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3 Reasons to Spin and Weave Your Own Bands (and an eBook to Help You Do It!)

Why spin with bandweaving in mind? Kate Larson explains 3 reasons why you should give it a try. Plus, we’ve put together a collection of favorite bandweaving articles and projects to help you get started!

Kate Larson Apr 19, 2023 - 6 min read

3 Reasons to Spin and Weave Your Own Bands (and an eBook to Help You Do It!) Primary Image

Pick-up pattern featured in Kate Larson’s Tool Totes project. Handspun yarns using Kromski Polish Merino. Photo by George Boe

Years ago, I was bitten by the bandweaving bug. Like many people, I started with plain-weave bands in mercerized cotton woven on my inkle loom. That was fun, but when I began exploring silk, linen, and wool in different colors, combinations, and patterns, I was well and truly in love.

I’ve been planning a bandweaving cover for Spin Off for several years, and finally, Spin Off Spring 2023 has a sweet silk band and pocket-sized rigid heddle front and center! To celebrate, we’ve gathered some of our favorite bandweaving articles and projects together into a new eBook. It can be a challenge to find resources for spinning with bandweaving in mind, but I encourage you to give it a try! Here are three good reasons why:

A Little Yarn Will Do It

I spend a lot of time spinning and knitting shawls and sweaters, so spinning and weaving bands is like a little resource bonbon—a little time, a little fiber, and a little handspun results in a finished project. My inner spinner comes up with new design ideas just about as fast as I can weave each band. Devin Helmen’s silk shoelaces project included in the eBook uses a total of 24 yards. Seriously.

Devin Helmen’s Northwoods Handspun Tussah Shoelaces, created using Treenway Silks tussah top. Photo by Matt Graves

Color Play

Warp-faced bands, like those shown here, are created by pushing the warp yarns very close together so the weft is only visible at the selvedge edges. The color design, in most cases, is done in the warp. Vertical and horizontal stripes are easily created just through warping in a color sequence.

Geometric patterns can be created by picking up or pushing down threads in a pattern. As a knitter, reading the pick-up weaving charts feels like second nature. You read them just like a colorwork-knitting chart. It’s really that easy! This eBook contains charts for 13 different pick-up patterns, ranging from very easy to moderately challenging.

“Spinning for Warp-Faced Bands,” an article I wrote in 2018, is also included in the eBook and discusses using twist direction and yarn structure to add simple texture changes. Just simple plain-weave bands shine when woven with chain-plied yarn spun using a handpainted braid.

Plain-weave band spun using chain-plied Merino/silk handpainted by Chasing Rainbows. Photo by George Boe

Any Loom Will Do

One of the most important things to know about the plain-weave and pick-up patterns in this collection is that they can be woven on a variety of looms. A pattern written for inkle looms can be easily converted to backstrap-style rigid heddles, rigid-heddle looms, and even floor looms.

Threading drafts will indicate heddled and unheddled threads. On an inkle, a heddled thread is held in place with a loop of string, and an unheddled thread is free to move (shown below). On a rigid heddle, the heddled threads pass through the holes, while unheddled threads pass through the slots. That’s it! You can weave with the loom you have or branch out to something new. Most of all, have fun!

From left: Ashford Inklette loom and rigid heddle in cherry from The Dancing Goats. Photos by Matt Graves

As a nod to bandweaving, we’ve collected seven of our favorite bandweaving articles and projects together into a new eBook, “Bandweaving: Using Rigid Heddles and Inkle Looms.”

This must-have eBook collection of articles and projects from the pages of Spin Off and Handwoven includes:

  • “Spinning for Warp-Faced Bands: Plain Weave & Pick-Up” by Kate Larson
  • “Spinner’s Tool Totes” by Kate Larson
  • “Pick Up a Band of Chevrons” by Heather Torgenrud
  • “Patterned Bands from the Sámi Weaving Tradition (Sunna Rigid-Heddle Version)” by Susan J. Foulkes
  • “Patterned Bands from the Sámi Weaving Tradition (Inkle Version)” by Susan J. Foulkes
  • “Testing Tussah: Two Ways to Spin and Weave a Band” by Devin Helmen
  • “Northwoods Handspun Tussah Shoelaces” by Devin Helmen

Check out the eBook in our library, or current All Access subscribers can log in below to instantly access and download this helpful project and article collection.

Bandweaving: Using Rigid Heddles and Inkle Looms PDF Download

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