Posted by: lavernewaddington | February 2, 2018

Backstrap Weaving – Bands to Bracelets

My contribution to the Cuff and Bracelet WAL.

February is here and we are still weaving along in the Cuff and Bracelet Weave-along on Ravelry. I had initially proposed closing it at the end of January but I think that folks are just getting warmed up! I have to hang my head in guilt as, since finishing the first cuff, I have allowed myself to be completely captivated by my paisley project.

Yes, I am still sampling paisley shapes! I took my own advice from my tutorial on Designing for Double Weave in which I say that once you have traced your pattern onto the charting paper, you should put the original drawing away because you will never be able to exactly replicate it and you will, therefore, always be comparing and feeling that the shape you have charted is not good enough. The problem is that I changed my traced shape and re-drew and reshaped and changed it again and again to the point where I had completely altered it. It no longer looked like the classic paisley shape and looked like more like a large comma….a large circle with a tail. I had to get the original drawing out to remind myself of the original idea and start all over.

Now I am working on all the little spots and dots that fill in the spaces within and around the paisley shapes and am finding that there is a very fine line between a well-balanced layout and total chaos! I learned the value of a good pencil and eraser….love my palomino Blackwing 602…thanks, Lori for putting me onto those.

Here’s the latest sample warp. I seem to be in a blue phase…such a nice cooling color in this summer heat. The heddles are made with tatting thread which is a similar girth to the 60/2 silk. They work pretty well together. I am using four heddles simply because my warp thread is so fine and because there are so many ends…360 in the pattern area. Normally when I do double weave, I keep it simple and reduce the clutter by just operating with two sheds. On narrow bands I work much faster that way with just two basic sheds.

Participants in the Ravelry Weave-along have been producing some gorgeous things.

KEOG’S bracelet is so elegant with its magnet closure. She said that she was not sure about how well the magnet would hold and I agree that the bracelet could well snag on something which might pull the two magnets apart. I think that she could add a fine safety chain to the loops on the ribbon clamps so that the bracelet could be opened wide enough to slip over her hand. Then she could close it with the magnet. I imagine that the dangling safety chain would look elegant too.

Here is Katherine’s first weave-along band cut into two for two potential bracelets. They came out a little too wide for her hardware and so we will see if she comes up with another idea for transforming these bands into bracelets. She used the Andean Pebble Weave structure to create her patterns.

I love the way Jan posed her cuff for this picture. She wove a pattern in a supplementary-warp structure. She used a technique for the closure which is used by the Mayoruna people of Peru as described in this issue of The Weaver’s Journal.

Aphelocairos is weaving the above piece on her inkle loom using a pattern and instructions from my Complementary-warp Pick-up book and has joined the weave-along so that she can make a bracelets with her bands. Any loom that allows you to create warp-faced fabric can be used for this pick-up technique which requires just two basic sheds.

I might use this now as an excuse in this New Year to remind you of my latest e-book which is available from….A an edition in German is under construction.

It is aimed at ”experienced” band weavers by which I mean that you need to know how to warp and set up your loom of choice and weave warp-faced plain-weave bands. It’s as simple as that!

Below, you can see Rosemary’s band. She is working from my book too and is using a combination of linen and cotton.

She’s working on a backstrap loom, has wound a long warp, and hopes to get several bracelets from it.

While Katy-cat awaits the arrival of her jewelry findings and ribbon clamps, she wove a pretty plain-weave band and made her first bracelet. She is not crazy about the lobster-claw clasp. Admittedly, it takes some practice connecting bracelets with those kinds of clasps with just one hand. I have it down now. 🙂

Here’s Kathrine’s next warp…so soft and pretty…

Ooh and I just spotted some progress on this warp…this is Knit Picks Curio cotton, by the way…

Wendy’s variegated yarn warp in jewel colors came out beautifully with its Andean Pebble Weave pattern…

Janet has been learning complementary-warp pick-up from my book. She is not actually participating in the weave-along but perhaps she will decide to make this band into a bracelet or two when she is done. I love this pattern which is included in the book. My weaving teachers here in Bolivia always weave it in black and white, as have I. It is great to see it in other colors.

Janet is using a Gilmore Wave loom and her second band, using another pattern from my book, is even more striking than the first….

My inbox brought me some lovely work by Janneke with star patterns from my second book…

My inbox also brought news from Dorinda. She lives up in the highlands of Cochabamba and works with Maxima and the other weavers in the co-operative that she helped establish. Firstly, she told me that she had mailed my latest order of long bands that the ladies make with their handspun naturally dyed wool. I always order a mix of bands…half with cochineal red and half without….

Then she showed me a picture of what Maxima has been weaving using my second book. I left a copy of the book with the ladies when I visited last year. Maxima can weave the patterns by simply looking at the photos of my samples. Other ladies in the co-op say that they read the charts. Each person has their own way of seeing things. The problem for Maxima is that not every single pattern has a pictured woven sample. Here is a band which Max wove working from the pictures in my book. This puts a big smile on my face!

Dionicia, who is the oldest member of the co-op at 86 years of age, looked at one of Max’s other sample bands when she was in town. It was another band that Max had woven using patterns from my book. Dionicia then went back to her community and wove the pattern from memory. An NGO in town has given synthetic yarn to the ladies and encouraged them to weave tapa bancas (bench seat coversto be sold at the local market. Dionicia has made her first one and included the pattern she had glimpsed on Max’s band. Yes, each person has their own way of learning new patterns!

Here is Dionicia studying and attempting to replicate the fish pattern on a band, which you can see on her lap, that I had taken to show on my visit last year…

She was more than willing to help younger ladies to get on their way when we all got together to weave last year and she was the one who generously lent her hat for me to wear in the sun…

Julia Tate in the Ravelry group has been working a large projects. First, she recently finished this stunning piece patterned with supplementary weft which she plans to make into a pillow cover…

And now she is using a rigid heddle with her backstrap loom to create this…

Carlos wove this elegant cotton piece. It is such a gorgeous combination of subtle color and pattern…

And here is one of his latest projects. I love seeing other people’s set-ups. I see a nice coil rod in place there.

Winding wide warps with perfectly even tension is always a challenge. I have my way which involves warping in sections. I don’t allow the threads to climb up too high on the warping stakes so that I don’t risk having the stakes lean in. Carlos is experimenting with different ways and is interested in a set-up that he has seen in videos on warping in Mexico, a system which is also used in some communities in Guatemala. My teachers in Guatemala used a system of spaced vertical stakes. He showed a screen shot of the warping board and is interested in building one of his own….

And here I will leave you to make some more progress on my spots and dots and swirling paisleys….hoping not to fall over the edge into chaos!








  1. So much information and beautiful photos Laverne. I just LOVE your blog, thank you :-))

    • Thanks, Jenny. It’s always heartwarming to receive such an enthusiastic response.

  2. I really enjoy seeing the projects that other people make! And also reading about your own challenges and solutions. There is so much to learn!

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: