Thursday, 1 August 2019

Inspiration red and blue

Huck Lace squares on 6 shafts.

I have a stash of yarn which is too large.  Tidying my room earlier in the year I found two cones of very fine linen.  It is 1/33 singles linen in blue and red.  Why did I buy it? I have no idea but it obviously looked inviting at the time.

two cones of 1/33 linen
I thought that I would experiment with a lace weave and make a summer weight scarf. I made a long warp and wove a short sample. I wanted to check the sett and I was not sure whether the weft should be thicker.

I found that I had made a threading error.  I cut off the sample and washed it. I was very pleased with the way the lace weave showed up with the two colours.   The sett was fine.
I corrected my threading error and I was now ready to start.


navy blue         100      100      100     
red              30       100      100       30

Weft same as warp

Epi: 40 epi  using a 10 reed there are 4 ends in each dent.

I started and finished the length with 12 picks in plain weave in the navy blue linen
Alternate the colours so that there are 100 picks of navy blue then 100 picks of red.

The Weave Chart

Huck lace squares on 6 shafts.

The squares are made up of multiples of 10 warp ends. each of the squares on this weave chart has 20 ends. The squares can be any size but need to be a multiple of 10 warp ends.

The first block is threaded:  2 5 2 5 2  1 6 1 6 1   This is 10 ends. Multiply upwards to increase the size of the squares.
The second block is threaded: 2 3 2 3 2 1 4 1 4 1  This is 10 ends. Multiply upwards to increase the size of the squares.

When tying onto the front beam, I had to use very small bouts and also I had to stroke the threads to ensure that the tension was equal.

I started the scarf with 10 picks of plain weave using the blue linen.  I beat firmly. 

Huck lace squares on 6 shafts


I was pleasantly surprised that the weaving was so easy.  I had thought that the very fine singles yarn would be difficult but there were no breakages.
The yarn was strong but stiff and springy whilst weaving.  The scarf softened considerably after washing.

To finish the warp ends, I plaited them in small groups.

Close up of the squares.
The linen has a slight slub which shows up in the plain weave squares.


                length            width

before         84 in           13.5in

after            81 in            13 in

A really lovely summer weight scarf and my stash is reduced a little!

The completed scarf.

Susan J Foulkes  August 2019

Monday, 1 July 2019

Narrow band weaving for a heddle and shuttle pouch

Heddle and Shuttle Pouch.

I made some small pouches to hold a rigid heddle and shuttle. To fasten the bags, I used a narrow woven band. This is looped around the pouch and tucked under. The idea is not mine.  My friend Tamaki made me a beautiful pouch for a heddle and used this simple system for fastening.

The Pouch

Here is the finished pouch. 

The material is handwoven cotton.  I made some cushion covers and overestimated how much material I would need.  The extra material was in my sewing box and I thought that it would be ideal for a pouch.  I lined the pouch with a pink cotton material which I had bought in a sale.

Weaving the narrow band for the ties. 

I wove the band on my Swedish band loom.

My Swedish band loom

 The first length was 4.4 m which was enough for 6 ties. The band is woven using 162 Swedish cotton.
4.4 m of narrow band
There are 33 warp ends using five colours.  The weft is burgundy and the same shade as the selvedge.

Here is the drawdown and warp chart.

Drawdown for the band

Warp chart for the woven band for fastening the bag.
There are 33 warp ends in total.  I used 16/2 cotton in five colours. These colours match the handwoven material for the bag.

The finished pouch.

Heddle and shuttle

A new use for woven bands.

It was my birthday recently and a friend gave me a present which came in a lovely paper carrier bag.

A lovely carrier bag.
It was too good to throw away. The present was lovely as well!

close up of the band
The band is a simple vertical stripe in two colours, white and pink in cotton. Each stripe has 12 warp ends.

close up of the fastenings
The ends of the bands has been finished with plastic tubes.  A very neat way of ending the band.  The plastic tubes  are called aglets and are used for shoe laces.


The Braid Society has my 24 page colour booklet for sale. It is an A4 size.   

Weaving Hearts and Flowers using the double slotted heddle to weave patterned bands with 11 and 13 pattern threads.

This book contains designs for 11 and 13 thread heart patterns, heart meanders, joining motifs and also 11 and 13 thread flower patterns.  To order check the Braid Society web page.

The Braid Society sells a number of publications on aspects of band-weaving and braid making.  The books all authored by members of the Braid Society are listed below.  They are available for purchase by members and non-members alike and can be dispatched anywhere in the world.  Prices are in British Pounds Sterling (GBP).

The Braid Society does not yet have a full online shop so please email  stating:
  • Which book(s) you require
  • Where in the world the package should be sent
  • Whether you will pay by Paypal (preferred) or alternatively by cheque or direct bank transfer.

The Braid Society will respond by email as soon as possible stating the total cost (to cover the book(s), postage and charges) and payment details (usually a PayPal invoice).  Books are normally sent by UK 2nd class Standard post unless otherwise requested.   Books sent abroad will be sent by the lowest International Rate.   The postage is given before payment is requested.

On receipt of payment your book(s) will be dispatched.

Happy Weaving

Susan J Foulkes  July 2019

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Lithuanian Weaving

Two years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to travel around the Baltic region.  I had not visited Lithuania before and I was impressed with the weaving traditions that I found.

The National Museum in Vilnius is in a wonderful building and their displays of textiles are fascinating.

National Museum in Vilnius
In my previous blog about my trip, I showed an example of the lovely costumes on display.  Here is another costume and a close up of the colourful patterned belt.

Close up of the patterned belt.

The belt has the typical 'moustache' fringe at each end.

The belt was worn until the end of the 19th century and was a very important part of the dress. A belt was worn everyday but on special occasions, a more elaborate sash was put on. Sashes were given as presents. When a woman married she was expected to weave dozens of sashes to give away on her wedding day as well as for her dowry.  These sashes would demonstrate her skill in weaving and also help to smooth the path to her new life with her husbands family.

I loved the patterned bands that I saw in the museum.  I have graphed and woven a few of them.  Here is a beautiful patterned band with the typical moustache fringe.

My own reproduction of a Lithuanian patterned band.
I loved the colours and the pattern.  The fringe takes a lot of wool!

Here is an old photograph showed how young girls learned to weave narrow bands.  As their skill in weaving improved wider more complex patterns would be woven.

using a backstrap to weave narrow bands

I loved this photograph as this is the way weavers in my workshops attach themselves to tables in order to use a backstrap and a heddle. These girls are using a stick with heddles which is a more time consuming method to weave narrow bands but it is very versatile.

However, you do not need to weave attached to a table.  This lovely photograph from the 1960's shows two Lithuanian girls weaving using only their legs to tension the warp. They are using a circular warp.

Weaving outside

The museum had many old sashes and bands on display. I loved the range of colours used. Here is an unusual yellow and blue belt.

It is sometimes not easy to find books about weaving in other countries.

I found one lovely book which was published in 20010 by Inga Neniene. It is in Lithuanian but has a short summary of the contents in English.  With 431 pages it is quite a tome.

ISBN 978-9955-25-883-4
It is about Zanavykai weave traditions and textile heritage from the 19th century to the 21st century. It has many pages of weave patterns, both pattern drafts and actual photographs of textiles.  Here is an example.  Bedspreads using overshot patterns were very common.

an example of the many pattern drafts

some of the beautiful woven textiles
 There is also a section about band patterns. Unfortunately, I could not find the information about what colours would have been used for the patterns.
 A sample page of band patterns
However, in the English summary there is information about the use of sashes and the patterns. As in Sweden, sashes were sometimes sewn together to form a covering or even a carpet.
Mourning sashes were woven in white, black and unbleached linen. Sashes for souvenirs for special occasions were also woven with texts. Here are two examples. 

The author says that during her research she did not find any weaving women apart from one sash weaver. The last weavers had dismantled their looms in 2002 - 2003.  This lovely book is helping to preserve their tradition and also present their striking patterns to a wider audience. Even if, like me, you do not understand Lithuanian, the pictures and diagrams tell their own story.

However, if you are intrigued by Lithuanian weaving as I was, then do take a look at this book by Kati Reeder Meek published in 2000.

Reflections from a Flaxen Past:  For Love of Lithuanian Weaving.

ISBN 0 9700648-0-2

It is a treasure trove of images and patterns.  There is a useful introduction about Lithuanian history and then an awe inspiring collection of old black and white photographs of the process of turning flax into cloth from the M.K. Ciurlionis Museum.

  • There is a gallery of Lithuanians who love their countries textiles illustrated with many colour photographs.  Costumes and their details are intriguing. 
  • There is a comprehensive description of how to construct a simple sash loom and patterns of sashes to weave using it. 
  • Embroidery and patterned cloth weaving are also included. 

It is a glorious celebration of the delights of Lithuanian weaving and, of course, it is in English.

I asked Kati if I could reproduce a couple of pages of the book.  One page, page 71, celebrates the variety of ways of weaving. I have split the page into three sections so that you can see the looms detail.

 What an amazing collection of looms!

Types of looms used in Lithuania.

I have never seen a punch card system used on a small loom.  The circular variety is wonderful.

Does anyone know if this type of loom is still used or, even better, still available?

This page is typical of the detail that Kati provides about  Lithuanian spinning and weaving. There are further looms illustrated and described in the book.

Another page from her book.

She gives detailed instructions about weaving narrow bands on a home made loom.  Here is another page from her book, page 133.

There are detailed instructions for using this type of simply equipment on the next few pages.  She calls it her 'desk drawer loom.'  It is a weaving hobby which can be stored in a shoe box - no bulky equipment required yet lovely patterned bands ca be made.

All in all this book is a treasure and is so obviously as a result of the deep love of Lithuanian spinning and weaving.

She has also published a second book which is for the specialist weaver. I have a large loom and to wind on a warp I require the help of my husband who, over the years, has become very familiar with the specialist terminology of weaving. Kati describes a method of winding on a warp which does not require a helper. I am intrigued by the method but I fear that my own weaving room is not large enough to be able to move my loom into a position where a trapeze like this could be used. Anything that makes the weavers task easier is wonderful and I am sure that there are loom owners who will find this method ideal.

ISBN 978-0-9700648-1-3

How to buy these books.

Both books are available from the USA from VavStuga.

The book Warp with a Trapeze is available from Handweavers Studio in the UK. They have an amazing selection of books about weaving.

I hoped you have enjoyed this celebration of Lithuanian weaving.  I loved the country when we visited it in 2017.  Do check out my previous blog for November 2017.
Here is the link.

Happy Weaving

Susan J Foulkes  June 2019

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Handtowel in 8 shaft point twill

Cottolin Handtowel 

If you follow my blog, you will realise that I love weaving towels.

Cottolin is great for tea towels but is also very hard wearing and absorbent for handtowels. Here is a pattern for towels that i finished last month.

Warp: cottolin in dark blue, light blue, white and natural
Weft: natural cottolin

Sett: 24 dpi

Weave structure: Point twill on 8 shafts.  I used an extra shaft for the selvedge but a floating thread for the selvedge is fine.

Please note that using the point twill structure the colour stripes do not line up with the twill.  I like this as it seems to add a dynamic quality to the design.


Dark blue     16         12            12         12            12                Central blue section can be adjusted.
Natural                20                         16                          20         I used 152 ends.
White                              2     2                   2      2
Pale blue                             4                           4

You can adjust how wide you wish the handtowel to be by altering the central dark blue section.

I used 152 ends for the centre section.  This is shown on the Weave Drawdown in turquoise blue although fewer ends are shown so that the pattern will fit onto the page.
You can use as many dark blue threads as you wish for the centre area depending upon your chosen overall width of the hand towel. The sett is 24 epi so you will need to count how many warp ends you want in the dark blue.

Total number of warp ends: 424

Weave Drawdown

eight shaft point twill

Before washing                                      After washing

Width:   17.5 inches     44.4 cm                        Width: 16 inches  40.6 cm

This pattern uses a single colour in the weft.  The length of the handtowel can be adjusted easily.
Remember to weave the first and the last 10 picks in 16/2 cotton.  This will make the hem less bulky.

Close up  of the pattern.

Here is a close up of the two striped areas.  As you can see the point twill is off set in one area.  This adds an extra dynamic to the design although I have to admit that it was a mistake. I meant to have both sides of the towel in a regular twill. You can see the difference in the striped patterns on both sides.

The full pattern showing the difference in the striped areas on the left and right. 

The centre dark blue area can be as wide as you wish.

Hanging tag

As usual I wove a hanging tag in cottolin using the same colours as the handtowel.

Here is the pattern.

Warp for hanging tags

Dark blue      6                      6
White                2               2
Pale blue               4       4
Natural                      4

Total number of warp ends: 30
Weft: dark blue

Width of hanging tag: 11mm

woven band and hanging tag

Here is the finished towel alongside a tea towel hanging up in my kitchen.

Happy Weaving!

Susan J Foulkes  1st June 2019

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

A new band weaving book

I have just received a copy of this lovely new book about band weaving.  I met Annie in Tacoma in 2016 at the International Braids Conference. Her blog is a real inspiration to anyone who enjoys weaving narrow bands.

Her enthusiasm for inkle weaving is infectious. The book has over 100 patterns in the  most glorious colour combinations for 39, 59 and 79 warp threads. I could hardly wait to try one of her patterns.  The layout of the book is very user friendly and the patterns are large and clear to read.  Here is the pattern that I wove. It is number 11 in the book.  I asked Annie if I could put a picture of her drawdown on my blog, so here it is.

It is a pattern for 39 warp ends.  The two rows on the top show the warp threading: the pattern draft.  You can work out very easily how many threads you will need of each colour.  The top row are the heddled threads for an inkle loom and the bottom row shows the unheddled threads.

The rows below are the drawdown which is a picture of the final woven band.

Here is the band that I wove. I used Rowan cotton glace, a thick, shiny cotton, that  weaves beautifully.  I use it for guitar straps as it comes in a range of colours and is very sturdy. I use Annies guitar strap fittings for the straps from her Etsy shop.   You can see how useful they are when you compare it to the actual band that I wove.

Actual woven band

close up of drawdown in Annie's book

The band is 1 inch (2.5 cm) in width. There are 39 warp ends.

You can see how the drawdown
illustrates the woven band very clearly.

All of the patterns in the book are clear and

What will be my next choice? There are so many to choose from.

Annie's book gives lots of useful advice about colour and colour combinations. This is a real strength of the book. You will be rushing to the nearest yarn store to buy some colourful yarns.  Her own designs are inspirational.
It is always a thrill to find new books about the craft of band weaving. Annie has been weaving for many years and her creativity shows through in this lovely addition to any weavers bookshelf.

The book is available from her Etsy shop at                                     
A PDF version is due out soon.

Recently I was contacted by a weaver who has become interested in band weaving. Lynne has two small band looms. She allowed me to use her pictures here.

One is a Norwegian cradle loom,bought last year from Vesterheim,the National Norwegian-American museum and heritage centre. The other is a home made tape loom made from an old Port box! It measures 91/2” by 4” by 41/2” high. Lynne managed to put a 6 foot warp on it. The pattern is from Annie MacHale's blog. Once you have caught the bug for weaving bands it is amazing how creative you can be.

Annie uses an inkle loom but there are many ways of weaving these bands.

Here is my YouTube video: Five Ways of Weaving Narrow Bands

My own book on narrow bands is The Art of Simple Band Weaving

In the UK, the Handweavers Studio sells a wonderful range of yarns which are excellent for band weaving.  Their yarns come in small quantities so that you do not need to buy a lot of yarn in one colour. I am sure that other craft stores in the

The Woolery in Kentucky has a lovely colourful selection of yarns.

They invited me to write a guest blog recently which was a great honour.

Happy Weaving

Susan J Foulkes  May 2019

Monday, 1 April 2019

Weaving Letters

Weaving letters with 13 pattern threads

In a previous blog in June 2018, I posted the pattern charts for the letters with 13 pattern threads. Here is the link to the blog post.

Weaving letters and making your own messages is fun. Recently I was asked to weave six sashes for the Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

However, I needed to check that the wording would be the correct length for the sash so I had to weave several samples. Because the design was complicated I used my 32 shaft Megado loom to weave the sashes.

The First Sample

My first sample was too long. I needed to weave the legend 'The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers' twice so that when the sash is worn, it can be read from the front and back  For this sample I used 6/2 cotton and it was too long and too wide.

The Second Sample

I tried a thinner cotton and came up with this design.

I only wove one repeat of the lettering so that I could check the length. This seemed correct.
I chose the colour in the border area to represent dyeing and the red twist on either side of the lettering to represent spinning. The fancy heart pattern will be the centre section which will be on the shoulder of the wearer.

The Third Sample

The sash still seemed a little wide so for the third sample I reduced the white area.

I sent all the samples to the committee so that they could comment and see if they liked the design.  One aspect that I should have foreseen was how clear the letters looked at a distance.  I had been so busy with weaving and looking closely at the sashes, I had not considered how easy it would be to read the message from a distance.  I was given some useful suggestions and went about redesigning some of the letters.

Final version

6 sashes showing the centre section

Here are the final versions.  I do hope that they are useful. I am looking forward to seeing a photograph of the sashes in use.

Do have a go at weaving letters and making your own messages.  Using the 13 Sunna double slotted heddle, weaving letters is much easier than using an inkle loom.

For weavers in the UK, the 13 pattern slot Sunna heddle is available from the Handweavers Studio.

Susan J Foulkes  April 2019.