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.
Another new adventure… tablet (or card) weaving. It’s simple and complex at the same time. Simple because the “ingredients” are basic: cards, yarn, a shuttle, and off you go! Complex because the designs are truly astounding. This method of weaving also made me stop and think, because it involves a “twist” in the motion of using the cards, and that combines individual threads to create color changes and a nubby texture. It’s really a wonderful craft.
My first sample was done on an inkle loom with two colors. That method of threading and warping is very easy compared to most introductory tutorials where you cut individual threads for every card. However, once you get into a variety of colors, you may need to understand the second method.
This pattern was more complicated than my first sample. I found it here. It turned out, so I’m pleased.
It took nearly two bands done similarly to realize I wasn’t weaving warp-faced inkle bands. In fact, they are more of a balanced weave. Normally with inkle bands, the weft isn’t seen except for a snippet on each edge. It’s there to pull all the warp threads together. The threads of the warp are the only threads you see. But with the two bands I’ve just finished–the stained glass one and the green and white one–the weft is visible. I think I started doing this because I liked the look. Also, I had warped it with double and triple threads but only used a single for the weft. It created it a bunchy feeling when I pulled it in to make the warp-faced weaving. So, I started to weave it to be flatter and smoother. In the end, it’s not quite balanced weave (where the weft and warp show equally), but it’s closer to that than a normal band. Why all the fuss? I have a feeling these bands are probably weaker than a real warp-faced band. Also, I learned to weave on a rigid heddle and it makes sense that I reverted to this type of weaving. I also realize that the inkle loom is probably more versatile than I first imagined. I wonder if anyone does balanced weaving on these looms? (But why… when I have a bunch of looms designed for that sitting at home? Because it’s interesting, that’s why!)
This band reminds me of an old-fashioned wicker hamper. It's white cotton (two strands) and green embroidery floss. Soon, I'll be finished with all that vintage floss I found in a tin at an antique store. The only colors left are pinks and yellows.
But I only took one picture. I wove a very quick band out of black crochet cotton and a variety of purple and lavender embroidery floss. Some of the strands were doubled and some were tripled. I really like the stained glass effect it produced. I also made another long band I cut into some bookmarks, but honestly, it wasn't really worth a picture.
I’m so pleased with the Schacht Inkle Loom I found in a thrift store this week. Actually, my husband spotted it as I was leaving. He thought it looked kind of loom-like and asked me what it was. 🙂
I had tried weaving some Sami bands on the little Peacock loom, but it was only working so/so. I had to take off several pieces of the loom, and that didn’t seem quite right. I never considered getting a regular-sized inkle loom, however, because I did have a mini one that was really cute and I never used it. I gifted it to someone and figured that was the end of my band weaving. But never say never!
I have to admit, weaving on a decent-sized inkle loom is great. I knew how to tie the heddles and warp it already, and so I picked a very simple pattern from the Helene Bress book that came with it, and away I went, weaving a ladder band. For anyone who is interested, Jane Patrick has a great how-to video on warping and weaving an inkle loom that can teach the basics.
(The inkle loom is not very big, but it looks huge next to the tiny Louet in the next picture. I’m warping the Louet for a rep weave project.)