Band weaving with 11 pattern threads

Weaving a Sámi band with 11 pattern threads.

Sámi shoe band. 

I saw this beautiful band in  Oulu in the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum.  It is a Sámi shoe band. There are three motifs and the pattern repeat is:  A,B,A,C,

Warp and weft details

Warp: red, blue and yellow wool
Background:  yellow wool
Weft:  yellow wool which makes a speckled selvedge.

Warp plan for border  

There are 10 border threads on each side.   The warp plan gives the warp order to the centre. Reverse the sequence for the complete warp. There are 51 warp ends in total.

Remember that the red pattern threads are twice the thickness of the background threads.

Using the Sunna double slotted heddle.

The Sunna heddle has 13 shorter slots for the pattern threads.  If you wish to weave a band with fewer pattern threads some slots will be empty. One pattern slot on either side is left empty.  In order for the threading of the border threads to keep to the correct sequence of hole then long slot, one long slot has to remain empty on each side. 

Threading for the Sunna heddle.  Note the empty long and shorter slot on each side.

Using a standard heddle

Threading for the standard heddle.

Here is the pattern draft. 

first part of draft

There are 58 picks for the pattern repeat so I have divided the chart into two.

second part of draft

This is the second part of the pattern draft. There are 58 picks for the pattern repeat in total.

Using a standard heddle

The dots on the chart indicate which pattern threads appear on the top layer of warp when raising or lowering the heddle. The heddle is raised on the odd number and lowered on the even numbers.
When raising the heddle, pattern threads 2,4,6,8 & 10 appear on the surface. Lowering the heddle gives pattern threads 1,3,5,7,9 & 11 on the surface.

Using a standard heddle on pick 1, you need to pick up pattern threads 1 and 13 from the lower level and drop down pattern threads 4 and 8 from the top level in order to select the correct pattern threads for the surface pattern.

This is an attractive band.  I like the way the weaver has made a speckled selvedge by having two red threads at the end and using a yellow weft.

Can you see on the second part of the draft that the centre of the shapes has a row of three spaces?
 Look at the reverse side of the band. You can see that where there are three spaces on the front, the pattern on the reverse is not clear.  
If you look at the first part of the pattern draft, the spaces are in a cross formation and on the reverse of the band the cross is crisp.  
This is a typical example of Sámi  design and is rarely used in other countries. It means that the band has a definite front and back. I have analysed many bands with this type of motif.  It is used to great effect in the designs.

Susan J Foulkes  January 2015

Weaving a heart pattern.

Here is a pattern for a heart shape using 11 pattern threads. You can use a Sunna double slotted heddle, a standard heddle or an inkle loom.

Pattern for heart shape with 11 pattern threads.
There are twelve picks for this pattern.  Repeat until you have woven the length you require.

Close up of the heart pattern.

Happy weaving

Susan J Foulkes February 2015


  1. Dear Susan,

    Your books and videos have helped me tremendously to learn the art of Sami band weaving, for which I am very grateful. Currently I am weaving one of the pattern from your book and I am encountering a problem that so far I have not been able to solve... It seems some of the pattern threads are being pulled back into the background weave. This is especially visible where the is only one pickup, those don't really show anymore. I have tried a number of things to solve this: pulling harder or less hard on both the warp and the weft, beating harder, manually pulling the pattern threads up above the background weave, nothing works... I am really trying to understand what's going wrong, can you help me? Thank you so much in advance, Lilian from the Netherlands

    1. From your description I think that the problem is that you are lifting and lowering the heddle or inkle loom in the wrong order. Each pattern thread has two background threads next to it. They will cover the pattern thread which is very clear when there is only one pattern thread on the surface.
      Try raising and lowering the heddle or the lifts on the inkle loom in the opposite order. This should solve your difficulty. I usually number the weft picks on my patterns as you can see on the patterns on this blog. If you look at pick one on the heart pattern, lift the heddle to make the pick up. For the inkle loom, look at the dots in the squares. This shows you which threads will be on the surface when you lift or lower the threads on the inkle loom to make the shed. For pick one, five pattern threads will appear on the surface so you will need to push four of the to the lower shed, leaving the centre pattern thread on the surface.
      I hope this explanation is clear for you. I am so pleased that you enjoy patterned band weaving.

  2. Dear Susan,

    My deepest apologies, it somehow slipped my attention that you replied to my question! This was indeed the cause of my problem. I have learned to explain it to myself as 'when I pick up the centre pattern thread for the first time, it should be when I raise the heddle'. I drew the pattern myself based on a picture of a band I really liked, the pattern itself was correct but the starting point matters as well... A valuable lesson! Thank you so much for taking the time to help me solve this problem, Lilian


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