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My mind has been much occupied with warmth and wool since Kerryn’s Beautifully Warm and Caren’s Knit, purl, knit, purl.

After 30 years working with cloth, I find myself increasingly drawn to wool in fibre form.  I thought some research was in order, so trotted off to the craft magazines section at the Wellington public library.  I was immediately drawn to the image of a rug made of little woollen squares.  The article described the rug as being the product of a “Weave-It” loom, a hand-held wooden frame with metal pins along each edge.  It also recalled the perfect comforting warmth provided by a such a rug – then ended by saying the looms are no longer made and nearly impossible to find in second hand stores.

I decided this was a wool fibre technique I had to try, so I turned to the internet to track down one of these looms.  On www.masez.com I found an image of the sort of rug I had read about in the library, and a picture of the “famous hand loom”.  So simple, frugal and functional, and last manufactured in the time before zip codes.  The more remote my chances of acquiring such a loom became, the more my longing increased.

image credit: http://www.masez.com

Then I found www.eloomanation.com, complete with .pdf files of 1936 pattern books for garments made from four inch squares.  The site was running a competition; the prize: an original Weave-it loom set, with both four inch and two inch frames (and a Hello Kitty tin!).

Given the quality of the weaving on the site, I thought my chance of winning this prize was slim.  Nothing for it but to trawl the shops.  By now I had heard of plastic versions, and had seen ones with wooden and metal pins.  I wasn’t entirely sure what to ask for.  Hooray for Goldings Handcrafts, stockists of a recreation of the Weave-it loom, from the Lacis Company. It is fairly primitive: a square of high density polystyrene, a vial of metal pins, and a card of graph paper.

The packaging also included a most appealing little pamphlet with instructions for a matinee jacket and a doll, which felt more achievable than a swagger coat…

Following the ‘walk before you run’ principle, I made a cushion cover!  I used two solid colours and one variegated in various combinations.  My edges are not as neat as the ones illustrated, so I rediscovered the joys of the crochet hook as a means of firming things up.

And that crochet hook led me to thinking about vintage crochet patterns (having made a truly horrible scarf and a slightly misshapen beanie in the first flush of excitement).  These are not as common as the knitting patterns so wittily celebrated by Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins at the Hanging by a Thread symposium (see Fran’s summary here), but equally fabulous.

Once I have woven enough four inch squares for a coat, I am threatening to crochet this suit.

June 2017
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