a kitchen towel. I will probably have to sew the edges to make it look right.

It's fun to learn to weave! :)

In other news, I was lucky enough to find an AMAZING deal at the Goodwill Thrift Store the other day. A 100% Cashmere sweater!!!! OMG!!!!
Ann Taylor Cashmere Sweater

I also got some other great deals, but this cashmere sweater just blew my mind! My knees went weak when I read the label inside the sweater!
Ann Taylor Label

Now, I'm unravelling the sweater to get the cashmere yarn.
I wonder how many ounces there are?
Unravelling Cashmere Sweater


Susan said...

Wow--you're as ambitious as you are talented! I've enjoyed reading some of your posts.

This is a very long shot, I know, but is it possible you still have the bobbin case from your old Kenmore 12493? And if so, would you consider selling it to me? I want to teach my granddaughter to sew on that machine, but we can't find the bobbin case. Sears wants $18 to sell me one! The machine hasn't had much use over the years, so it should be in good shape . . . I hope.


unkoine said...

Thanks for the compliment!

About the Kenmore machine, I gave it to my mother. She says it works well enough for her, so she's keeping it. Go figure.

Good luck with getting your bobbin case!

Jason said...

Hello Sandy,

My girlfriend just bought a "Spear's Weaving Loom Size 4", just like you did. But she has no manual :(

I was wondering if it could be possible to get a copy of that precious manual. She would be so happy. I'm looking all over the internet but have not found yet. If you can, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanks in advance.


unkoine said...

Jason, I tried to look up your profile, so I could contact you, but it is unavailable.

Dani in NC said...

Wow, I haven't thought much about trying my hand at weaving, but your post has intrigued me. I'm sure my husband will appreciate me starting yet another hobby!

unkoine said...

Glad I could help, Dani! Ha!

prplscot said...

Your pictures are impressive! Thanks.

I too bought a Spears loom with no directions and have no clue about how to even start. Would you please contact me about how to get the directions. Thanks.

That is a great idea about buying sweaters for their wool. I had bought skirts for the material but did not take the idea any further. Duh!

Shandeh said...

Thank you! I need to get that loom back out and finish the darn thing! (tee-hee)

I'll be happy to send you a copy of the instructions if you send me your mailing address. (My scanner is too small to copy the entire thing to a document.)

Anonymous said...

I am very excited to find this post, as I have just gotten a Spear's size 4 loom...for free!

But it seems to be missing the little metal reed holders that screw into the side bars, and the last owner evidently made their own out of scrap wood. But I'm unclear on how you would then move the reed into its up or down position, because the holder seems to only have one spot for the reed to sit. I hope that makes sense!

In any case, my loom does not have the instructions. Can I purchase a copy from you? Thanks!

Shandeh said...

Hi anthromama!

There is only the one spot there to place the reed. You have to lift and lower the reed manually, while passing the shuttle through with the other hand. It's not made for convenience, that's for sure.

I'll be glad to mail you a copy of the instructions. Just send me your mailing address, and it will be on its way to you.

Anonymous said...

I would love to have a copy of the directions for the Spears Loom. Please send me your email address so I may send you my snail mail address. Thanks so much.


Anonymous said...

I never knew or thought of unraveling old sweaters to get the yarn. I'm going to have to try it and see how it works. Are there any tricks or secrets that you can share of how to do this
? What a great way to go "GREEN". Thanks for the idea!


Shandeh said...

Thanks Tom! I looked online, and found a tutorial on how to unravel sweaters. It's what I used as a guide. Now, there are several online guides.

Here's one:

And another one:

Anonymous said...

I found a Spear's Weaving Loom, Size 3, but it has no instruction booklet! Is there a chance you might make a photocopy of yours and send it to me? I'd be glad to pay costs. Let me

thanks--and a lovely piece of work you've managed with it!

Twilight said...

I got a Spear's Weaving Loom in a size 4 like yours as an early birthday present.

Unfortunately I don't have the manual. Like some posters above me I'm curious if I could get a copy of your instruction manual. I'd be more than happy to pay for postage.

If that's possible please email me at

Thank you,

hira said...

i have the same loom im from pakistan and a textile designer
my mom got this loom from a garage sale in the usa when i was six yr old in 1990 i think she never knew id be into textiles lol i came accros ur blog while searching online for this loom

miukat said...

Funny, I have the same loom! Today I decided to try it out. I thought I might be the only one who had one! Glad to see I'm not alone :D

nanasgals said...

Hi Sandy,
I bought this Weaving Loom quite a few yrs ago for my grand daughter only, I didn't know I didn't have the dirction booklet. I have a Spears's Size 3,.
If you would be so kind to sell me a copy of what you have for it I could send you payment through Paypal, for the Copy and the Postage. I can pretty Much Figure out anything just by seeing Pics of instrutions; better then reading them. I just can figure what the heck to do with then beginning of the threads and the ends of whatever she will
Thanks Linda

Shandeh said...

Hi Linda! No payment necessary. I have posted the Spears Weaving Loom instructions on my photo account. You can see them there.

Shandeh said...

If that last link didn't work, go to my photo page here:
Then search for "Spears".

Good luck!

Ginny said...

I'm thinking of purchasing one of the size 4 looms and was wondering if the holes were big enough to weave chenille yarn on--the small type. Thanks

Shandeh said...

Hi Ginny,

I'm not sure. The only way to find out is to give it a try. I'm thinking it will not work, because those holes are small.

mellie46 said...

totally confused, have the size 3 loom but cant understand how you rollup the fabric as it is woven it hte warp threads are fixed at the other end

Shandeh said...

mellie, you have to loosen the screw on each side a little bit to roll the fabric up. Then, tighten them again to start weaving more. This is not a professional loom. It was made as a toy, to teach the basics of weaving.

Anonymous said...

I've just started using my mother's old spears loom. She was a big weaver in the seventies so she knows how to set it up to begin the weaving process. However we've run into a big problem with the heddle. It is not separating the warp! It's very frustrating. It seems as though the warp keeps getting stuck on the eyelets. The heddle is a metal one, rather than plastic. Any suggestions on how I could fix this problem!? Thanks in advance for any advice.