Search This Blog

Thursday, August 20, 2020

My Grand daughter, Meta, age 10, is Learning to Play the Ukulele.


And came to me, a weaver of bands, to help her make a ukulele strap.  Meta is the one on the left out front.

I suppose since the beginning of time, people needed a strap on their instruments. I am in the older age American group and I remember the popular inkle looms in the 70's when we hippy guitar players wove straps on our inkle looms.  My daughter once asked if I was a hippy. I do have a photo of myself in my gauze shirt, bell bottom pants and fringed moccasins sitting cross legged on the couch playing my guitar. Happy to say I was not into drugs, but I did drink wine and tried to learn how to play the guitar. I  do have a photo of this, will post when I find it.
Macrame was popular too back then, but most people liked the smooth, tight woven bands you could make on an inkle.



We used mostly cotton yarns with bright colors and plain patterns.  Today we have so many different fibers to choose from, colors and patterns plain and fancy.











So when Meta wanted to weave her own band, she chose this watermelon pattern. I showed her how to measure, cut, warp and weave and she did a nice job.



Would you like to learn how to weave plain and fancy patterns on a small band, inkle or box loom? See my web site on Tape Looms at www.eastknollpottery.com or order on Amazon, my book, Tape Loom Weaving, simplified.  It will show you how to make a simple loom and how to weave basic and fancy patterns.

Thank you for following my blog!






Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Painted Band Looms







I have been making traditional, individual, hand-carved looms.  My newest design is very small, carved out of one piece of wood.



Two hundred years ago, these small looms were hand carved. Each one was an individual and became a piece of folk art. With its' uneven and worn slots, chipped and softly worn by years of actual use, the old looms are appropriate for reenactors and historians. There are still many of these looms in private collections and sometimes come up for sale, but many have found their way to museums so that they will not be lost or broken and future generations will be able to see these wonderful pieces of folk art.

So if you want a traditional loom, you will have to find a new one or make one!

Many new band looms are for sale now. There are many new styles and sizes. There are also new plastic ones!   But there is nothing like a hand-carved folk loom.

I hang around with traditional spoon and wood carvers so I have had lots of help learning how to carve. Mostly it takes practice and patience. I use a chip knife, but I have a friend who made a nice loom with a utility knife. I use a #3 flat gouge to plane the middle section, but you can leave it 1/4" thick.

Perhaps you have a friend you can cohorst into making a new project. For those of you willing to try, here are directions.

You can start by cutting down a tree, using a saw, fro and plane to make a nice thin piece.










At the Vesterheim Museum in Iowa, we did just that. We brought our students squares of wood we had cut and planed ourselves... but....

Poplar from Home Depot comes in nice 1/4" x 6" x 48" boards. Here, I cut a board into 4 1/4" pieces. I mark the top and bottom to create a 2 1/4" span for the slots, and cut down into the wood along these lines 1/16".  Then I plane the center to about 1/8" with my flat gouge on both sides.

Measure and pencil the slots 5/16" apart on both sides, making sure they are lined up properly. The I use my chip knife to go back and forth cutting the slots. Drilling the holes at the last and cleaning up the holes and slots with a needle file. I do not use sandpaper, instead, I carve along all edges with my chip knife until they are smooth, just like they used to before laser cutters!

And then I carved a shuttle to match.

This creates 18 slots and 18 holes. A total of 36 threads will be plenty for all plain and stripe weaving. and . If you are using pick-up method, this size will work for any piece that uses 7 pattern threads including boarder's, or a tight 9 pattern piece with simple boarders.  The width of your band of course depends on the thickness of your threads. Even a 1/16" hole can be worked though using a small crochet hook or needle threader.

After making a few of these plain, I decided to paint one. I used milk paint to give it an authentic glow.



Here is a photo of my newest loom with a small shuttle.

Painted looms were common in the 1800s throughout Europe. Shown below are several, more band looms found on my page... https://www.pinterest.com/potterymom1/weaving-band-looms/






















For you newbies to my Blog, use the search button above and type in Bands or Tapes to find more projects for your bands, building your own simple loom and stories of my weaving adventures.  New to Tape or Band weaving?  Look up my beginners easy to use book Tape Loom Weaving... simplified on my web site www.eastknollpottery.com (yes, I am also a potter) or on Amazon.com.  Subscribe to my blog to get notice on future projects and loom building or follow me on Facebook... Tape Loom Weaving....   and Happy Weaving!




Friday, April 17, 2020

Tablet Weaving using Two Holes



I like my band looms better than Tablets.  It is so much faster to warp, weave and follow.

Roger making Ale Bowls


















But, a few years ago, Roger and I started demonstrating at the Hjemkomst & Midwest Viking Festival in Moorhead, MN.  Roger was hired to demonstrate bowl turning on his foot lathe.  He had worked on a project with the Smithsonian and had a good outfit and of course his homemade equipment and tent.  I went along for the ride, quickly made a couple of inacurate dresses, brought along some "Saxon" pottery, and sat down to weave on my band loom.  I would discuss with visitors and fellow weavers the history of weaving bands in Viking times and speculate on when Scandinavia adopted the band loom.

An old Scandinavian Band Loom


History is sometimes hard to research. The official Viking period is listed as from 793 through 1066. There are a few objects found for textiles. Among these are the thin bands of cloth used for tying clothing, bags and tools, mending, and of course, decorations on clothing.

Fancy Tablet bands using all 4 holes



I was excited to find this plain band decoration on some clothing that looked a lot like my band weaving on the little rigid heddles. I started searching facebook groups to find more knowledgeable people that could tell me about the structure of the weave.  This plain band looked more like a band weaving than the popular Tablet weaving you see everyone demonstrating. The fancy bands using 4 strings on a tablet card creates wonderful bands that we all love. Everyone I talked to insisted Vikings were not using the rigid band loom, they used tablets.

Fancy Tablet bands using all 4 holes


Finally, someone posted to me that the pattern on the piece I found was created by using only two holes of the tablet. When twisted two quarter turns forward and weft placed in that shed, turned two quarter turns backwards for the next shed and so on will create the simple pattern.

I then remembered the first book I found on band weaving when I started out weaving 20 years ago. It was a book I found on Ebay called BAND published in 1958, written by Liz Trotzig. It's in Swedish!  There are a lot of photos and soon with the help of Google Translater I learned the basic terms.

Twenty years ago, people in New England had forgotten Band Weaving. We have lots of old looms in our museums and living history sites. New England, settled by the English, used paddle and box looms. But no one was demonstrating. No one was interested in working them anymore. Even our Amish in nearby Pennsylvania thought that it was easier to by factory made ribbons than make their own. In the 1940s, Mary Atwater, after a visit abroad, came up with the modern "inkle" loom, a cut-down version of a Swedish floor model.  (Inkle means a thin piece of fabric).

1800s tape loom

English box loom

Inkle loom



I remember I had one of these Inkle looms in the 70s. Hippies like me, had revived the craft, making belts and guitar straps. They were wonderful. And then the craft died down again. In the past 20 years more people have revived Band weaving.  There are now many wonderful books on patterns and uses for the Bands.

My Swedish BAND book has good directions and patterns for the rigid heddle types of looms.  In the back of the book, there are a few pages devoted to Tablets.  I had forgotten this in my quest for bands, and sure enough, there were instructions on setting up two hole tablets.







Vikings would have used linen or wool fibers. I did a sample in my linen/cotton thread using two holes in each card. And there it was. I wove the same pattern with embroidery floss so I could see the structure better. I wove a wider piece using Jute to use as plain ties for hanging tools, etc.  I tried a wider linen band, and a narrow band using only 8 threads of some 8/2 linen to make a quarter inch band for ties.


Two hole set up

Top band linen/cotton... bottom band embroidery floss

Jute and Linen bands using 2 hole Tablet





I started my quest for two-hole tablet weaving last year. And now in April, in the Big Shutdown, I need to talk to my tablet weaver friends back in the Mid-west to get some tips and discuss this project. But I can't. So I have decided to write this and post this and to glean more information and comments from other weavers.

I had planned to bring this plain band, two hole project to Moorhead MN at this years Viking festival. This is planned for June 26-27.  It has not been canceled yet. We are all still hoping to participate. I will be able to talk to some more experienced weavers. And it will be lots of fun.

http://www.cityofmoorhead.com/departments/parks-recreation/hjemkomst-center-special-events


For you newbies to my Blog, use the search button above and type in Bands or Tapes to find more projects for your bands, building your own simple loom and stories of my weaving adventures.  New to Tape or Band weaving?  Look up my beginners easy to use book Tape Loom Weaving... simplified on my web site www.eastknollpottery.com (yes, I am also a potter) or on Amazon.com.  Subscribe to my blog to get notice on future projects and loom building or follow me on Facebook... Tape Loom Weaving....   and Happy Weaving!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Splitting those Bands in Two


I have been working on two split bands projects and just got them done.

















Project #1...

When working at the Lee County Fair in Florida this March, I bought a cheap pair of flip flops with pretty "gold" beads to spend a morning at the beach. Less than two minutes after I put them on, on the way to the van, they broke! I am not sure why I was surprised, but never thought of throwing them away, I broke them down. I saved the beads for my granddaughter, who at 12 is already selling her own jewelry at shows. Pulled out the plastic thong parts and visioned a new woven strap.










Got out some 8/2 cotton and wove these new bands. I had to knot the ends to hold them in to my rubber soles. I think they look pretty good.











Project #2...

Roger gave me this lovely pin for Christmas. I thought it would be nice to wear with a chain around my neck, but when that chain broke, I decided to make a woven band that I could wear at my fiber festivals, and it would be another sample of splitting a band. Again I used 8/2 cotton.





To split a band, choose or draw up a chart to follow that has two complete designs for each side of the split.  In the center of your pattern add single bands that will be the selvage for those two splits.  Chart your two bands next to each other.


Thread your loom accordingly. 

Start as one complete band and use a pre-planned pattern or just wing it.  When you get ready to split, I weave the right side pattern up a few inches. The shed will start to narrow, so don't go too far. You will want to break off your weft and start up the left side, matching the pattern you made on the right.

Now when you get the two sides even, you can wind up your warp and go further. When you get ready to break, make sure you have some extra inches so you can adjust the length later for your project, and simply cut it off.

On the necklace, I decided to rejoin and add another inch with both sides together. 




For you newbies to my Blog, use the search button above and type in Bands or Tapes to find more projects for your bands, building your own simple loom and stories of my weaving adventures.  New to Tape or Band weaving?  Look up my beginners easy to use book Tape Loom Weaving... simplified on my web site www.eastknollpottery.com (yes, I am also a potter) or on Amazon.com.  Subscribe to my blog to get notice on future projects and loom building or follow me on Facebook... Tape Loom Weaving....   and Happy Weaving!