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.
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.
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:
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):