Friday, May 18, 2012

Rigid Heddle Waffle Weave!

I love the texture of waffle weave, so when I saw "Waffle weave on a rigid-heddle?  Yes, you can!" by Kati Reeder Meek (in "4 Free Table Runner Patterns from Weaving Today"), I had to try it!
I made it as dishtowels instead of table runners, and totally messed around with the colors (the pattern is a sweet and simple blue and white) just for fun ('cos that's how I am).  

It's set on a 12 dent reed, 15" wide in the reed, with 3/2 pearl cotton and 22/2 cottolin (cotton/linen blend) squeezed in with the cotton every 4th thread (which ends up as 18 epi).

The waffle cells are created with floats which are made with the good old pick-up stick.  These float rows also have a double strand of 22/2 cottolin added.  This adds a little more depth and texture to these little waffle cells.

I also tried out slim boat shuttles with this, since the yarns were smaller than my usual knitting yarn, and could be easily wound on a bobbin.
They really worked just fine (except in that lower float shed where they did have a tendency to dive right down through those big spaces if I wasn't careful).
Worth using these again (so much faster to wind than a stick shuttle!).
 With the heddle up, the stick slides forward flat and a little shed drops down below - making weft floats on the bottom, and warp floats on the top.  (notice the 3 threads coming through the shed - one 3/2 cotton and two 22/2 cottolin)
Then 2 shots of plain old plain weave with the 3/2 cotton alone.

With the heddle down (or in neutral- either one seems to work for this), the stick pops up on its edge and sits right behind the heddle - making the float shed on top.
Two more shots of plain weave with plain cotton, then back to the other float!

Be aware of the shrinkage on this weave structure - mine drew in a bit, and shrunk quite a bit.  Here's the stats - 15 by 27 on the loom, 13 and 1/2 by 25 right off the loom, and down to 12 by 24 after washing - mostly due to the amazing yarn shrinkage as the cells relax.

Here's a closeup so you can really see the weave structure with it's triple thread floats, and the amazing difference in size and texture between the washed (on top) and unwashed (on bottom) towels.

The pattern is not too difficult - I'd even say it was lots of fun!  And it comes out looking really fine, and now I have 2 really fun and functional dish towels!  

Oh yes, and 2 washcloths (had a bit of warp left to play with).


  1. wow, I was told this was possible last weekend, but not how, this is really great, thank you.
    I'm off to have a go!
    Maggie, spinner and weaver, Hampshire England
    (sorry had to go anonymous as I don't understand what I'm supposed to do with comment as, Maggie)

  2. You did a fabulous job with the weaving. Really nice!

  3. What placement does the pick up stick go in behind the heddle?

    1. I'm not sure what you're asking me Nick - check out the photos in my post and if you still have a question let's see what we can figure out!