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Friday, March 28, 2014

Anne Dixon's Inkle Pattern Adapted to Old Tape Loom... Makes a Nice Bag Strap!

I waited till after I finished my book, "Tape Loom Weaving... simplified" before I went out and bought Anne Dixons Inkle Pattern Directory.  I did not want to be influenced or overwhelmed. With 400 warp-faced patterns, Anne's book is a treasure trove of exciting patterns... I will not have enough life time to make them all!

I weave on traditional paddle, gate and box looms, but her patterns are easy to transfer. I found a lovely place mat at a thrift store, and thinking of some goldenrod threads I have in my stash, I bought the mat for a hand bag.

The pattern below is a Pick-up pattern. It is also known as a Baltic-Style pattern with 7 pattern threads plus border.  I used 8/2 cotton, which is about the same weight yarn as crochet cotton.  My band came out 3/4" wide. Check below for specifics.

This is an example of just what you can do with these fun, colorful bands.  Any pattern, from Anne's book and other books, to old patterns you find on the web, can be broken down, mixed up and reassembled into your own pattern mix.  I find that a head band, bag strap or belt, can use a particular pattern worked half way, then add a special motif in the center of your band, and work the first pattern back down the other side of the piece.  Many times this can be reversed for symmetry, which is what I did for this bag strap.

Patterns may have repeat sections. If you have Anne Dixons book, I used combinations on page 60.  She has several pattern features on this page. I picked the two diagonal bars on the right middle section. I had to make my own chart for the turns and because I repeated and reversed the pattern after my center motif

The charts below may look confusing at first.  If you are acquainted with pick-up patterns it will all make sense. Also, I repeated each bar pattern twice moving toward the center motif and twice after the center motif to make my strap 40" long.  (My warp was cut to 54" which gave me room for the rope twists on the ends.)

Any questions? Visit or email me through my web page at

Have fun mixing and matching patterns!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What do I do with all those yards of woven tapes and woven bands?

I started weaving about 15 years ago on Nathaniel and Olive Birges' tape loom that they left in my attic in the 1800s.  I was going to re-enactments and the Storrowton Village at Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts.  I made plain bands to use as ties for my hats.

While in Minnesota this February, I made yards of tape with the intention of making some apron ties for this years exhibits and shows.

Two waist aprons have the Scandinavian style trim on the bottom and around the waist to be tied behind my skirt.  I looked into my stash and found a large spool of linen/cotton yarn I purchased at Webs a few years ago for making socks on my sock machine.  It turned out to be a little thin and also the uneven lumpy yarn did not work well with the machines tiny needles.  This yarn takes commercial dyes well and so I have dyed some and woven these lovely simple stripe weaves.

The bleached linen apron is just a rectangle of cloth, gathered just above the bust, tape added for tie and straps and hooked in the back. These bands make a colorful and extremely strong addition to a plain apron.

The simple bands shown are set up on the tape loom as a simple stripe pattern. With only 2 sheds, the slot threads and the hole threads, many patterns can be made just by the simple placements of the colors.

And the plaid apron fabrics are cut from the back of a man's 2x large shirt!  Check out thrift stores or your husbands closet. They are great patterns, usually woven colors, not printed, and save the sleeves and fronts for a patchwork plaid quilt.  Some are light weight, some are heavy, most are permanent press.

Their is a museum in Norway that has some lovely old aprons on their web site that I have mentioned before, the Digitalt Museum.  Lovely clothing that gives us an excuse to get out the tape loom!  Below are two of the aprons on their web site.

Don't have a tape loom yet or don't know how to use one? Every day more and more folks are finding these lovely old antique looms used by our foremothers,  are still a valuable way to weave decorations or bands for today's history events or modern clothing.  Check out my other blogs with the search button above for "tape looms". Or visit my web page, facebook page, tape loom weaving  or for my book, Tape Loom Weaving... simplified.

Think about it, do you too have a stash of yarns that would make great ties, trims or decorations?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Scandinavian Bodice with Woven Tape Bands

I just spent a month of February in Minnesota!  Some people go to Florida for the winter, I go to Minnesota. Roger is there.  And, this year we spent the first weekend up in Grand Marais. If Minneapolis is not cold enough in February, then go 5 hours north to Grand Marais!

While Roger cut trees for his upcoming classes, I wove.

Next week we spent in Decorah, Iowa. It was a little warmer there.  I met a lot of weavers. We got a tour of the secret archives and I saw some old Norwegian and Swedish Tape Looms. They were wonderful. We stayed at a B&B. The owners of the B&B were farmers. Their Norwegian forefathers have worked the same farm that our hosts own since the mid 1800s.

Roger taught a wooden bowl class at Vesterheim, I wove.

And yet the next week we spent with Tom and Kitty Latane in Pepin Wisconsin.  I got to stay with Kitty as she spun and wove musk ox wool. Laura Ingalls was born in Pepin. The lake, Pepin, a wide spot on the Mississippi, was frozen solid.  More cold temperatures and a rain shower turned the roads into paths of ice and packed snow.  Great for Kittys kick sled.  I found I just had to dress right for the cold weather, 3 layers of clothes lined wool hat and double felted mittens.

Roger taught a wooden bowl class at Pepins' school, I wove.

So I got a lot of weaving on my tape loom done!

Having joined the Connecticut Weavers this year and with some classes to teach coming up, I needed to get some bands done to adorn my clothing. Visitors are always asking... "What do you do with these bands?" My first project home was to finish the Scandinavian Bodice I had started in January.

There is a great web site

Here I found some Bodices.  The Scandinavians decorated, still do, their clothing in colorful bands of cloth.  When I go to reenactments, I dress in very casual clothes. As a New England potter, I would be wearing plain everyday dresses from the mid 1800s.  When I first discovered my English style paddle loom in my attic, I was satisfied making plain English bands for my hat and apron strings. Then I met Roger the Norwegian, and found these colorful bands.

Norwegians were among the first arrivals in New Amsterdam in the 1600s.  Swedes soon followed.  For some reason, they headed north into New York State and then out west to the new lands in Ohio west to Minnesota, perhaps looking for farmland. Connecticut was originally settled from the Boston area, lots of English. The Germans, Italians and Scandinavians eventually wandered into New England, mostly for the jobs in the new industrial factories.  The statistics for my town of Torrington CT states we are currently made up of 9% German, 1% Swedish, 24% Italian, 13% Irish and only 8% English. When Torrington was first settled in the 1700s, 100% of the population was English.  I am about half German and half English with a wee bit of  Irish thrown in. If one has heard the stories of Vikings conquering England in days gone by, I must have some Norwegian in me! This is all about my own reenacting as a New England potter and weaver in 1840.

I am thinking, perhaps a Norwegian loom or a Norwegian bodice found its way into Connecticut around 1840. In my reenactments I can make up stories. My story this year with my brightly decorated bands on my bodice and aprons will be that on a trip to New York, I traded yellow ware with a Norwegian lady for them!  Or perhaps I met a traveler at one of my fairs that was Norwegian?

Reenactments, dressing up in old fashioned clothes, working with your hands instead of electricity... it is just fun.  Even my pet peeve about people weaving on Inkle looms instead of the hand-carved beautiful gate looms found at the Vesterheim Museum.... well that is ok too.

Want to try a Norwegian Loom? Check out my web site, www.eastknollpottery, check out my book, Tape Loom Weaving, simplified on my web site or Amazon or come see me at my next event.