Here’s a Sami pattern I wove this weekend. It has 13 pattern threads. I’m using a rigid heddle with shorter slots in the center for the pattern threads. I’m planning on making this into a backstrap–to use to weave more bands.
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):
Someday I'll get tired of taking so-so pictures with my iPod and go back to my "real" camera. In the meantime, all I have to show of the latest experiment is this blurry picture of an attempt to weave a band using a rigid heddle (this was the 10 dent Beka) and the little antique Peacock loom. I had always wanted to refurbish the Peacock loom because it's so tiny and portable (12" width), but I failed to get up the energy to tie 100 string heddles. Instead, I ordered the smallest Texsolv heddles (5 7/8", I think) which were too long. So, I need to either shorten them somewhat, the length and the eyes are too big, or tie those 100 string heddles! Either way, that means this little loom is sitting empty… or is it? After reading up on Sami-style weaving, I warped the rigid heddle and tied it onto the Peacock loom, using only the warp and cloth bars. I removed the heddles (carefully!) and also the reed, which is held in very lightly by two small screws. I'm considering removing the top bar, too, because it's in my way and I happen to be enjoying weaving bands. But then I need to sit back and wonder if it's better to put the Peacock loom back together and pass it along to someone who will tie those 100 string heddles, or if it's better to keep it in pieces and use it as a cradle or box loom. Decisions, decisions…
I couldn't make heads or tails of the pattern until I realized the pattern strands (which are in the center and double the thickness of the other strands) are sometimes raised from beneath, and sometimes lowered from above. This may not make any sense, but once I figured it out, I knew how to do this style of weaving. There are some really wonderful band weaving heddles out there with fancy double holes and smaller slots, but if you want to try it, I suggest using a simple rigid heddle and a pattern. You don't even need the loom, as traditional weavers do this backstrap-style. If you'd like a place to start, I suggest you try The Braids and Bands Yahoo group. It's free but you do need to join. Try the Files section to find a series of PDF handouts by Susan Foulkes, who recently held an online course for Sami style band weaving.
Now that I've got the hang of it, I want to use a finer thread, more colors, and a more intricate pattern.