Posted by: lavernewaddington | December 30, 2016

Backstrap Weaving – A Long Time Coming

Some projects take a long time to finish simply because I run out yarn and can’t add the finishing touches. Then I forget to buy the yarn and the piece gets stashed…out of sight, out of mind. This piece which I had on the loom almost 2 years ago has finally been finished. It was just a matter of buying the purple wool that I needed to weave the edging.wool warp backstrap weavingThis was an experiment to see if I could use up some Knit Picks Palette wool that I had in my stash. I wasn’t sure if it would work for warp-faced weaving with its fairly loose twist and I didn’t want to add more twist myself. I found it wove up well with some extra care and precautions and I decided to use it to weave a piece with 4 selvedges. Below, you can see the final stages where the two woven ends are meeting in the middle . Eventually I had to remove the shed rod and needle weave one of the two sheds. Then, the heddles had to go and I needle wove all the remaining sheds. I split the 2-ply yarn by mistake a few times with the needle and the back of the cloth shows evidence of that.

four selvedge wool warp backstrap weaving

A wool plain-weave runner with four selvedges that I decorated with supplemental-weft patterns.

After finally bringing the purple wool home, I could think about the edging. I decided on the kind of tubular edging pattern that I have seen used by weavers in Chahuaytire, Peru.


tubular band of ChahuaytireI was lucky to have been able to watch a weaver at work on one of these bands and bring home an unwoven warp set up for weaving. Talk about long warps!…this one was created to edge one of the large 2-panel carrying cloths.

My wool cloth was not firm enough to support the spiraling tubular band and so I applied it as a flat edging instead. chahuaytire style edgingThere is always the challenge of figuring how to best disguising the start and finish of the edging band and I all I could come up with was to hem a bit of left-over band and sew it over the spot where both ends meet.

tab to disguise start and finishAnd so, this 2-year old project finally sees it completion.

Other projects sit by while I wait for ideas on how best to finish them…sunlight on red panels backstrap weaving

wall ahnging panels connected by weft twining in progress

ikatThese 3 wall hangings in a series I call Plain Tales are off the loom but remain unfinished as I can’t decide how to finish their fringes.

long silk warp at full stretchAnd now, I have just put together a new warp that will take a long long time to finish not only because it is so long, but also because I have planned a heck of a lot of pick-up for it….3-color reversible pebble weave in 60/2 silk.

On top of that, after finishing about a 1/2” of pick-up, I decided that I prefer the reverse. That would not normally matter. Both faces of a double-faced weaving can be enjoyed. The problem is that I also plan some single-face supplementary-weft patterning and so I need to decide now which side will be the ”good” side. I could flip it over and re-position the heddles. There are lots of heddles. It’s a good thing I like making them. Or, I could simply un-weave the 1/2”.

I got rid of a table in my living room which allowed me to stretch out the warp while I got things settled. Something always gets given away when I arrive home from a trip. This time it was the dining table. More room for weaving…you can see where my priorities lie! I installed a coil rod to help keep things organized on the far side of the cross as well as help settle the plain -weave sections.long silk warp backstrap weavingWhile I was there, I thought I may as well install some heddles…making heddles long silk warp backstrap weaving
Then, I rolled up the far end of the warp so I could fit everything into my usual weaving spot in the bedroom. I am still not a big enough fan of circular warps to have taken that route.

At this time two years ago, I was weaving on another black fine warp. This one was in Guatemalan cotton and I used supplementary weft for the patterns. It was a project that experienced its own share of hiccups with multiple more green motif bhutan scarf I put a lot of strain on that poor cotton warp with all the un-weaving and weaving but it forgave me.

bhutan scarf with borderI am just glad that I decided to stop after only 1/2” on this current project. I hope the silk will be as forgiving if I decide to un-weave.

I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year. Thank you for all your support! See you in 2017.










  1. Great to see all your colorful projects. I would love to catch up with you on the Montagnard weavers. Ju Nie and H’Ngach Rahlan won a North Carolina Heritage Award for their weaving this past May. Drop me a line!

    • Wonderful news about Ju Nie and H’Ngach…a tribute to the hard work done by all of you! I’ll send you an email.

  2. Beautiful, as always! A wonderful 2017 to you!

    • Thank you, Connie! I might see you in the spring.

  3. Such beautiful work. I hardly dare venture a comment as I am a complete beginner. I can understand your dilemma with the finishing. The three pieces are so beautiful and perfect that you don’t want to get it wrong. I love the red and the precision of the designs.

    The finish on the Guatemalan cotton piece is perfect. Another incredible piece of artistry.

    Have you planned out the whole design for your new piece? It is dauntingly long!

    I am amazed at your dedication to task. I know this is a silly question, but do you ever get distracted? As I have a short attention span I am a jack of all trades and certainly no master of any!

    • Hi Melanie. Thanks for your comments. No, I haven’t planned out the whole design for the new piece. I am working on a band of pretty intensive pick-up for the starting edge and after that, I am not sure what I will do. The ideas will come to me as I work on this first bit. And, yes, I get distracted sometimes but only by more ideas for weaving. So, I am pretty much 100% focused on that.It’s never dull and so I am never looking for anything else!

  4. Happy New Year Laverne, I am writing to ask if you could either list on your website or write me personally about opportunities to take workshops with you. I always enjoy the information you share on your posts and look forward to learning how to weave using the back strap method.

    Thanks, Kelli Page

  5. Laverne…your pieces are just so beautiful! I love this new edge trim and how you covered the beginning and end. As you wove the band, did you attach it to the cloth at the same time? I would love to know how to create this edge. I am wanting to weave another bedcover for us and attach an edge trim.

    Wishing you well…Charlotte (in Texas)


    • Hi Charlotte. Thank you for your kind comments. For that edging, I just wove a flat band and then folded it and sewed it to the edge. You could weave any flat band and do that. The tubular bands I weave and sew to cloth need to be applied to sturdy cloth. If not, the cloth itself will curl and ruffle.That is why I chose to weave this one just as a flat band and apply it later.

  6. A very happy New Year to you Laverne. Thank you for sharing your weaving journeys. I look forward to the next in 2017

  7. Stunning and Inspiring! Look forward to your next adventure !

  8. Your weaving is so inspiring Laverne! I never would have imagined it possible to patiently weave on a backstrap with Knit Picks soft spun “Palette”. I will stop complaining about working with fuzzy wool. I hope that even though you have moved your dining table out of your home, that you don’t forget to eat now and then too! All your work is so impeccably woven and finished. Perhaps that is why projects linger for a couple of years until you find the perfect finish! I wish the very best to you in the coming year.

    • Thanks so much, Lausanne. Hope to see you this year.

  9. Happy New Year, Laverne!

  10. Laverne, feliz 2017 para vos también!!! Nuevamente gracias por lo que compartís. Además de bello es inspirador. Cómo me gustaría tenerte más cerca…
    Un abrazo desde Cba. Arg.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: