I spent yesterday playing around with Martha Stewart Crafts Knit and Weave Loom some more, still trying to figure out what I can do with this thing that would be truly amazing. I played around mostly with changing up the warp and seeing what that would do in terms of patterns for individual squares. (Now, Lion Brand does have a few patterns posted in this vein, but I find them totally confusing. I couldn’t make heads or tails of this one, like, at all. (Seriously, Lion Brand, it’s a website – would a few pictures kill you?) So I decided to just experiment on my own.)
I took pics of the piece on the loom and off the loom so that hopefully I can reconstruct my experiments… some day.
This was my first success, and I was pretty stoked. Stripes! So simple. So easy. So versatile. Here it is off the loom:
Then it was on to houndstooth, on the loom:
I’m not going to lie – this one was pure trial and error, with the giddy thrill of actually getting it right. I can’t say I had any idea what I was doing, but after trying different versions a bunch of times, it worked out. Here it is off the loom:
Ok, then just some basic playing around with mixing up stripes and that sort of thing:
I didn’t take a pic of the other version, because it’s obvious once you see the above image, but here are the two I wound up making that I liked, off the loom:
And then, feeling all cocky and good about myself, I tried this one, which basically looked like someone vomited all over my loom. LOOM FAIL:
Anyhoo, I decided that now would be a good time to try out different kinds of yarns and strings and see how they do on the loom, and I wound up with this:
Ok, LOVE. Here’s a closeup:
Seriously, I’m completely in love with this. I need some more string to play around with (my non-bulky options are rather limited right now), but this has great potential. I keep thinking a sheer skirt made out of this, worn over black leggings, would be awesome. It’s delicate, I don’t know how many wears you’d get out of it, but I’d like to find out.
So! After trying all that, I decided to turn to the internet for inspiration. Here’s where the day took a turn I had not expected.
Previously, I had done numerous Google image searches for terms that seemed to make sense: “Martha Stewart loom,” “Martha Stewart knit and weave,” “potholder loom,” etc. just trying to see what other people out there had made with it. The same three or four (relatively dull) “official” patterns (ie, those created by the company) came up, over and over and over. It was kind of hard for me to think that absolutely no one else out there was playing around with this thing and posting pictures. But truly, most of the love the kit seemed to be getting was for the knit side of things, with most reviewers treating the weaving part like a nice little thing to have just in case the weaving bug bit them, but it hadn’t yet.
Yesterday, I somehow finally managed to put in some sort of string of words into Google images that started kicking back to me pictures that caught my eye. I followed a link and then another, and then suddenly found myself sifting through pictures on Flickr that were exactly what I had been looking for all along. But… why are they all tagged “weavette”? WTF is a weavette? So I plugged “weavette” into a search engine and started clicking through pages.
It’s around this time that my brain totally exploded.
So, ok: pre-discovery-of-the-term-weavette, I thought that the genius of the Martha Stewart loom was that this company was taking a copyright-free child’s toy (aka, a potholder loom) and marketing it toward adult women. Pretty smart. And just because the patterns that came with it were super boring, it’s not like you were stuck doing what they told you.
Winds up, there’s a whole history of selling potholder (or, “modular” if you like) looms to adult women. It seems to go back to at least the 1930s, and has taken on several different forms. The Weavette is simply one brand name for one particular spin-off; there’s the Weave-It and the Loomette and other versions as well, along with tons of patterns and books that came out along with them (all of which have that nice yellow-y old school craft feel to them, but look like they could be very inspiring).
More than that, there’s a ton of women online making and posting things that they’re making on the Weavette, or the Weave-It, or on their homemade versions. It’s not nearly as popular as other yarn crafts, but there’s a lively group of really smart people trying interesting things. Two great examples are the stellar eLoomanation site (which even has amazing downloads of some of the aforementioned old school craft books – yow!!!!) and Girl on the Rocks.
Now, this is all terribly interesting and all, but it leads me to wonder: do the Martha Stewart loom kit people know about the Weavette people, and vice versa? Because it looks like there’s pros and cons to each, and a lot of cool stuff to come out if info was shared between the two.
Like for one, look at the edges of this piece created on one of the other looms. (Photo snagged from eLoomanation; click on it and you get to the page it’s on.)
The edges end in this pleasant scalloped formation, which is actually quite pretty. It’s made by working the weave all the way up to the very end of the row, and then removing the piece from the loom. This is totally different than the Martha Stewart way of doing things, where you’re instructed to leave a little space and then crochet the edge.
Ok, I know – a minor difference. But, the edge pictured above is prettier, easier, and less time consuming (seriously, you save about 20 minutes not crocheting it) than the edge you make if you follow the directions for the MS Loom. So boom, right there, I feel like I just leveled up and learned something really valuable.
Around this time, I started to get paranoid that some sort of Martha Stewart Goon Squad was going to be sent out to get me for having discovered this thing that clearly I wasn’t meant to discover. I couldn’t find anyone else online who knew about both the Weavette and the MS Loom. It was making me paranoid. And Martha Stewart’s band of snipers and assassins would, I assume, look like this:
But don’t shoot just yet, kitty. I have an idea.
The Weavette people and the MS people should be friends and hold hands and share ideas and sit around in a great big circle. The Weavette people have been up to this for years and have so many cool things to share. The Martha Stewart people are the uncool newbies, but here’s why you might want the newbie loom rather than the cool old-fashioned one: Because the MS loom is collapsible and can be reconfigured to all different sorts of dimensions and shapes, and also it’s widely available and you don’t have to wait for it to appear on ebay or whatever. But the collapsible part is the real seller: the thing totally comes apart and then snaps together very strongly and it makes it really easy to store and also to set up and work on. Awesome for people in apartments or otherwise with very limited space.
Although I admit that the Weavette, et al, looms are retro and really cool and you get all kinds of awesome craft-nerd points if you’re seen toting one around. Also, it looks like the Weavette has its pegs grouped together in threes, which leads to some interesting patterns I’m not sure you can get on the MS Loom.
No, kitty, no!!!!