Friday, 18 September 2009

Band Weaving

While my Henning Band Loom is being repaired I decided to try out patterned band weaving on my inkle loom, following the instructions in Anne Dixon's "Baltic Style Patterns on the Inkle Loom".

This is Anne Dixon as in the recently published "Handweavers Pattern Book" or "Handweavers Pattern Directory" as they call the U.S. edition. She has also published three booklets on Inkle weaving which are printed on folded A4 paper. I only bought them this summer, having started Inkle weaving with proper books - little did I realise that Anne Dixon's booklets tell you everything you need to know with very easy to follow directions and diagrams. The three can be bought from Fibrecrafts and P&M Woolcraft in the U.K. for less than £10 - I think every Inkle weaver should invest in them! Anne also taught Inkle weaving at this year's Association of Guilds Summer School, and I have heard very good reports of her teaching.

One thing I learnt from Anne Dixon was to use three lolly sticks at the start of the warp, I used two before, three is better. It gives something to beat against when you start weaving so that the weaving is good and firm from the start. The warp here is all cotton, the light blue is 2/12 mercerised and the deeper blue a 2/6. Both yarns from William Hall & Co., Cheadle, England.

A couple of other changes to weaving equipment, I had seen in "Weaving Bands" by Liv Trotzig and Aastrid Axelsson, that Swedish band weavers use a bobbin shaped shuttle and beat the weft in with a weaving knife. I found an Ashford boat shuttle bobbin (which is a bit too large to handle easily) and an old cake knife. The cake knife as a beater has greatly improved my bands, as I beat the weft in more soundly with this narrow, blunt-edged knife I am getting much neater edges. It also features a fancy tip which is good for picking up the pattern threads.

When I was given the Henning Band Loom I had no idea what it was or what to do with it. Naturally, I turned to the wonderful international weaving contacts I have on the Yahoo "WeaveTech" list and in the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers for help.

The response was superb, many helpful people contacted me with information and advice. In addition to finding a couple of experts, I was also advised to see the website of Anneliese Bläse (for those of us who don't know German, Google will do a reasonable translation). Recommended books were the one mentioned above, plus Bandweben (German) or Bandveven (original Dutch) by M. G. Van Der Schaaf (this can also be found in Spanish translation).

I learnt that patterned woven bands are a long standing tradition in all the countries that surround the Baltic Sea, except for Denmark.

By chance I came across another book that is a special publication about the narrow pattern bands woven in East Prussia.

Here are books I would recommend:

In alphabetical order:

Baltic - Style Patterns on the Inkle Loom, Anne Dixon, pub. by Anne Dixon, 1995, ISBN 1-899972-09-9
and by the same author / publisher:
Inkle Loom Weaving - the Basics and Design, ISBN 1-899972-08-0
Lettering on the Inkle Loom, ISBN 1-899972-00-5

Very good and inexpensive instruction books.

Bandweben, M.G. van der Schaaf-Broeze, pub. in German in 1976 by Hornemann Verlag, ISBN 3-87-384-201-7.

Lots of band patterns that you can read without knowing much more than names of colours.

Byways in Handweaving, Mary Meigs Atwater, first published Macmillan Company, New York, 1954 (other editions since, still in print).

Card weaving, inkles and the inkle loom, twined weaving, brading and knotting, plaiting, beltweaves, and in Miscellaneous "Scandinavian warp-faced weave".

Inkle Weaving, Lavinia Bradley, pub. in 1982 by Routledge Kegan and Paul Ltd., ISBN 0-415-05091-X

Excellent book on inkle weaving, possibly the best, and includes a chapter on pick-up designs, also lettering and Bolivian Pebble Weave

Ostpreußische Jostenbänder, Irene Burchert, pub. 2007, Husum Druck und Verlagsgellschaft, ISBN 978-3-89876-364-6

Specifically written to record and preserve the patterns and techniques of the narrow pick-up patterned Jostenbands woven in East Prussia, used as skirt and apron ties, an inexpensive and useful book, although written in German (I bought from

Weaving Bands, Liv Trotzig and Astrid Axelsson, pub. in English by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1974, ISBN 0-442-30032-8 (hardcover) and 0-442-30033-6 (paperback), first published in Swedish with the title "Band", by ICA Forlaget, 1972.

Includes: plain bands, patterned bands using pick-up, tablet woven bands, plaited bands, pillow bands, and over 40 pages of patterns.

I have also found it necessary to improve my knowledge of the German Language, so have invested in a dictionary and grammar book, and borrowed a CD lesson course from the local public library.

If any of my readers are particularly interested in having a go at weaving these bands, why not join the Online Guild for 2010 so you can participate in a workshop to be led by Sue Foulkes in November 2010 for learning to weave patterned bands Baltic style on a backstrap loom? Sue has been preparing for this workshop with a trip to Sweden to research the subject and has woven many bands to learn and practice the technique.

I am having to come back and edit this post to add the most wonderful resource of all, the editor of Swedish weaving magazine, Vav Magasinet, Tina Ignell, was able to find for me a copy of an article in Vav Magasinet 1984 / 4 where the Henning Band Loom is reviewed and instructions are given for weaving three bands. I heartily recommend Vav Magasinet!!


Leigh said...

I like having all these resources in one post! I confess that I am way behind in reading OLG digests, but the inkle band workshop sounds like fun. I wonder if I could have my studio in order by then!

Life Looms Large said...

What a great post for band weavers!! Very nice of you to research and consolidate all of that info!

I love the cake knife as a beater. Just the idea of a cake knife is's not something I have in my house....but using something for cake for weaving instead. Fantastic!


Annie MacHale said...

This is a very nicely executed pattern!

Dorothy said...

Annie, kind of you to say nice things of my woven band, but then I only showed you the neat bits! My bands are getting better, but I do need to practice.

Leigh, the workshop is going to be a good one ;) As you can do the weaving on a backstrap loom, you won't need much space, but I guess you'll need to dig some yarn out. I expect your home will look a lot different in 12 months time.

Hi Sue, glad you enjoyed the read, so many people have been so kind in helping me, I want to repay that kindness by sharing what I have learned and I do hope that someone else will find the information useful.

Anonymous said...

I really like the band you're weaving and the tools you use and the information you give is great. I have the book, "Byways In Handweaving," it's inspiring - I'll have to find some time to try this type of weaving too!


trapunto said...

I love your band and I love your cake knife! I inherited a copper letter opener I mean to put to the same purpose, but it doesn't have that nice pick at the end. I may have that copy of Väv. My collection is spotty. Now I'm curious. I'll have to go downstairs and dig through boxes and find out...

Jenny Bellairs said...

I like the cake knife idea. I'll have to go check the box of old silverware in the garage and see if I can find anything suitable. It looks like it would work great for pick-up.

Khalja said...

I'm not quite sure why this post just showed up today on my blog roll but I'm very glad it did! Nice post. I'll be trying to find some of the books.

Perhaps you already know, however just in case you don't, there are a couple of newer band weaving books. They are:

"Sami band weaving" by Susan J. Foulkes and "Woven bands from Sweden"(Gagnef Apron Bands) also by Susan J. Foulkes.

You can buy them from Blurb.