Monday, April 16, 2012

Rigid Heddle Summer Winter Weave!

Well, here's the great Summer Winter experiment!  As you can see, on my Flip Rigid Heddle Loom, it involves 2 heddles, and 2 pick up sticks, and 2 shuttles (and 2 different yarns).

Summer Winter consists of a background of plain weave under/between shots of a pattern (usually a thicker yarn - in this case just a doubled strand of yarn).  

The fabric pattern will have the opposite colors on the other side - thus there is a "summer" side and a "winter" side.  My sample is woven looking at the winter (mostly darker) side. 
Part 1:  Warping up the loom
The first thing you need to know, is that your plain weave ground will be created by both heddles up/both heddles down, so your reeds need to be half the dents that you would normally use for your background yarn (think of it being that the two reeds together need to add up to your desired dent size).  
This is Cascade 220, normally requiring an 8 dent reed, so I've threaded it into 2 - 5 dent reeds (there being no 4 dent size).
The threading is just the usual double heddle method (found in the little booklet that comes with your Flip, or any good Rigid Heddle book, or try http://www.ashfordclub.co.nz/pages/second_heddle.pdf - this one really has the best illustrations and the clearest explanations that I've found so far online)

Part 2:  The Pick Up
You will need more than one pick up.  The A pick up stick can just get pushed to the back of the loom when you're not using it.  The B pick up will need to be re-picked each time you need it, and removed when you're done with that section.
On a symmetrical pattern, the B pick up is the opposite of the A. (There are tons of pattern possibilities, just remember that each new/different shape is a new/different pick-up)
My main pick up patterns were:
A - 3 up/3 down/4 up/3 down/14 up /3 down/4 up/3 down/3 up
B - 3 down/3 up/4 down/3 up/14 down/3 up/4 down/3 up/3 down


I found it easiest to create my pick up in front of the loom, and then transfer it to the back.
Pick up is done with both shuttles down.
Using a stick shuttle (or you can use a piece of cardboard, a ruler, etc.) to isolate the slot threads , use the pick up stick to pick up your pattern.


Insert that stick shuttle into the pick up in front of the heddles to create a shed, and move the pick up stick into that shed behind the heddles (seems like a bit much, but it's sooooo much easier to do the pick-up at the front of the loom that it's worth the trouble)


Part 3:  The Weave Sequence (for "Bricks" variation)
I got the weave sequence from watching a brief post-lecture demo given by Betty Davenport at the Seattle Weavers Guild.  I may not have gotten it quite right, but it seems to work, so here it is:
 
Row 1: Background/Plain Weave
Both heddles up
Throw a shot with your background yarn.





Row 2: Pattern Row
(view from the back of the loom)
The front heddle is up, the rear heddle in neutral, and the pick up stick is up on edge against the rear heddle.
Throw a shot with your pattern yarn.





Row 3: Background/Plain Weave
Both heddles down
Throw a shot with your background yarn.



Row 4: Pattern Row
(view from the side)
The rear heddle is up, the front heddle is down halfway, and the pick-up stick is flat
Throw a shot with your pattern yarn.



Repeat these 4 rows until your pattern is as long as you want it to be.
Slide the A stick to the back of the loom.
Insert stick B and do it all again with the B part of your pattern!
Remove stick B, and keep on going back and forth between A and B as much as you like.

 




Winter
left - bricks
center - columns
right - pairs










Summer
left - bricks
center - columns
right - pairs






Weave Sequence - Pairs Variation:

Row 1: Background/Plain Weave
Both heddles up
Throw a shot with your background yarn.

Row 2: Pattern Row
The front heddle is up, the rear heddle in neutral, and the pick up stick is up on edge against the rear heddle.
Throw a shot with your pattern yarn.

Row 3: Background/Plain Weave
Both heddles down
Throw a shot with your background yarn.
 
Row 4: Pattern Row
The front heddle is up, the rear heddle in neutral, and the pick up stick is up on edge against the rear heddle.
Throw a shot with your pattern yarn.
(whoa - this is the same as row 2!  So you may have to slip around that selvedge thread)

Row 5: Background/Plain Weave
Both heddles up
Throw a shot with your background yarn.

Row 6: Pattern Row
The rear heddle is up, the front heddle is down halfway, and the pick-up stick is flat
Throw a shot with your pattern yarn.

Row 7: Background/Plain Weave
Both heddles down
Throw a shot with your background yarn.

Row 8: Pattern Row
The rear heddle is up, the front heddle is down halfway, and the pick-up stick is flat
Throw a shot with your pattern yarn.(whoa - this is the same as row 6!  So you may have to slip around that selvedge thread) 

And as before, repeat to the size of your pattern.
Then do it all with the B pick up.  And back to A, and back to B . . .

Weave Sequence - Columns Variation:

Row 1: Background/Plain Weave
Both heddles up
Throw a shot with your background yarn.
 
Row 2: Pattern Row 
The front heddle is up, the rear heddle in neutral, and the pick up stick is up on edge against the rear heddle.
Throw a shot with your pattern yarn.

Row 3: Background/Plain Weave
Both heddles down
Throw a shot with your background yarn.

Row 4: Pattern Row 
The front heddle is up, the rear heddle in neutral, and the pick up stick is up on edge against the rear heddle.
Throw a shot with your pattern yarn.
(whoa - this is the same as row 2!  So you may have to slip around that selvedge thread)

And as before, repeat to the size of your pattern.
Then do it all with the B pick up.  And back to A, and back to B . . .

Yes, with columns you only use one of the pick up with heddle positions!  And it does look slightly different, depending on whether you use the front heddle up (like I did) or the rear heddle up for your columns (it affects how the A and B columns meet at the corners) 

A simple checkerboard pattern (pattern colors are reversed on the other side, but still, it looks the same on the other side!)
left - columns
center - bricks
right - pairs




And here's an attempt to get a narrower stripe - the 1 up/1 down pick up section only really works with the columns variation (I know, I should have at least kept pictures of the failed bricks and pairs, but I didn't).




So there you have it!  
It was hard to get into a weaving rhythm when I kept changing the pattern and/or the variation, but when I settled into one and just wove, it did start to flow nicely.  
And though it may seem a bit fiddly, it was lots of fun.  
And the fabric is thick and lush and yummy with this size yarn (and I'm sure it would be lovely and delicate with some tiny yarn - but think of all those threads to pick up!)  
So give it a try and have some fun!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely, clear instructions. I hadn't thought of doing the pick-up from the front and then transferring to the back, but that's a great idea and will save me from 'weaver's back' which I got last time I played with pick-ups!

    ReplyDelete