Friday, December 17, 2010

DIY 7' Triangle Loom or TriLoom, for short

First off, let me point you to the site where it all began as you may have already seen because everyone uses this site when they build a loom. It's

There's a reason these babies are quite a pretty penny, and it isn't because of the cost of materials. The amount of time it takes to drill and hammer in all 486 nails can be daunting. If you have a laid back nature or too poor to shell out $250 for a fancy one, then this project is for you. My loom is 7 feet at the widest point, which makes my shawls slightly smaller depending on shrinkage.

DIY TriLoom:

Now, down to business. Head over to your local Home Improvement store (Home Depot for me) and gather your supplies.

2 pcs - 8 feet 2x1" Pine (or Oak if you can afford it)
1 box - 1 lb - 1 1/4 " Trim Nails (I choose the ones with heads to help keep the yarn stable)
3 - 3" screws 
Wood Glue

1- Measuring Tape / Ruler
1 - Drill with matching drill bit size to nails and screws
1 - right angle
pencil for marking

Here's the nails I used just in case:

I think it helps to lay it all out, so you can see what you're working on and how it'll come together in the end. You can get an idea of the angles you'll be cutting to give it it's triangular shape. This takes up a lot of room. You''l need to clear plenty of space to be able to work around it. Oh, to have a woodworking shop!


 I measured and cut the first wood piece down to 84" (7 feet) long with square 90 degree ends. Remember to measure twice and cut once to get it right. This is the base for all the rest of the angles and lengths, so make sure you get this right.

Luckily, I have a laser guided saw that helps me know exactly where to cut. It's particularly helpful when I'm cutting the 45 degree angles though this picture shows the 90 degree cut.

You can line up the V portion of the triangle now, which creates the 90 degree angle. See how I have the wood butting up to each other? Less cutting = less mistakes and less time wasted. I'm not a master wood carver, and one less thing to do is nice.

 When you lay the pieces on top of the 7 foot length, you can see the angle on which your next cut will be. This is one of the two 45 degree cuts that will sit on top of the 7 foot section. You'll notice that you'll have one side slightly longer than the other with both having a 45 degree angle cut one one end and 90 degree on the other. 

 Ah, all cut down and ready to be assembled. Now, it's time to drill. You're going to want to drill starter holes through the ends making sure to go through both pieces of wood. This is why you need the long screws. I nailed, glued, and screwed them together to make sure they never come apart. Don't skip the drilling because this keeps the wood from splitting. You wouldn't want to run to the store to get more would you?

You can see here how the pieces meet on the long end.  See how nice and even they are? You wouldn't want any extra places for yarn to snag, so keeping your cuts clean is important. If you don't, you may have to come back later and sand sections down because they keep snagging your yarn while you're weaving.

 Now, for the nails. This is the most time consuming part, so be prepared to spend hours on this. Mark out the center top nail and working your way down the short sides, spacing them 1/4" apart, mark 164 places to drill starter holes. I place mine about 1/2" from the edge of the wood. Once you reach the long side,  work across it spacing them ~1/2" apart, measuring straight down from the short side nail marks using the right angle.

You should have 486 holes total. 161 one each side and all sharing an extra corner nail. 161+161+161+3 corners=486 nails total. Next, pre-drill holes and hammer in all those little nails. I left them sticking out about 3/4" above the wood.

 A neat way to mark spacing is to leave every 10th nail slightly raised/lowered. This can help you when you're weaving and making patterns or if you want to know how many rows you have left to weave.

 Viola!! You've done it! Now, you can start weaving. I hanged my loom on the wall for easy weaving. Some weave with the long side up, some with it down. You're preference really. . . I prefer to weave up.

Here's the action shot of the weaving process. There are other site that give directions on the continuous weave process such as on Wayne's This and That or at By switching colors, you can create a nifty plaid effect.

 There's a nice video on YouTube by WeaverHazel that shows the complete process on a smaller loom, It also shows you how to make a square weaving (Afghan?) using a Triloom.

 Finishing the Edges:

 I found that the ends were very loosey, goosey after removing it from the loom, so I prefer to crochet the edges to tighten it up a little.

 Slip stitch across the edging.
You can see how the final crochet edge compares. The thicker the yarn, the less this will happen. With the spacing of this particular loom, bulky weight yarns work best.

It's been a real treat to have my own loom that I made. Just like when I spin a yarn then knit it, I have more pride in what I've done because it is mine form beginning to end. Plus, saving all that money for yarn doesn't hurt either! Don't forget to check out the multitude of resources on the web, in your library, and from your friends. 

If you like this or any other DIY tutorials, feel free to donate directly to me using the link below. I truly appreciate anything you can offer to keep me creating. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

4th Annual Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza

Sitting high atop Mt. Magazine in the cold breeze, I found myself awash with bliss and joy as I spun happy memories with my fiber friends.

That is how I would describe my weekend in one sentence. An absolute pleasurable 2 days away from the world, just to celebrate the fibers and all the ways we play with them. It all started for me on Wednesday. I had driven to meet my friends in Tulsa, so that we could make our way toward Arkansas together on Thursday. We shopped and talked all while crammed into a SUV stuffed to the gills with yarns, fibers, fleeces, and spinning wheels.

Don't believe me, here's my seat. .

We went out to eat at local restaurants and visited Stringtown in Ft Smith, AR that my friend Elizabeth owns. Her shop is amazing with everything you could possibly want when it comes to fiber. I petted many skeins before continuing onto our hotel. 

  At the Lodge, I happily found my spot and unloaded all my batts, yarns, and other sundry items. It's always a game to figure out how to set up my booth. I never seem to do the same thing twice. Mainly because the space I usually get is different each time. I abhor being confined to a 10x10 space with no elbow room as many fairs do. Not Arkansas though, all their booths were nicely set out with ample space to wander, admire, and sometimes gawk for a couple of minutes (Did you see that silk fiber that was as big as a blanket at Spinning Straw into Gold?!)

 It was the first year that they had opened up vending on Friday night, and while it was fatiguing to drive in and set up before 6, the evening was delightfully busy. The atmosphere was calm, yet enthused. I had the best time chatting with everyone, long-time festival attendees and new alike. There was something around every corner: square knitting needles to try out, spinning wheels to test drive, yarns to molest, and fibers you could dig up to your elbows in. It was a dream!

Saturday quickly started early in the day and didn't calm down a bit. It was never overly crowded, and I always had someone to talk to. At one point, I took a break to wander the halls to find knitters, spinners, crocheters lining the halls and camped out in every available chair both inside and out. How can you not smile when your surrounded with such a stunning view?

I could go on and on about how wonderful this festival is, but as you may have heard already, experiencing is so, so much better. I plan to attend next year as it travels to Hot Springs, AR with more goodies. I hope to see you all in 2011!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Indie Emporium 2010 in Review

I started the day taking the usual roads to Tulsa, but before I turned onto the Turnpike I realized the good ole' Route 66 was crossing my path as well. When I was younger and couldn't afford the toll, I use to drive Route 66 up to Tulsa for my Winter Guard rehearsals. Since I was in no hurry, I decided to take the scenic way this time as well. Sure enough, I spotted along the way stacked bails of hay made up to look like scarecrows, stretches of hills, and small towns full of Oklahoma charm.

Upon arriving at my friend, Kate of Lowder Colours Farms home, who is the proud owner of a stunning flock of sheep that greeted me with curious stares, she gave me the tour of all the varieties from Wensleydales and Teeswaters to Bonds and Angora goats. She owns the largest herd of fiber sheep in Oklahoma and has some of the best fleeces I've seen. I've been studying different fiber breeds in my free time, but seeing them in person is so much more refreshing. Nothing beats experiences rather than pages and photos in a book. I can pretty much now tell the difference between the actual animals on sight, though I'm going to need many more trips to "learn" all the differences between them. Maybe a trip during shearing? Hmm. . .

There was this one big guy as you can see that actually shuffled over to poke his nose through the fence to say hi. He was the only one that was slightly interested in what we were doing walking around, so I simply had to give him some scratches. He wasn't the biggest in the herd and Kate told me how she had to be careful with some of them because the sheep would actually climb the fence. Now, can you imagine that? A big ram climbing over the fence to get to his girls. I can! If I hit just the right spot, he even wagged his tail like a dog.

After having all the fun playing with the sheep, we loaded her SUV and headed over to Tulsa. It was actually a blessing we stuffed in all of her fiber and yarn with mine. Bridgette, of Farmgirl Fibers, had brought one extra tote over to add, but it absolutely wouldn't squeeze in. Fibers are light but very fluffy, and with the baskets and tables, there wasn't an inch left.

Kate and I were some of the first to arrive, and luckily were set sort of across from each other. They had a 10' by 10' booth for the four of them, and I had reserved just the 8' table space.

The place was full of all sorts of crafters from jewelers, seamstresses, and painters of every fashion. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the different ways that they approached their crafts. Everyone had their own style that set them apart.

The line started forming about an hour and a half before opening because everyone wanted to get their hands on the swag bags. To tell you the truth, I would have as well after seeing all the wonderful samples, discounts, and treats that went into them!

The evening was very pleasant with the turned down lights and calm atmosphere. That actually hindered my table a bit because one of the things that draws people in is the amount of color and texture I have. I sat and spun while entertaining the kiddos with how the wheel works. There was one child in an umbrella stroller that was upset about being belted in, but when she saw the wheel spinning, she immediately was mesmerized. I should charge a fee for calming small children! LOL!

Near the end, when we all were getting tired, there was funny gentleman down two table from be breaking out some music and dancing in the aisles. Though I didn't join in the revelry, it gave me a smile and made the night a memorable one. My friend Jane of Angora Jane's was taken aback by his two stepping, being the cowgirl that she is, and had to show him how it was done. As soon as I realized that she was dancing, I whipped out my phone for a video, but just caught them as they finished. Oh well, I still have the memory.

The second day, the lights were back on. Kate and I had arrived early and parked in the premium parking spots outside the unloading doors. I believe we deserved it for having to wait to get in. : ) I rearranged the table a bit to allow me to sit in front of it. It's very hard to see through mounds of yarn and fiber. It was much more pleasant to be out there to talk to people rather than separated by the table. I'd rather talk face to face, not face to yarn to face myself.

The crowd was different that day, but no less ecstatic to be there. I had many conversations with new knitters and spinners. I even gave a demo on spinning. Much to my chagrin, I did not anticipate having to talk into a hand held microphone while spinning. Spinning does take two hands and somehow adding in the microphone on top did not work in my favor. At one point I had taken the brake band off my wheel to unwrap a yarn that had twisted around the flyer. Well, I forgot to put it back on and the flyer literally went flying off my wheel! Safe to say, I was a bit embarrassed. Great way to make an impression! Some of those who did listen thanked me afterwards, but I felt horrible about the way it went. Next time, I swear, I'm just going to sit down at the wheel, plant the microphone stand next to me and spin for 10 minutes. Forget showing off the drop spindle and fibers!

At the end of the day, I had the joy of being superwoman breaking down and packing the car to drive back the 2 hours home to take the kiddos Halloween Trick-or-Treating. Well, I at least tried to get back home to do so. Let's just say I busted butt to get home as they dumped their haul on the floor. My 6 year old son thankfully gave me a peanut butter cup and invited me to help sort the candy with him. It really was the perfect ending to the day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Indie Emporium 2010 in Tulsa, OK

As some of you may have seen, Dawning Dreams will be out in Tulsa, OK for Indie Emporium on October 29 & 30th. I will also demonstrate spinning yarns at 2 pm on Saturday in my demo called "Get Tangled in Handspun Yarns".

It plans to be a lot of fun with lots of unique vendors and activities. Stop on in and hang out for a while.

Event Highlights:
  • 40 Indie Craft/Artist Booths
  • Art Gallery area featuring two and three dimensional works by 10 selected artists
  • Fashion show, featuring 6-8 local apparel designers as the highlight event Saturday evening
  • Free tote bag of goodies given to the first 50 guests Friday night
  • Food booth run by local caterer of organic and natural foods
  • Live music and on stage craft demos throughout the show
  • “Make and Take” projects hosted by sponsors
  • Contests and activities
  • Event Listed in Urban Tulsa’s “Hot 100” list for 2007 & 2008
  • Attendance of 1000+ guests
  • Silent Auction with all proceeds benefitting the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
  • Canned Food drive raised 633 lbs of canned goods in 2009
  • Charity booth spaces donated to Breast Impressions of Tulsa and The Tulsa Women’s Collective
  • 2009 Press included Tulsa World (print), Urban Tulsa(print), Good Day Tulsa (television), Fox 23 News (television), Craft Magazine Blog, and others
  • Pre-Party for Vendors/Artists/Designers/Volunteers/Friends of Indie Emporium featuring local music

Friday, October 8, 2010

Phat Phamily Reunion 2010

This past weekend, I made the whirlwind trip to visit my online fiber friends in Southern Illinois. We all have known eachother for sometime online talking through fiber forums on Ravelry and Yahoo. Never have I been with a group of people so uplifting and inspiring that I feel completely refreshed, even after 20 hours of driving in one weekend. We talked, spun, dined and generally just enjoyed the company. Check out the photos for yourself!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

DawningDreams at Clarita Amish Auction 2010

Dawning Dreams FiberArts Booth

I want to say I really enjoyed this fair, but I really didn't. It was blistering hot first of all. We were there very early in the morning to open the tent up. By mid-morning, it was hot enough to seek shade. Then, many people would walk by announcing how difficult it must be for me. (I was usually either warping my loom or spinning.) I simply replied that everyone has something they enjoy that takes time and it wasn't work when I enjoyed it. I did speak to three really fun and interesting individuals about yarn and spinning and such.

Dawning Dreams FiberArts Booth

Hardly anyone stopped in to visit. When I finally walked around for a little, I found most of the other vendors there to be selling retail wot-not (like imported bed sheets, t-shirts, and garage sale stuff). It was definitely not welcoming to handmade items since everyone was looking for "a deal", and being handmade, I do not give that kind of deal.

Dawning Dreams FiberArts Booth

One couple was very sweet though. They really were the bright spot in my day. They told me they had saved my booth for last because they thought it was the best looking, and had the most fantastic handmade items. It gave me a boost in the middle of the day.

So if you want to go to this, be prepared for wonderful food, great auctioning, and garage sale finds. I'll probably just go next year to see if I can find goodies, but not to vend. Live and learn. . .

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DIY Raddle for Weaving Loom


Raddle - An instrument consisting of a wooden bar, with a row of upright pegs set in it, used by domestic weavers to keep the warp of a proper width, and prevent tangling when it is wound upon the beam of the loom. [1913 Webster]

After warping my loom for the first time, I realized quickly that a raddle would be a very helpful tool. Unfortunately, I neither have the funds, nor the desire to purchase a $50 plus S/H raddle, when I can make my own.

The loom I have is an Ashford 32" 8 Shaft Table Loom. It's a beauty and a dream to work on (once I got it warped). The legth measurements I give or for my particular loom. To make it fit yours, simply measure the width and cut accordingly.

1 1/2 inch Pine/Oak cut down to width of loom (34 1/2" for my Ashford)
3/4 Inch Dowel for Legs cut down to 2 1/4 length (optional)
Lots of 2" nails
Measuring Tape


1. Measure the space you would like your raddle to sit and cut. For my loom, it was 34 1/2".

2. Marking the center of the loom, place two parallel lines on either side. This is where you hammer in the nails. I use two lines to keep the close nails from splitting the wood.

3. On one line, make a 1/2 inch marks from the center out. On the other line, stagger the marks, and mark 1/2 inch again across the wood. This will give 1/4 inch gaps between front and back nails.

4. Now with your nail placement marked, start hammering in all those nails. I'm not very picky, so my nails aren't perfectly straight. It will still work. (Optional) I used different color nails to mark the center and every 4 inches out.

5. (Optional) Since I needed mine to see up higher to keep the warp from stretching over the top, and making it uneven, I added in 2 1/4" dowel legs on either side.

6. Finally finished! I put the raddle on my loom and I'm ready to go.

It know it's not pretty, but it works great. When I'm actually ready to use it, I tie it down using a couple of pieces of scrap yarn to keep it from moving.

Another method I've seen it to drill holes down the wood and set in wooden pegs. I didn't want to buy more than I needed to or waste time drilling all those holes. It can look prettier though, so it's your choice. I hope this helps one of you out there to make your own!

If you like this or any other DIY tutorials, feel free to donate directly to me using the link below. I truly appreciate anything you can offer to keep me creating. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

5th Annual Fiber Christmas in July

Once again, I had the pleasure to attend Fiber Christmas in Kellyville, OK on July 30-31. I had a glorious time getting to hug all my fellow fiber artist that I hadn't seen recently, and to peruse their wares. This year was not disappointing at all!

There were fleeces, roving (both commercial and handdyed), yarns, spinning wheels of every major make and model. I even got to try a few like Spinolution's Hopper that you pedal with you heels inside of feet. It was really neat!

The positive environment was very geared towards learning and and sharing from one another. I had the pleasure to teach drop spinning to several attendees that picked it up amazingly quick. I have now saved up enough to purchase a new Ashford 8 shaft Table Loom! I thought I would never be able to afford one, but I've seriously saved up and with the help of my family, it will be delivered next week. So exciting!!

So if you haven't attended a Fiber Fair, and you play with yarn in one of it's glorious forms, you have to attend one and see just what your missing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Review: "In Sheep's Clothing" by Nola and Jane Fournier

Now, this will be a break from my normal blogging in the respect that I rarely give my opinion on a book or tool. But I just had to share this book. I had been lusting over it for a while after seeing it on multiple occasions at fiber festivals throughout the state. Ever looking to learn, I finally picked this up on Amazon to study, and I am so glad I did!

I don't own sheep, nor do I live in a part of the country where sheep are raised for their wool. So, I find it difficult to compare the fleeces of animals. Rabbits, I have, sheep. . . no. The beauty of this book not only lies in the thorough knowledge of sheep, but actual photographs of the different breeds locks including characteristics and applications for their wool. For example, it'll tell you that this breed's wool is good to spin worsted style and knit for rugs.

After all this, it goes into preparing wools. Yes, you can YouTube many techniques, but sometimes a book that explains the "why" is what I'm looking for. Why do you hand card rather than drum card? Unlike other online sources, books must be edited to make sure that the information is accurate. It's not about an opinion as much as fact. Don't get me wrong, there are books based on opinion, but this is more like an encyclopedia.

Have I confused you yet? : ) Well, if you are a spinster like me, and really want a great book that will give you the in depth answers you seek, you must check this book out. It's a keeper!