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Sage and Tassel Weaving MakeBox

This MakeBox is actually from April, but there was a bit of a delay in sending it out as the MakeBox team took the precaution of closing their studio for the first few weeks of the lockdown, so I’ve only just got round to completing it. I really love weaving and although I liked this project overall and am happy with the finished product, I have to say that I did have a few problems with this box.

Included in the box was:

  • Wooden loom and accessories
  • Warp thread
  • Wooden dowelling
  • 3 balls of double knit wool
  • 1 ball of chunky wool
  • Length of roving
  • Large needle
  • Postcard to embroider

There were actually three projects included in this box; the weaving, woven bracelets, and the postcard to embroider. I began with the weaving and started off by stringing the loom. I have done this before so I was pretty confident about it, but previously I’ve only ever used normal household string. This kit came with a nylon string, which I found really difficult to use. Due to the slippery nature of it I found that the knots I made to anchor it kept coming undone. Once I had rectified this as best as I could I then started to string the loom. However I could not get the string as tight as I would have liked because it kept getting tangled. I laid the bundle of string down really carefully to try and avoid knots, but as soon as I pulled a length out of it it just became one giant knot. Every time I had to sit and unpick it I lost all the tension in my loom and had to start again, which was really frustrating. Eventually I got it strung to my satisfaction and could continue with the weaving.

The first step was to create two layers of tassels at the bottom. I love tassels and they appear all the way up the weaving giving it lots of texture. My tassels ended up a lot shorter than the picture. The instructions said to measure the yarn from fingertip to elbow, so maybe I just have much shorter arms than other people! Once the tassels were done then the weaving could begin. I felt really confident about doing this and the instructions were really easy to follow, telling you how many rows to do in which colour. I had a go at using the warp separator which pushes alternate strings up or down making it easier to slide the shuttle through, but I found that I was spending more time making sure the warp was in the correct slot than I was weaving so I abandoned that and just pushed the shuttle through without it, making sure to weave in and out of the warp. 

I had a bit of trouble with the roving, which is the thick fleecy length of wool. I didn’t feel it was that clear in the instructions that you had to separate it into several lengths so that you had some thinner pieces to use near the top. Creating the puffy row at the bottom took a bit of patience to make sure you didn’t end up with any flat bits, but it was definitely worth spending the time on to make sure it looked good in the end. The length of roving I had been provided with was only just long enough for me to achieve this look and I did have a couple of frustrating moments trying to get it to sit right!

After weaving the majority of the piece I was quite near the top when I noticed the instructions didn’t match the picture. After a section in the cream wool it said to move straight on to the pink, However I noticed that there was a large section of the chunky green, which had been totally missed out of the instructions in between the cream and the pink. I’m sure it wouldn’t matter if it got missed out, the overall weaving would just be shorter, but as I’d noticed it I counted the rows in the picture and added it in.

Lastly it was time to neaten it up. First I trimmed all the tassels. Some of them were trimmed at a diagonal to add more interest to the piece. Next came removing it from the loom. The instructions said to lift it off gently, all at once and then to tie the warp threads off in pairs to secure the weaving. I wish that I had just lifted and tied off one pair at a time as I found that when I lifted it all off my last section of weaving started to become really loose and I really struggled to keep it neat and in line. It was such a shame after all the work I put in to the rest of the weave as the top of my weaving is now quite wonky and doesn’t sit flat. After removing it from the loom you had to use the large needle to sew the loose ends into the back of the piece and finally attach the dowelling to hang it from. 

The second project was a woven bracelet. I absolutely loved this project! It was just like the friendship bracelets I used to make when I was younger and it’s made me want to make some more. I used to be able to do all kinds of designs, not just stripes! The instructions said to cut six strands and then double them over, but looking at the pictures I think it meant cut three strands and then double them over to create six, although you could do it with more to create a wider bracelet.

The last project included was the postcard. You had to perforate the card using the large needle and then sew through the holes to create the woven effect. 

Although I did have some problems along the way, the finished pieces are all great and I had loads of fun making my bracelet. The weaving itself just wasn’t quite as relaxing as I was expecting it to be! Looking forward to a less stressful project in the May box! 

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