I took 12 of my jumbo potholders and stitched them together into this rug, which I’m currently using as a bathmat. Strangely, I haven’t had enough of potholders. I’m right on the edge of plunging in and buying 10 pounds of loopers!
I’ll have a giant stack of potholders when all is said and done, or perhaps I’ll stitch them together and make a rug.
Either way, I’m having so much fun weaving.
Is it me? Is it the heddle? Or, is it the combination of materials? Probably a little of all three.
I started an ambitious band design, something I found in the files of the Yahoo group, Bands and Braids. This design wasn’t charted, so I put it into a grid. Turns out it has 68 picks for one complete design… that’s a lot! You can see where I started and stopped and started again. I chose cotton for the background threads and wool for the pattern threads, and I found I had a similar problem to the previous band I completed: the cotton is saggier than the pliable wool, and that leads to tension problems. Plus, the wooden double-slotted heddle I bought has some snags here and there which are doing a number on the warp and it’s fraying quite a bit. I’m not totally thrilled with the heddle, but I’m willing to sand down the slots, which should help; however, I’ve gone ahead and ordered two different sizes of double-slotted plastic heddles and a few other doo-dads from Stoorstalka.
I’m anxious to try an all-wool band and set the cotton aside for awhile. I like the lacy and light feeling it adds, so I’ll use it again when I’m more experienced.
I love this art installation, Text and Commentary, by Beryl Korot that explores weaving. It’s from 1976, and it runs about 30 minutes. She calls a loom a type of computer than can be programmed. Here’s an excerpt:
And here’s a link with details about the project: http://www.bitforms.com/korot/text-and-commentary
And an interview with Korot by Art 21:
There are a slew of wonderful how-to bandweaving videos out there, primarily by weaver Susan Foulkes, who focuses on pick-up style Sami bands. She often uses a special heddle that has extra slots (a Sunna or Sigga heddle) or extra holes (a Beaivi heddle) for pattern threads; however you may also use any rigid heddle or even an inkle loom to create the same type of band. There are a number of great videos on her Youtube channel:
Five Ways of Weaving Narrow Bands:
Weaving Narrow Warp Faced Patterned Bands (This one uses a regular rigid heddle, not one with extra slots or holes):
My new favorite book is Norwegian Pick-Up Bandweaving by Heather Torgenrud (2014). It focuses on everything I like about weaving: the history, the color, the texture, and the process. Plus, there are dozens of patterns. If you have an interest in weaving Nordic-styled pick-up bands, well, here’s your book. Using a rigid heddle with a backstrap setup, this style of weaving produces sturdy, vivid, and cheerful bands which were once used around the house for things like belts, shoe laces, baby swaddling, package ties, and clothing decorations. Heather Torgenrud’s book is that type of reading that gets to the heart of an important style of weaving, a delightful discovery for someone like me, the weaver who likes to know.
I’ve had an interest in this style of band weaving ever since, over four years ago, I discovered a treasure in an antique shop, a Norwegian rigid heddle, or bandgrind:
Isn’t it gorgeous? Hand carved, it may have been a traditional courting gift from a young man to a young woman. It was most likely used with the decorative top hanging downward although I’m not positive about that. At the time, I wasn’t certain what it was other than a little loom, and it took some research to come across the explanation. Although you can use a band loom on a regular frame loom, they were normally used with one end of the warp tied to something sturdy like a doorknob and the other end secured around the weaver’s waist, backstrap style.
I love the portable nature of band weaving, and currently I’m looking forward to receiving a “slotted” rigid heddle, which is useful for weaving patterns. Although I love my antique band loom, I don’t dare use it, so in the meantime, I’ve been using my small Ashford Sampleit loom for some practice. Here’s a seven-thread band with embroidery and crochet cottons:
A great project for summer is inkle or band weaving using cotton. Here, I made a belt and a band for my new Tilley TH9. I used my inkle loom for the belt, but I prefer using a rigid heddle when doing pickup to be able to better see which strands to pick or drop. For a frame I used a Spears #4 loom and a little heddle I’ve had for years. Worked like a charm.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been learning how to weave knotted pile, which is a series of knots “tacked” down with a foundation weft. I started with a simple square/rectangle/line design. This was also an attempt to use split-complementary colors. I don’t think I would have chosen mustard yellow, rusty orange, and indigo blue otherwise, but they kind of work together. Here’s a little animation. The picture above shows how it looks after I trimmed it to about 1/2″.
An internet search for similar projects will most likely bring up Sara Lamb’s lovely book, Woven Treasures, which is where I learned how to do this style of weaving. You may also enjoy reading about the shaggier version, rya (or in Finnish ryijy) or flossa, which hails from Scandinavia and has an interesting history that begins as a warm covering for fishermen and progresses into colorful wall hangings and rugs. You can even weave rya rugs off loom, as shown in this video:
The 1970s are cool again–if you’re a fiber nerd, that is. Maryanne Moodie was the first weaver I spotted who was calling upon the age of shag carpeting to create a more-modern-but-still-earthy wall hanging. There are several weavers out there doing very creative wall hangings nowadays. If you’re inspired to give it a try, here’s a nice tutorial to get you going.
I wove mine on the little Goodwood Pocket Loom, not made any longer, but pretty much any small loom or picture frame will work. This measures 4″x5″ off the loom, not counting the fringes. This was a fun, fast project that I’d like to do on a larger scale… maybe on my new loom. And, no, I’m not talking about the new loom I just posted a few weeks ago but another one, a Hagen tapestry loom that I’ll blog about soon.
Here’s a new-to-me addition to my loom family, a 25″ Schacht Tapestry Loom.
It’s a deceivingly simple loom, basically a frame with a tension bar, but it has the ability to do a continuous warp, which means you can weave something 60″ long, plus it has four harness dowels for patterned weaving. I warped the loom with what I had left of my churro warp. Spacing it at about 5 epi, I have a 15″ width. I wove a footer with some beautiful blue indigo wool, and then I used string heddles to add a twill pattern. It takes four harnesses. My plan is to only do small areas of twill, followed by some wedge weave.
The second challenge in the Tapestry Ravelry WAL is a complementary color tapestry. I know nearly nothing about color, and so it’s been very educational. Of course, I didn’t pick subtle, soothing color combinations… just the eye-sizzling ones! That blue water is very loud.
I’m using my C. Cactus Flower Mini… upside down. Oops! It was a mistake, but I don’t think there’s any real difference with the weaving. Ergonomically, it’s easier to weave with the bottom bar on your lap. I’m using a tatting shuttle here and there, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It catches on the warp threads. The tapestry will end up being about 7.5″ x 11″.
More water. I’m totally experimenting with this, using a dark blue cotton embroidery thread and a lighter blue. The complementary color to blue directly across the color wheel is orange. Get ready for an orange boat!
The boat started out a little shaky. I had framed it on either side with too much muddy-looking water, and I didn’t care for the angle of the boat. This design is very geometric, and so I unwove the top section and started over. The “old” one is on the left, and the “new” one is on the right.
Are your eyes bugging out yet? Sorry about that.
To be continued!
It only took me about ten months to finish this 4″x6″ weaving. Honestly, the Lightning Weaver is an awesome loom and I’ve used it for several small tapestries, but quite awhile ago, I wished I hadn’t started this type of a project on it. I used embroidery thread and needles to weave it. At 12 epi, it was pretty fine. My goal when I began was to work in more curves and colors. You can tell I jumped into “finish” mode where the lines start traveling from selvedge to selvedge. I went back to shapes near the end.
The Lightning Weaver has little hooks on either end, which makes it impossible to weave up until the edge. So, I’m left with some white threads poking out, but that’s okay. Throughout the weaving, I overlapped where I started and stopped threads. This keeps the back very tidy. Any loose threads can be safely trimmed away.