Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rigid Heddle 8-shaft Pinwheel Weave!

Thanks to Jeen on Ravelry, I found a "recipe" for 8-shaft weaving on a rigid heddle loom.
This is Pinwheel Weave.  Yes, it is very cool.  
It is also somewhat time consuming (with 6 pick-up rows out of every 8 weft throws), so if you like rigid heddle to be a quick weave, this is not the draft for you!  
It is possible to get a nice rhythm going with it though, and the pick-up pattern is not hard to memorize, so if you do not have access to an 8-shaft loom, give this a try!  

I used a merino sock yarn and a 12 dent reed (wanted more wheels across the width) but I think I should have followed Jeen's advice and started out with chunky on a 5 dent, or maybe worsted on an 8 dent.  This would give fewer pinwheels in a row, but also fewer threads to pick up, which would make a significant difference in the time and difficulty of the pattern.

So here's how it goes (though I do recommend going to Ravelry for Jeen's step-by-step instructions and many examples of this pattern in different color combinations plus other variations and other weaving patterns).  (OK, I like Jeen - she's bold and experimental and likes to try out lots of crazy ideas.)

Directions:
A.  Warp your loom with 8 threads of each color, alternating 8 thread colors blocks all the way across.

B.  With your darker color, weave a plain border of some kind, at least 2 rows (more, if you like).

C.  Starting with your darker color, begin the pattern.  You'll do all 8 rows of the pattern with this color.

Pattern:
row 1 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, go over 4 threads and pick up 4 threads.  Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.

row 2 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, go over 3 threads, pick up 1, over 1, pick up 3 threads. 
Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.


row 3 -
Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, go over 2 threads, pick up 1, over 1, pick up 1, over 1, and pick up 2 threads.  Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.
 
  row 4 - no pick-up (take a breath) Heddle down, plain weave shot.

row 5 - no pick-up (take a breath) Heddle up, plain weave shot.

row 6 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, pick up 2 threads, over 1, pick up 1, over 1, pick up 1, and go over 2 threads.  (for those who think analytically, this is the opposite of row 3)
Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.
(this shows the pick up stick making the shed)

row 7 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, pick up 3 threads, over 1, pick up 1, and go over 3 threads.  (opposite of row 2)  (sorry, apparently I neglected to take a picture of this one)
Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.

row 8 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, pick up 4 threads and go over 4 threads.  Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.
Repeat this pattern (rows 1 through 8) with your second color.
And that's it, alternating colors to the end of your project.

D. End with the 8 row pattern in your darker color.

E. Put in your plain weave border.

F.  Finish fringes as desired (I twisted mine in solid color 8 thread units)

And voila, a pinwheel scarf (or dishtowel, or whatever project you choose)

So even though it's pretty slow going, it's actually fun!  Really!  
And it's pretty flash, oh yes it is!

(edited post on March 19 - so sorry, I was in a hurry when I first did this, and put all the process photos in upside down!  All better now.)

8 comments:

  1. Truly amazing, I had no idea that you could do something this wonderful on a ridged heddle, thanks for opening my eyes.
    Maggie again (spinner/weaver, Hampshire England) (still being anonymous with apologises)

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  3. That is fabulous! Thanks for sharing :-)

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  4. This is great. And it's an awesome way to really see how the weave structure works.

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  5. Would this work if you made a string heddle for each of your pick-ups? That way instead of having to use a pick-up stick and memorize the pattern, you could just pick up string heddle 1, then 2, then 3, etc. Or would that negate the point of using a rigid heddle loom to begin with?

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    1. It's perfectly fine to use string heddles and would probably save a lot of time in the end (http://yarnworker.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-heddle-rod-explained.html) - whatever works best for you!

      This pattern is best/easiest on an 8-shaft loom! The only reason for using a rigid heddle loom is for fun/challenge or because you do not have access to an 8-shaft!

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  6. Thank you for the very clear instructions. I am just now sampling pick-up weaves, so I am looking forward to trying this.

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