Since then I’ve been really enjoying playing and experimenting with weaving narrow bands – particularly using pick up techniques.
As is my usual tendency, I began by reading quite a few books on the subject. In practical terms, I’ve found all of these books — some recently published, some now out of print — useful in different ways – but particularly enjoyed Annie MacHale’s In Celebration of Plain Weave (thankyou, Carole for this great recommendation), Heather Torgenrud’s Norwegian Pick-up Band Weaving and Susan Foulkes Weaving Patterned Bands. Susan’s blog is my new favourite discovery – she’s hugely knowledgeable about band weaving history and techniques, and very generous with her knowledge too.
Having figured out some pick-up pattern basics, I made a warp with 5 pattern threads, and began to weave some samples, using the charts in Susan’s book.
Then I made another warp, and wove some more wee samples
With these first two sample sets, I was simply picking up and dropping pattern threads using my fingers. Then I upped the pattern threads to 7 . . . and then to 9, and tried to figure out how to use a pick up stick.
Once I’d got to grips with the stick, I found it pretty transformative in terms of technique: selecting threads became much more straightforward and it was much easier to ensure all the warp threads were correctly positioned each time I changed the shed. I got into a better rhythm working with the patterns . . .
. . . I found I could spot mistakes and try to fix things
and in all respects – from warping the loom to maintaining an even tension – my technique is now definitely improving.
I’m really enjoying being a beginner – learning something completely new – figuring things out and playing around with patterns and techniques – and am finding the interconnections between knitting and weaving both thought-provoking and interesting.
I’ve also discovered that the history of band and braid weaving – and the many uses of bands and braids in different cultures around the world – is a completely fascinating subject.
In short, weaving narrow patterned bands is proving very inspiring.
Who else is learning something new this year?