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.
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.
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.
Done, except for the fringes. I don’t quite know what I’ll do with them. Off the loom, this measures about 12″ square, but it did get narrower the closer I got to the top.
… April Fools!
I did. I did purchase another loom! Because I need another one just about as much as I need another hole in my head.
Almost fooled you, didn’t I?
Wedge weave is a type of weaving style that gives a distinctive look as the “rows” are woven diagonally. According to what I’ve read, this style of weaving may have become less popular as buyers of rugs wanted a straight edge, and this gives a very unusual scalloped edge due to the way the weft pulls against the warp. There are many different ways to use this style, and some weavers drop in a little here and there while others weave this way for the entire project.
Here are some resources on wedge weave, also known as pulled warp:
Peter Collingwood has a very good overview of the technique in his Techniques of Rug Weaving book, available via PDF here. Scroll to page 164: https://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books/cp_rug1_2.pdf
Profile of weaver Connie Lippart: http://studio24-7.blogspot.com/2014/04/connie-lippert-wedge-weave.html, and a terrific overview article by her: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1034&context=tsaconf
Here are some image searches from Google (hopefully without the wedge shoes that keep showing up!): wedge weave images.
My little sample, about 4″ x 5″, worked out okay for a first try. I learned how to start and stop threads, add new colors, and carry a pattern. I also found out that the loose threads should be woven back in otherwise they’ll pop through to the front. I have some floats here and there, as I puzzled through how to reverse directions. I wove this on a Goodwood Pocket loom.
On the loom:
And off the loom. I was pleased to see that even with my loose and sloppy weaving, the scalloped edges came through:
I’m using my Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom as a stand-in tapestry loom, and it works great. The loom is a super star when it comes to tension–that thick, sturdy wood and metal pawls and ratchets make it possible. If I learn how to warp it better, I can see using this for tapestry weaving quite often. As it is, I started out perfectly with a warp wound on a warping board, but transferring over became very difficult, so I ended up snipping the ends and tying it on. My plan had been to try for a non-fringe selvedge. Oh, well… that’s how it goes.
I had started another project using greens and browns on this warp, but when I discovered wedge weave, I unwove the other project and started this. I’m now sticking with all greens, probably inspired by the ongoing WAL in Ravelry’s tapestry group. The first two months were monochromatic, and I wove a tiny tapestry in blues, but I was never happy with it. So now… greens! These are mostly needlepoint wool found at an antique store:
The warp is a four-ply Churro, and it’s spaced at about 5 epi:
The string heddles I rigged up proved to be helpful only when weaving that footer. I don’t think anyone trying something similar needs to go to the trouble if using a widely-spaced warp like this one. The day wore on, and at 10 p.m. I found myself still weaving. Wedge weave is really fun–and fast as far as a weft-faced weaving goes. Now, I’m at a difficult spot in deciding what to do with the pattern. I’d like to make the center area stand out somehow, and the easiest answer is to use a different set of greens. The hardest answer is to inset some type of tapestry design, but I’m not certain how that will work out. Best idea is to try one, and if it works, stick with it.
This is woven on the diagonal. It’s supposed to create a scalloped edge when off the loom, but it may not happen on such a small scale (4″ wide). I’m practicing for a larger project.
The cheerful sailboat is starting to come to life. If you think it looks kind of angular, you’d be right. At some point, I’ll post about the design, but because I’m usually willing and able to tear out and do over, design is an ongoing thing for me.
All the different sails. I knew it would look downright odd, but it was actually kind of fun to try out different colors and designs:
I need to do some work on the right side of the right sail. There’s also that odd blue wedge between the two sails that needs to be toned down or taken out completely: