Flag Inkle Band~
I saw a woven band on the internet some time ago and drafted a pattern from it. It’s a flag pattern, and it sat there for quite a while along with the yarn waiting for me to get to it. Monday rolled around and I realized that it’s Flag day. What a perfect time to start a project with our nations flag showcased? I realize after weaving about six inches of it that I could have drafted it a bit differently. For instance, I could have had my stripes run from blue to white to red, and only had a narrow strip of white on the right selvage. However, my red and blue are next to each other, and I think it’s still very flag like. I may change the pattern, and store it away for future weavings. I warped so much of it that I’m still contemplating un-weaving and adding some warp between them. (see addendum below)
I started with my yarn. Normally I would use a crochet cotton or perle cotton, but I found Bernat’s crochet thread in the colors that I need. It’s not a cotton, but an acrylic, and I find it a tad fuzzier than I like. In the long run that may be an advantage, blending small discrepancies of tension. I have the pattern laid out and just the top two lines showing above my magnet, for these are the only two lines that concern us as we warp, One row of heddled warp and one row of unheddled warp. The rest is just there to give us a visual of the finished product. I use a round magnet, and scoot it over, exposing one pair of warps at a time. It’s much easier to remember our warps in pairs than blocks of color, at least for me. I prefer to begin and end my warp heddled, so I need an odd amount of warps. I think this gives a nicer edge. I also like to have both selvages the same color, so the weft is less visible. Once I have my loom warped I place a brace on two of the pegs. I tend to keep my warp tight, I think it’s easier to work with, and it’s what I’ve grown accustomed to. The brace helps keep my pegs from pulling in and shortening one side of my band.
Once I have my loom warped and the brace on, then I pull the tension bar to stretch the warp to my liking. Now it’s time to start weaving; I use some craft sticks and mini bamboo skewers to begin my weaving. This gives me something firm to beat against, and establishes my pattern, keeping my warp straight. Then I begin my band with my weft. I try to always weave the same way; from left to right in the “UP” shed, and right to left in the “DOWN” shed. Consistency goes a long way in weaving. It takes me about 3.5 inches to establish the proper width of the band. I narrow it gradually, and generally once I think it looks good, If I can still see some weft peeping though, then I can give just the slightest bit more of a tug. Establishing the width can be tricky, it’s easy to have a handsome band, then notice that your weft is visible. Getting this right in the first four to six inches is important; you want to get the most out of your weaving. You don’t want a floppy sloppy band, and you don’t want a lot of it on the cutting floor; there’s enough waste in weaving as it is.
One thing to be on the look out for is – flaws in the warp. Knots, weak spots and other sundry defects are just a by-product of yarn manufacture. When you come across something you don’t want in your weaving, then you must remove it. The best way to do this with Inkle or Tablet weaving is simply cut the warp where it would start with enough extra to tie a knot. Cut out the defect, and tie back on and continue to warp. This way your defect is not in the weaving, and the tie back knot is in the same spot as all your other knots, in the area considered waste anyway.
Addendum – I decided to add four white warps between the blue and the red. I’m much happier with this. I would have taken pictures and chronicled the process, but it was akin to open heart surgery. I couldn’t just drop what I was doing and snap some photos. I looked a bit like an octopus with all those strings, and reaching in between warp, and fiddling around trying to get everything in position. I did get some photos of the new band in progress. I un-wove to just before the craft sticks, and then added my warp. I didn’t want to compromise the rest of the warp. Now I can’t even tell that there is warp added in. It just works out well. I’ll have to give some thought as to what this band will become.