Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weaving a bag on the Ashford Knitters Loom

I was browsing Terri's blog at Saori Salt Spring and saw an amazing bag that she wove. I was so inspired. I love origami textile constructions.

So I immediately wound a warp 95 inches long, on the Ashford knitters loom -- 8 inches wide using the 10 dpi reed and Joybilee Farm Shepherd's Joy Yarn and wove a long strip.

I chose one skein of yarn space dyed with natural indigo, and several thrum balls dyed with indigo and walnuts, and a lighter indigo. I tried free form weaving to create interest and added indigo dyed kid mohair locks for extra joy. I had fun.

I fulled the strip in the washing machine until the fabric was stable as per Laura Fry's workshop instructions (Magic in the Water 1). Stable means you can't poke your finger between the threads. It was about 15 minutes in the washing machine on hot.

Wow! I love this fabric -- from my own angora goat kids and lamb's. Its soft with amazing drape, yet sturdy.

My strip was too short -- I forgot to take into account the loss of length (15% due to weaving and fulling) The final strip should be 90 inches long and 7 inches wide. Mine was only 80 inches long, but I still have a bag at the end of the weekend. And I really like it.

I also dyed a silk scarf with woad indigo and used half of it to line the bag. I'm planning a second try on the Nilus floor loom with a longer warp, for a longer strap and a deeper bag. I could warp the knitters loom from a warping board to get a longer warp on it, too.

And I've decided that I love this yarn of ours. Sarah and Robin have both used the Joybilee Farm Shepherd's Joy yarn for weaving scarfs but this is my first time weaving with it. And I love it. It is fine enough for a medium weight fabric. Incredibly soft but not too warm. I'm hooked for more weaving with this yarn.

I've wound a 10 yard warp of it for a twill weave blanket on the Mira floor loom -- 45 inches wide. Hopefully there will be time in the next two weeks to get it on the loom. I'm looking forward to weaving more intensely over the next month. The studio is closing on Friday and then I can mess it up with some serious work.


  1. This is really beautiful!
    I am considering buying an Ashford knitters loom. You said you warped your loom 95". How long a piece can be made comfortably on this loom?

    Anything else you can tell me?



  2. Hi, Deb
    Thanks for your comment. You can warp up to 3 or 4 yards on the knitters loom, using a warping board to extend the length. The draw back on a long warp is the gap between the front roller and the "breast beam", which holds your finished cloth. This limits how much will roll on the front. With the 95 inches using sport weight yarn I still had room for more. It may have filled up if I had used a worsted weight yarn. Finer yarn will allow you to do a longer warp.

    In planning this bag, I should have added an additional 12 inches for loom take up. As well as about 10 inches for loom waste --So the total warp should have been 115 inches. That would have given me a bag with a shoulder strap. And the loom can hold that much on the front beam.

    I do really enjoy using the Ashford knitter's loom, as it is so easy to warp and I can weave in the living room rather than having to go to the studio, away from the family, to work. i have two floor looms and several table looms, too, so the choice of using the knitter's loom is not for lack of other options.


  3. I would love a tutorial on how to warp the loom. Cannot find anything out there but so want to use my new to me loom!

  4. Hi, Amy
    come on over to the my new blog at
    and I'll try to set up a tutorial for warping the knitters loom. Its a really fun process and I need to get my knitters loom warped for Christmas gifts soon.

    Great idea. Thanks for your comment.
    Joybilee Farm