Process Review: Heddles and Bands

Band weaving is a simple activity that helps you notice the little things. You see how each thread falls into place. How the thread turns the selvedge corner just so. How the pattern threads stand proud in floats or hide in subtle patterns. I enjoy practicing my skills as a band weaver. And more so, now that Steve has turned his attention to making band heddles for me.

Workshop at Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference 2019 got me started with weaving patterned bands on a rigid heddle.
First heddle by Steve is made from Soft Maple. Band has 21 ends (with 5 pattern threads, doubled). 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin.
Heddle made from Spanish Cedar. Wood-burned top represents the Texas Hill Country hills that we enjoy. Band has 45 ends (with 5 pattern threads, doubled), using the heddle’s full width. 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin.
Walnut band heddle in the making.
Torgenrud, H. (2015). Norwegian pick-up bandweaving. Schiffer Publishing; Foulkes, S. (2018). Weaving Patterned Bands. How to Create and Design with 5, 7, and 9 Pattern Threads. Schiffer Publishing; Neumüller, K. (2021). Simple Weave. (Language: Swedish). Natur & Kultur, Stockholm.

Pictures in the following slideshow video tell more of the story.

Edited: Steve has compiled photo documentation of how he made my Spanish Cedar and Walnut heddles. Click HERE to send me an email requesting a PDF copy of Making a Band Heddle.

May you take time to notice the little things.


Tried and True: Rag Rug Block Party!

I am happy to say that with only four shafts we have exactly what we need for a checkerboard rag rug. Thank you to Megan for asking about it. ”I am searching for a 4-shaft draft for a checkboard pattern. I am limited to only 4 shafts.” Double binding opens up a world of opportunity!

Checkered rag rug. Karen Isenhower

Let’s talk about blocks. A block is a specific sequence of warp ends or weft picks. Double binding on four shafts has two blocks for the warp and two blocks for the weft.

One of several possible threading and tie-up plans for double binding. Add two plain weave treadles if you want to weave plain weave hems.
Plain weave hem starts a new double-binding rag rug.

Have a Block Party!

→ Use graph paper to plan the configuration of your blocks.

For the threading blocks, use two rows of squares. One row is for Block A and one row is for Block B. Each square on the paper represents one threading unit. You can make a checkerboard pattern by uniformly alternating the A blocks and B blocks. Or, you can make a wildly different geometric pattern by varying the size of alternating blocks. Your two-row graph becomes a profile draft to use as your threading key.

For the weft blocks, use the same arrangement of blocks as for the threading, and turn them vertically for the treadling draft. Or, use your creativity to make a unique configuration of weft blocks. The sky is the limit!

Three possible block configurations for the threading. The bottom example is a part of the sequence for the rug currently on my loom.
Weaving with two ski shuttles. Glimåkra Ideal. 4 shafts, 6 treadles.
Printout shows me where the blocks change in the weft.

Check out these resources for more double-binding rag rug ideas: Alla Tiders Trasmattor, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Så Fint med Trasmattor, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Älskade Trasmattor att väva som för, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Swedish Rag Rugs 35 New Designs, by VävMagasinet; Happy Weaving, from VävMagasinet.

May you discover a world of opportunity.

Happy Weaving,

Everything Is Peachy on the Drawloom

I canned my first-ever batch of jam last summer. Jars of yummy peach jam were on my mind when I started planning designs for this sample warp on the combination drawloom. Much to my delight, Joanne Hall has included my Jam Jars design in her updated edition of Drawloom Weaving, recently released.

Cotton and linen on the drawloom.
Beginning another variation of the Jam Jars design.
Creating drawloom designs.
Earlier version of Jam Jars, with “Peach” spelled out in cursive letters.
Making jam on the drawloom.
Simple lettering is possible with the pattern shafts. 30 pattern shafts for the jam jar design, including “JAM”, and 5 pattern shafts for the side borders.
Drawloom Weaving, by Joanne Hall. 2nd edition.
Drawloom Weaving, 2nd edition, by Joanne Hall. An essential resource for anyone interested in drawloom weaving.

I am weaving several versions of the jam jars. Each variation has a different set of borders as I test my understanding of the Myrehed combination attachment. I am studying the versatility of this drawloom. Pattern shafts enable pattern repeats for the jam jars and side borders. Single units make it possible to weave the peaches in the corners and “Peachy” across the top. Can you tell if the border across the bottom is made with pattern shafts? Or, is it made with single units?

How to weave Peach Jam!
Everything is Peachy!

Depth of understanding comes from study. Practice makes it real. Go all in; make mistakes, un-do and re-make; have What-now? moments and Aha! moments. Make deliberate observations. It’s all part of the process. That’s what forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ is like. Forgiveness is good news. When we receive his forgiveness he sets us on a path to study, learn, and understand his grace. The depth of which will take an eternity to understand.

May you increase in understanding.

Grace to you,

Treadle Adjustments on a Countermarch Loom

The countermarch loom is known for having a clean shed, so that is my goal. Is that possible for ten shafts and ten treadles? The first treadle I step on reveals that treadle cord adjustments are definitely needed!

How to evaluate the shed and adjust on countermarch looms.
Before making any adjustments, a few of the sheds look impassable, like this one.

I learned the basics of making adjustments to treadle cords from Learning to Warp Your Loom, by Joanne Hall, and The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. I also gained valuable experience from Vävstuga Basics, with Becky Ashenden.

Here’s how the process looks for me, with this ten-shaft, ten-treadle project as an example.

I keep the following note on my iPhone. It helps me remember how things work.
I fill in the blanks for each treadle, noting which shafts are too high or too low. Then, using my iPhone note for reference, I make the needed adjustments.

Note on iPhone for making countermarch treadle adjustments.

  • The first time through, I am primarily interested in the bottom of the shed. I make adjustments to clear the shed enough to be able to weave a little bit.
  • Weave an inch or two. It is surprising how the shed cleans up with a little bit of weaving.

Adjusting treadles on countermarch loom.
Bottom of the shed has threads on one or two shafts that need to be lowered. After making those adjustments, this treadle will have a clean shed for weaving.

  • After weaving that first inch or so, I go through a second, and a third time, if needed, to get a clean shed on each treadle. Adjustments for the top of the shed are only needed if there are threads that will interfere with the shuttle.

Clean shed of a countermarch loom. Tutorial.
No hindrance for the shuttle here. This is the kind of shed I hope to see on every treadle.

When I first see a messy shed, I think, “How will I ever get my shuttle through that?” But it turns out to be little adjustments here and there. It’s not too difficult if you understand the loom.

Five-shaft satin dräll in linen. How to adjust countermarch treadles.
After all treadle adjustments have been made, the shuttle glides freely through the shed. And pick by pick, linen threads become cloth.

Nothing is too difficult for the one who made heaven and earth. Our Creator knows how to help us. He hears our prayers for help, and little by little, we see what He is doing as the shed clears and the shuttle glides through, unhindered.

May little adjustments clear the way for you.

With you,

Tools Day: Reeds

Eventually, I would like to have a metric reed (or two) in every possible size. Until then, I will be happy with what I have, while I gradually add to my supply, as needed, one reed at a time.

I prefer metric reeds (dents per 10 centimeters) over imperial reeds (dents per inch). For one thing, the math is easier for project planning. And because there are smaller increments between sizes, there are more sett choices with metric reeds. It could be my imagination, but it often seems that the metric reed yields a Goldilocks “just right” sett.

Assortment of weaving reeds.
Supply of reeds. Some purchased new, some second-hand purchases, and some received as gifts. All but one have been used on my looms. The reeds usually reside in my weaving supply closet.

My selection of reeds vary in length, from 70 cm (27″) to 120 cm (47″), to fit the weaving widths of my looms. But Glimåkra countermarch looms have beaters that are open on the sides, so I can use any length reed in any loom.

Beginning cotton warp with M's and O's.
Reed with 120 cm weaving width is being used on this 100 cm Glimåkra Ideal. This is a 22.5 dents/inch reed, sleyed two ends per dent. Notice that the warp is high in the reed? That’s because the front tie-on bar is going over the breast beam.

My all-around favorite reeds are those made by Glimåkra because they are lightweight and easy to handle, …and they come in metric sizes. (Of course, you need to choose reeds that work with your loom.)

Taqueté in Tencel on eight shafts.
This 120 cm reed is a perfect fit for the weaving width of the 120 cm Glimåkra Standard loom. This is a 50/10 metric reed, giving a Goldilocks “just right” sett for this 8/2 tencel taqueté.

I put together a reed conversion chart so that we can see our options at a glance. You never know when a new project will “require” a new metric reed!

Weaving reed metric/imperial conversion chart.

May your next project have a Goldilocks “just right” sett.

Happy weaving,