Weaving with the Sigga heddle.

The Sigga heddles from Stoorstalka

This new design of heddle from Stoorstalka makes weaving a particular type of Sami band easier. A Sami weaving tutor worked with Stoorstalka to develop it.

I have made a YouTube video showing how to weave using the Sigga heddle. Weaving Sámi bands with one group of pattern threads 2015  The video shows a band with 10 pattern threads. The pattern for the band is given on the video.

Stoorstalka have just released a new video showing the Sigga 8 heddle in action.  It has English subtitles and is very professional.  I wish my videos were this good.
Here is the link    https://youtu.be/Ta0NthvwMfM

Using the Sigga Heddle.

Here is another pattern for the Sigga heddle.  I used the 16 pattern slot heddle but this pattern only has 6 pattern threads. I used wool from Stoorstalka for the band.  It is very narrow - only 1.4 cm in width.

Warp Details.

Number of warp ends:  31  These are threaded alternately through a hole and a long slot.
Yarn: wool
Number of pattern threads: 6 pattern threads in red wool the same thickness as the background and border threads. These pattern threads are threaded through the shorter slots.

Weave drawdown.

Weave drawdown for background and border threads.
This weave drawdown shows only the background and border threads. They are threaded alternately through a long slot and hole.  It shows the first six picks with no pattern threads.
For this band, the first three picks have the pattern threads on the surface.  For the second set of three picks the pattern threads are on the reverse side. Look at the picture of the woven band to see how the pattern threads appear.

Threading the heddle.

I have found that it is easier to thread the heddle by making two separate warps.  Make a warp for the background and border threads and a separate warp for the pattern threads. Look at the weaving tips at the end of the video.

Thread the background and border threads first. These are threaded through the long slots and holes. The centre background thread is threaded through the centre long slot in the Sigga heddle.

Once these are threaded, take the second warp of 6 pattern threads.  Thread these yarns through the shorter slots in the heddle.  I usually thread them by starting in the middle and working outwards. For this band there are only 6 pattern threads so there are five empty pattern slots on either side.

Threading diagram for the 16 slot Sigga heddle.

The woven band.

Here is the completed band. The band is 1.4cm (0.5 inch) in width.

I made a short YouTube video to show how to weave using the Sigga heddle to accompany the 2015 online workshop with Braids and Bands. Do watch the video so that you understand how to weave this type of band.  There are some weaving tips at the end of the video.

Further information.

There are two books which have patterns for this type of band.  Unfortunately both are out of print. However, here are the details should you wish to search for them.

ISBN 91-631-0498-0

Sameslöjdstiftelsen Sámi Duodji, Same Ätnam 2000

The picture on the front shows the traditional method of weaving.  The digital museum in Norway has a series of photographs showing this method of weaving. You can scroll through several photographs showing how the band is woven ( go to Next above the photograph)  A set of string heddles are used to pull the pattern threads down. The pattern threads are loose so that the pattern can be adjusted on the top and underneath the band whilst weaving.

ISBN 91-631-0499-7

Sameslöjdstiftelsen Sámi Duodji, Same Ätnam 2000

Week two of the workshop looked at bands with two groups of pattern threads.  The video accompanying the workshop is Using the Sigga heddle to weave bands with two groups of pattern threads       http://youtu.be/OGWvsfWr6wk

New Web site information

There is a wonderfully informative web site which gives more patterns for the Sigga heddle.

Check out http://vevstua.bull-sveen.net/?page_id=1337

Happy Weaving

Susan J Foulkes  March 2017


  1. Hi Susan, I just got my soorstålka heddle and only just realized that on the sunna heddle my backgroung weave is not true plain weave. It looks more like a basket weave. Now I saw that the Sigga has hole /slot configeration different. Can you do the same pick-up patterns on a Sigga as on a Sunna, just background looks different? Or is there a way to get a better plain weave on a Sunna. MaybeI ordered the wrong one?

  2. Hi Simone
    With the Sigga heddle the background threads are threaded as for plain weave. The Sunna heddle does have a different configuration. The borders are in plain weave but the background area behind the pattern threads in the centre of the band weaves half basket weave. Here the weft goes over two then under two of the background threads.
    You cannot do the same pickup patterns on the Sigga and Sunna. The Sigga was specifically designed by Stoorstalka and a Sami weaving tutor to weave the Sami bands using the block jumping threads patterns.It is a totally new design for a rigid heddle. It shows how band weaving is still important to the Sami community and how creative they are.
    The Sunna heddle is designed for most of the Sami and Baltic patterns as this is the most common of the threadings. The pattern will be crisp on both sides. The weft should be the same colour as the background thread otherwise it will show in the patterned area. This can be a useful decorative effect and can make the patterned band seem more complex than it is.
    With the Sigga heddle, the weft is hidden across the whole of the band because all of the background threads are in plain weave and are pulled closely together to hide the weft. The technical description is warp faced plain weave.
    I hope this helps.

  3. I am trying to reproduce the pattern of a piece of band trim. I can figure out how to manage the warp and weaving except that my band is woven with a full basket weave. The weft threads appear to be run twice through the same shed and are caught on the right side with a chain stitch using a single ply thread. I am sure this was a commercially produced ribbon (from Sweden), but I am wondering how to do the binding thread, perhaps using a tatting shuttle? Or add an extra warp thread on that side and wrap the weft around it on the return? Also I am not sure how to keep the two weft threads from twisting.

    1. Hi Anne
      yes, for full basket weaver the weft will run twice through the same shed. Usually when weaving full basket weave the warp threads are threaded through different heddles and this helps to prevent twisting. I like your idea of using an extra warp thread at each side I would call it a floating selvedge. You can then twist the weft around it on the return.
      I hope that this helps.


  4. Thank you, Susan. I will keep trying to puzzle this out. You are a real inspiration to me!

  5. Dear Susan, Because I'm new to band weaving, I'm particularly confused about the different kinds of heddles: plain hole and slot, 2 rows of holes, Sunna, and Sigga, and how to know which kind of heddle to use in order to obtain which kind of result. I would love for you to write a blog entry about this. Thank you!

    1. I will write an explanation of the different types of heddles for the blog when I return home from the Weave Fair in Sweden.
      There are some lovely examples of band weaving here.

  6. Dear Susan,
    Thanks a lot for all your informative blogs and videos, I learn a lot from them.
    My question is: you say that the pattern threads are the same thickness as the border threads and the background threads. Is this common in this type of weaving, with the blocks? Because the background is woven in 'warp faced plain weave'?
    Again, I learn a lot from your blogs and videos. But more, I enjoy it. And I admire your work to make this kind of information accessible.

  7. Dear Susan,
    Thanks a lot for all your informative blogs and videos, I learn a lot from them.
    My question is: you say that the pattern threads are the same thickness as the border threads and the background threads. Is this common in this type of weaving, with the blocks? Because the background is woven in 'warp faced plain weave'?
    Again, I learn a lot from your blogs and videos. But more, I enjoy it. And I admire your work to make this kind of information accessible.

  8. Yes it is common in this weave structure. The pattern threads are in blocks so they stand out on the weave surface. They do not need to be in a thicker yarn. Using the Sunna heddle which does have a different weave structure the pattern threads stand alone. They need to be thicker so that they show clearly on the surface.
    I am so pleased that you enjoy the weaving. It can be an absorbing hobby.
    Susan J Foulkes

  9. Bonjour ,souhaitant faire du tissage de bande et n’ayant que des livres en anglais que je ne comprends pas , je voudrais savoir si quelqu’un peut m’aider ,j’ai le livre de susan foulke en autres et je ne comprends pas comment on fait un ramassage , ni comment disposer les fils au départ de l’ouvrage .
    J’aimerais aussi acheter un peigne assez grand pour faire des bandes larges . Je remercie d’avance là où les personnes qui pourraient m’aider .
    Une vieille dame passionnee

  10. Monique Thank you for your question. I do not know of any books in French. The wide heddle is available by mail order from Stoorstalka. the address is https://shop.stoorstalka.com/en/products/weaving/
    Also, this wonderful shop in Sweden sells lovely wooden heddles.
    There are many YouTube videos about band weaving. Here is one of mine about threading the heddle. https://youtu.be/EfjRnn08OIU

    here is another video which is excellent. https://youtu.be/pbFzDb5A9ro


  11. Judith Andersson27 April 2020 at 16:05

    Hello, Susan: I have been watching your videos with great interest, and would like to ask your advice. I would like to weave some fur from my late German Shepherd into a memorial cuff bracelet. I have some alpaca fiber in matching colors and thought to blend it with the dog fur to add strength and spin in a smooth worsted yarn. Question: should I ply it for extra strength? I plan to get the Sigga heddle and set up a short back-strap warp. The dog fur ranges from black, through a muddy-middle color, to honey, and then blond. Since the weft will not show, I guess I could use the muddy-middle color for that - correct? Any tips or further advice would be gratefully received. Stay safe, and keep the videos coming!

    1. Hi. I am not a spinner so I cannot advise you about this. Certainly I have heard of people using dog hair blended with wool so it would be an option. It is the warp threads that need to be strong. Weft threads can be weaker. Yes you can use the less attractive muddy colour for the weft. It is a good way of using less attractive or weaker threads. I hope your weaving goes well.

  12. Hi there. I am Carsten from Denmark.. I am looking for a nice handwowen band to put around my Shamanic drum. Style, Nordic or Siberian if posible.. Is there anybody who can made and sel this to me ? my mother is a weaver, but way to old to weav anymore.. Best regads Carsten 10 Januar 2021..


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