Let me introduce you to my newest tool: a tablet/inkle loom.

Now, you might think that a new loom is the last thing that I really need, since I’ve had so little time to spend crafting lately. And you’d be right.

But, as always happens with crafting, one thing leads to another, and last week I broke down and bought a tablet loom.

It all started last summer, when I bought a phone too big to fit in the pocket of any clothes I own:

I needed a way to carry it around, and so whipped up a quilted phone purse to fit (I don’t know if it’s possible to buy a simple phone purse in the appropriate size now, but it wasn’t last summer when I last looked).

Well. After less than a year of use, it looks like this:

The fabric hasn’t held up at all, and quite frankly, it’s looking pretty ratty. Clearly, I need another phone purse.

It occurred to me that weaving might be a better way to tackle this particular problem, since it’s easy to weave a 4″ strip of fabric, and it will be a heavier material that will stand up better to wear. So, I set about thinking up a woven design. But I didn’t really want to weave the strap on my regular loom. I started thinking about weaving bands, which I’ve never really explored before. This is where I got myself into trouble.

After a couple of Youtube videos, I could suddenly begin to see the advantages of inkle and tablet looms, where the warp threads are manually manipulated and so give you a lot more pattern flexibility than the 4-shaft loom that I have here. (Of course, you can do manual manipulation on a shaft loom, too, but that’s really not what it’s optimized for. And, well…shiny new toy, and all that.) And so, bit by bit, I edged closer to trying out a new weaving technique.

I read some blogs. I watched a bunch of videos. I bought some books. And then, of course, I bought a loom.

Earlier this week, Branden made me some tablets on the laser cutter at the local hackerspace. Two old cereal boxes, and I have more tablets than I’ll need anytime soon.

I started weaving up a thin band, just to play a bit with the technique and see how it works.

I still need to find time to sit down and try some of the more complicated (i.e. exciting) designs, but it’s a start. The problem – and the beauty – of crafting is that every project has the potential to turn into another rabbit hole, destined to send you hurtling along paths you never knew existed or never intended to follow. It will be interesting to see where this one leads.

In other news, I have finally finished the body on Branden’s sweater, and just cast off at the hem last night. It is 29″ from shoulder to hem. Only two sleeves left to go!