Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Designing stripes Two further ideas

Designing Stripes.

I love stripes and designing stripes for a particular purpose. (see my post for April 2015)

However, I also practice designing stripes using narrow warp faced bands.  They are very quick to weave and are a great way of deciding which colours go well together.

Designing band patterns.

The first decision is band use which gives me a range of appropriate yarns to use. The use will also indicate the desirable band width.

I have sets of bands woven with 60 warp ends each of which has three stripes.  I have sets of bands in silk, cotton, cottolin and linen as these are the usual threads that I use.  If I need a band of a particular width, I can look at my sample of bands in a particular thread to see approximately how many warp ends I need for a particular width.  The individual bands in three colour stripes make width measurement easy. Each colour is 20 warp ends.

Here is a sample of my page of cotton bands.

One of my reference pages in my own files of striped bands

Once I have the approximate number of warp ends and type of yarn to use I can think about designing a band pattern.

My book The Art of Simple Band Weaving is a compilation of many of the narrow warp faced bands that I have woven.  It is also my guide when designing. I look through the pictures of woven bands to see the effect that I want to produce.  The bands are divided into broad colour groups, so I can see what I have woven before and what colours produce particular effects.

I have discovered that I prefer symmetrical patterns so sometimes I deliberately design a non-symmetrical pattern.  Sometimes it is useful to break out from familiar and well tried ways! Weaving a short sample for a narrow band is not time consuming but can be a valuable way of trying out new colour combinations and pattern stripes.

Another source of ideas and inspiration is the internet. I have been pinning pictures onto my Pinterest board as it is very convenient to have a record of different materials with stripes. Do check out this resource as it is a very convenient way of grouping similar images together. The link is on my blog page.

Old weaving books can also have useful tips.  This chart came from a weaving book published in the 1920,s
Stripe pattern templates 

This is a graphic outline of common stripe sequences.

Last year. I organised a workshop about stripes for the Durham Guild. One exercise involved everyone choosing their favourite colours.  They coloured in the graphic chart to produce a number of different stripe ideas. Here are a few of their examples.

Yarns were chosen and made into a yarn wrap to see how the colours and proportions worked together. This was a warm up exercise to help them think about colours and spacings.

Designing with colour.

I love to practice designing stripes using narrow warp faced bands.  They are very quick to weave and are a great way of deciding which colours go well together for many different weaving projects.

In The Art of Band Weaving, I describe how I find new colour and pattern combinations. Here is an example of the method of playing with colour combinations.

Look at the picture of a peacock feather.

picture of a peacock feather

Take two pieces of card and place them over the picture.  Leave a narrow space between the two cards and you have a stripe of colours.

A stripe of the picture

From this stripe I designed this band.

I used 2/60 silk used double to make the band wider.

There are 46 warp ends for this band
My Swedish band loom is so quick and easy to use.  I wove this band for this blog.

The band being woven on my Swedish band loom.

Here is a close up of the band. The actual width is 1.5 cm.

A close up of the band.

Enjoy experimenting with yarns and stripes.

Happy weaving.

Susan J Foulkes  June 2016


  1. I love the idea of isolating the colours by using two cards to leave a strip of colour. I will definitely try this method. Thank you for the inspiration.

  2. Susan I have a picture for you of another curved stick loom that was in Anete Karlsone's Pattern Sashes. I just got a copy from Latvia. I'd be happy to send it to you since it is more detailed.

    1. I would love to see it. Thank you

    2. I have looked at the picture of the curved stick loom. I had not really noticed it before and it is very detailed. Thank you for pointing it out.


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