Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Making a Bola - Part 1

A bola is a fun fashion accessory you can make! It is a fluffy, feminine scarf - not a western tie that men wear, which is what I first thought! You can use a bola to dress up a sweater, dress, or jacket. And they are very warm. No knitting skills are involved - all you need to know how to do is weave. The picture below shows the first bola I made last fall. You can't tell here, but it has a little mistake in it. But don't worry - you won't make the same mistake because you will listen to instructions, unlike I did. ;-) After this bola, I went on to make many others sans mistakes :-) and gave them as gifts. But, I was thinking that I would like to have my own to wear this winter. One that I don't have to worry about constantly adjusting to hide my mistake. :-)

If you would like to make one, too, this is all you will need -

four skeins of fun fur
yarn in a matching color
5 straws
a paper clip
and tape

The straws need to be the "over sized" ones like for shakes and malts. You can find these at Whataburger, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc.

The fun fur can be purchased at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnnes or other sewing/crafting stores. Wal-Mart even has a small selection. Fun fur can range quite a bit in price. I've seen some brands as high as $6 or $7 dollars a skein! And, that would be a pricey little bola! The brand I'm using today is Moda-Dea from Hobby Lobby - originally priced at $1.99. After the third clearance mark down, it was only $0.42 a skein.

To make your bola, first cut 5 equal lengths of yarn (not fun fur) about 5 feet long. It doesn't have to be exact. Next, cut a 1 inch slice into one side of each straw. Thread one piece of yard through the paper clip. Drop the paper clip into the non-cut end of one straw. Tap the straw on the table to force the paper clip to drop to the other end of the straw. (You are threading the yarn through the straw using a paper clip "needle".) Once the yarn is through the straw, remove the paper clip and pull about 1 inch of yarn down through the part you cut out. Tape the yarn securely to the outside of the straw as shown here.

Do the same thing for the other four pieces of yarn and straws.

Line up the straws evenly and

tape them together securely near the bottom, leaving some space in between. (Part of my problem with my first bola is that I taped my straws too tight - give them a little breathing room. :-)

You have completed making the straw "loom" that you will weave the fun fur on. (The straws will be removed at the end of the project.) Next, tie your fun fur on to one straw, knotting it a few times.

Now you are ready to weave! Holding the base of the straws in your left hand, place your skein of fun fur on your right (or reverse if left handed). You want to weave the fun fur over and under the straws from one side and then back to the other. See how the tops of the straws are spread open a little wider to make it easier? That is where the fun fur goes in and out. You will also need to make sure your straws are adjusted right so that the fur doesn't snag on the open cuts, or it'll drive you crazy. :-) After a minute or two you'll get your natural style and rhythm down and the weaving will go very quickly.

Continue weaving until most of the lower part of the straws are covered.

You can now remove the tape that is holding the straws together at the bottom. It is not needed anymore since the fun fur is anchoring the loom. Keep weaving until the straws are filled. Then, push the lower part of the fun fur off the straws and onto just the yarn, but leave enough on the straws to keep it secure. As you continue to weave, continue to push more fun fur down the straws, but never push all of it off - always have some on the straws. And, do not, I repeat do not, pull up on the straws. Only push the fur down gently. (I was told this, too, but I didn't listen! I was almost finished with my first bola when I pulled up on the straws and one of the yarn pieces broke! Disaster ensued and my bola was never the same. Learn from my mistake!)

When you finish the first skein, simply tie the start of the next one on to the end of the one you are finishing up and keep weaving.

Stay tuned for "Making a Bola - Part 2". It will included instructions on how to take the straws off the yarn and complete your bola!

1 comment:

Kelli said...

What a neat project....it's beautiful!