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My new obsession

I recently took the plunge into knitting, more specifically, machine knitting. I can crochet like a fiend and I even designed my own pattern, The Marengo Beanie, but I have never mastered knitting beyond the rudimentary basics. I crochet things for my Etsy shop, primarily beanies, but crocheting is not a fast process, so I decided to try out a circular knitting machine in hopes it would up my production. I started with an inexpensive 48 needle Sentro, this way if I didn’t take to it, I’m only out about $60 bucks. The machine that everybody loves is the Addi, but it runs about $300. There was a bit of a learning curve and I have to admit I was initially frustrated, but after watching many YouTube videos and reading tips from an FB group, it finally clicked and I was hooked. The trick about this machines which can be fussy is to find the right yarn and using the right tension. Here are some of the beanies I made.

Once I got the hang of the Sentro, I had to try the Addi to see what all the fuss was about. There are 3 sizes: King Size 46 needle, Express 22 needle and the Addi Egg for iCord making.

Of course, I bought all three, lol! I started with the large machine first. I had to figure out which yarn and which tension works best since it was slightly different from the Sentro. It doesn’t have a tensioning device like the Sentro, so I purchased one from a maker on Etsy. I also like the row counter on the Sentro better, but other than that it produces a pretty nice hat.

Next, I tried the Express. I first tried making fingerless gloves. Challenging, and I am still working things out. I then tried making my hemp bath products which I normally crochet. Working with hemp is challenging. Lots of dropped stitches, but still faster than hand crocheting. I have to say I am quite pleased with how things came out and I am now working on making stock for the shop.

Going further down the rabbit hole, I’ve decided to buy the Sentro 40 needle (because I think it could be the right size for making wash cloths) and a flatbed knitting machine, both of which I am still waiting for.

Lastly (just for fun), I purchased a vintage toy knitting machine. It makes these really great tubes for which I have grand ideas. Guess that will have to wait for the next blog post. Hopefully, it will be sooner than my usual long delay.

Please note: I am still in the process of building my web shop, so if you don’t see what you’re looking for, please check my Etsy shop. Thank you.

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Introducing the Bauble Ornament Loom

I just designed a new loom for the 2020 holiday season. I know, too early to be thinking about Christmas, but if you are a maker, now is the time to get started. I think this is my favorite ornament loom yet. There are so many design options.

The kit is now available in my shop. It includes, the loom, warp, 2 needles, glue and instructions. You can buy just the loom or the kit which includes 3 looms.

Head over to my instagram page to enter the contest to win a loom sample. The contest will start on Sept. 23 and end on Sept. Happy weaving!

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The Butterfly Loom

The newest addition to the Casa Marengo Collection of looms is the butterfly loom. The loom measures approx. 5.5″ x 4.5″ and is cut from 1/8″ birch plywood. There are so many ways to use this loom:

  1. Weave a grouping for your wall
  2. Makes a great gift topper
  3. Add it to your macrame hanging
  4. Clip it to your curtain
  5. And, of course, it makes a great ornament for the holidays.

The first photo is my sample that I painted and wove in the colors of the Monarch Butterfly. This year the number of western monarch butterflies hit a historic low for the second year in a row. So even thought this isn’t their exact shape, I wove it in their colors to honor their beauty. Thankfully, there are several organizations committed to restoring their population.

Looms and loom kits are now available in my Etsy shop. Here are some of the other mini looms available in my shop.

OrnamentGroupshotHappy weaving!

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Warping the Mountain Loom

Here is a short video on how to warp the mountain loom. This is the same technique for most vertical warp looms. My previous post has a video on warping a circular loom. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions. Mountain looms and other unique looms are available in my Etsy shop.

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How to warp the circular heart loom

Here’s a short video showing how to warp the circular heart loom. A standard warp heart loom is also available in my shop.

Thanks to Kim (@sumiandme) for this tutorial. Here is a photo of her finished heart and a samples of hearts that I wove.


Happy weaving!

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Looms, looms and more looms

I’ve been really busy trying to get my line of looms off the ground. The holiday ornaments did well over the holidays. I’ve since added heart looms and will be launching a sun and moon and stars looms soon. It’s a whole lot more involved than I anticipated. It turns out that designing the looms was the easy part. Finding somebody to cut them at a reasonable price has proved challenging. I am actually contemplating  buying a unit, but it’s an expensive undertaking and I would need help since I already have a full plate.

In other news, I’ve been de-stashing may studio. I sold 6 of  my starter looms to make room for “a new to me” 24″ 4-harness Norwood loom. It is a sweet little loom and fits nicely in my already crowded studio.

I’m still spinning art yarn and as always, striving towards a zero waste studio. You can tell from my studio that I hate to throw things away. Recycling my yarn scraps into new yarn is one way of recycling and the yarn is pretty great, if I say so myself.

There’s lots more to post, crocheting, weaving, etc. but I’m itching to get back to spinning my new art yarn, so enough for now. Until next time happy making!

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Christmas in July

WHAT?!? I know, nobody is ready to think about Christmas yet, but if you want your product or gifts to be ready for the holidays, you have to start early. Starting in May, I began developing my idea for mini, single-use ornament looms and they are now ready!

Above and below are samples that I designed. You can totally make these your own heirloom ornaments to keep or give as gifts or you can give the kit to your crafty friends. Paint them or leave them raw, back them with felt, fabric paper, etc., embellish with sequins, beads, puffy paint, embroidery and/or crochet, drill a small hole(s) to hang beads, tassels, etc. Limitless possibilities, really. They are also a great way to use all those yarn scraps!!

Blue_Green_comboI have two kits available in my Etsy store:

Full set includes: 4 mini looms, tiny beater, warp string, 2 tapestry needles (straight and bent tip), felt backing and glue.

Basic kit

The individual set includes: 1 mini loom, tiny beater, warp string, 2 tapestry needles (straight and bent tip).

single set

I will also be releasing a larger version of the tree. Instead of a wreath, you can weave a unique decoration for your door.

Of course, as a pet lover, I had to work up some dog and cat ornaments. I will also be making larger versions of these that can be used as wall hangings to honor or memorialize a pet. You can even drill a small hole to hang their tag!!


Also, in the works are a butterfly, a monkey and a nursery set (sun, moon and stars). So much work to be done still, but I think you are really going to like these. Follow me in Instagram @casamarengostudio for updates and design ideas

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Weaving the L.A. River

River Weaving_sm

I was going to write Part 2 of my spinning adventures, but I really wanted to write about what I have been working on the last two weeks. Some very dear and long-time friends are designing a permanent installation of a Day of the Dead altar for the Natural History Museum and commissioned me to weave the LA. River as part of the piece. It was a great project, so of course, I said yes, then I found out the short deadline and the size. It needed to be 6-7 inches tall x 10 feet wide which ordinarily wouldn’t be a big deal, but in this case the waves need to go horizontally and I couldn’t use one of my regular looms. I decided to build a loom. I made it 12″ x 5 ft. figuring I could weave the piece in two sections and then splice them together. It was a little more work than I thought since first I had to measure 1/4″ marks on both sides and then hammer in 600 nails. Yes, 600 NAILS!!  Here’s a pic of me starting the piece on my homemade loom. Please ignore the mess in the background, there’s no time for housework when working on a project like this, lol!


I jumped right in and didn’t even take the time to make a sketch. It was design on the fly! Not the way I normally work, but time was short. The loom was a bit cumbersome, but worked great!

IMG_3217_panel 1

After many hours and late nights of weaving, the first panel was done. It was a great feeling and I was pretty pleased with how it came out, until I realized I needed to weave the other panel. I was pretty exhausted from running my graphic design business during the day and then weaving into the wee hours every night. But, I had to buck up and weave part two, which thankfully seemed to go a bit faster.


I finished it in time (whew!) and here is a pic of the piece just installed on their altar.

Of course, I now keep wondering if it would have been easier to weave it on my Saori loom using the comb reed. Best not to drive myself crazy and think about that too much, I guess. It was a challenging project and I am happy with the result and so were they. I also like knowing that I contributed to this representation of a tradition in my culture that will be part of a permanent installation in a museum.

Yes, I needed and deserved a long sleep after this.


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Spinning, Pt. 1: Art Yarn


It’s been spinning madness here at Casa Marengo Studio. I’ve had my Louet S17 spinning wheel for over a year and I have been limping along trying to learn to spin. A couple of months ago, I bought the Art yarn Flyer accessory and took an online core spinning class @HowToSpinYarn. Things finally clicked. So, I then took the plunge and bought a drum carder, so that I could make my own batts to spin.

It’s been a game changer. As a painter, I find mixing fiber on my carder like mixing paint for a painting or assembling elements for a collage. Here are some of the batts.

And, here are a few more of the yarns I have spun. The great news is that people have actually wanted to buy them, so I have started curating and spinning small batch art yarns for my Etsy store. They are especially great for weavers and other textile artists that want to add a pop of color or texture to a project.

Needless to say, I am having a ball and I am quite addicted. I also have been spinning using various hand spindles and recently bought an e spinner. More about those in my next post.




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Handwoven Necklaces

Once again, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted on my blog. There has been lots going on in the studio, but for today I am just going to focus on the necklaces I have been making.

Most of these are handwoven on either an inkle loom or small lap loom. I have been collaborating with a lovely ceramic artist, Ann Cutting who has made the medallions for the necklaces. These pieces are primarily woven with linen, hemp, silk and/or cotton. The red necklace has a polished slice of tagua nut as it’s focal piece.

Tagua is a natural, eco-friendly, and non-toxic material found in Ecuador and other South America countries. The nut’s texture and the color are known as vegetable ivory. Wouldn’t it be nice if this alternative ivory reduced the slaughter of elephants? When the nuts are harvested, they are very soft and they can be eaten as a fruit. As it matures it becomes hard like animal’s ivory.

Each piece is unique and I rarely make duplicates. If you are interested in any of my pieces, please visit my Etsy shop.