Posted by: lavernewaddington | September 27, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Stepping into Curves

I have been at my loom these past two weeks but also at my laptop keyboard as I move ahead with the new Andean Pebble Weave pattern book I am preparing. The new book has grown from 127 charts to 132…Help!…I can’t seem to stop! Give it one more week and I think I will be done. I am very excited about it. It has been fun weaving the new patterns into samples to be photographed for the book. Each block chart has its own photographed sample.

Between bouts of charting and weaving samples I wove the Silver Fern leaf pattern that I showed you in progress in my last post. Maori Koru motifs represent the curly yet-to-be fully unfurled fern leaves and I wanted to draw, chart and weave a representation of my own as a joyful reminder of my recent visit to New Zealand.

My first sample of the shape was a little too flat along its bottom edge and so I made a few adjustments in an attempt to create a bit more of an impression of “curviness’ and then set about weaving a narrow band for a book mark in 60/2 silk.

This is really just a test-run of my charted pattern but it is nice that it can be turned into something useful like a book mark.

The sample will help me see if the proportions are to my liking and if the figure looks too flat or is indeed quite curvy as I have hoped it to be. It will also help me to experiment with the ideal width.

My sample started out too narrow but the figure started to settle and look nicely rounded as I allowed the band to widen. I attempted to let the band go even wider hoping for even better proportions and curves but might have overdone it at the end as I could see a little  bit of red weft exposed in the black areas.

I am pleased with the result and may end up using this motif in a larger project at some point.

In Maori culture, the Koru is said to represent renewal and hope for the future. As there have been some quite significant changes going on in my life recently, these concepts are particularly meaningful to me right now. 

Next on the loom will be a silk neck ribbon for a brilliant little macrame seahorse that I bought from a talented artisan in Australia. I think I am going to use some of the patterns in the Rivers and Oceans set that I published in my Complementary-warp Pattern Book. That set is made up of some of my patterns as well those contributed by my weaving friends Julia and Kristin….a variety fish, sea creatures and watery swirls and eddies. Those watery patterns should make a very pretty band for the seahorse.

A few of the fish and water-themed motifs from my Complementary-warp Pattern Book.

Something else that is underway right now is another ikat piece using the tiny balls of naturally-dyed silk that I was given a few years ago. I combined a lot of the colors in two ikat warps earlier this year. They were very colorful base warps that I proceeded to wrap in ikat tape and then dye jet black. The areas wrapped with tape resisted the dye and gave me a warp of multi-color figures with stepped diagonals on a solid black background which I could then weave into cloth.

My latest warp is much more subdued as I am using a collection of paler more subtle colors…mostly the green, grey and blue-ish tones with a smattering of gold. I plan to dye this one blue with some powders that my friend Mog gave me when I was visiting in Australia. It involves mixing two lots of powder to get the blue I want. Mog gave me very clear instructions. I just hope I get it right!

As far as the pattern goes, I am still using figures with stepped sides but I am making the steps a lot smaller in the hope of creating something slightly more curvy….stepping my way slowly into curves, you might say. Even if I fail on the attempt at curves, I think the pattern will be quite nice…that is, IF I tie the ikat tape tight enough to avoid leaks and IF the threads don’t shift too much as I weave and IF I get the right tone of blue when I dye….so many things to consider when doing ikat!

And, I have this idea of adding some plain weave in a pale tone of blue to the sides when the time comes to weave the piece. I might weave some motifs into that part using supplementary weft. Yes, I can feel very confident about this plan at this point as the actual weaving part of this project is still a long way off!

Here’s the warp stretched on my ”ikat frame” with some ikat ties in place.  I have already decided that the first shape on the left is not quite right and so I will most likely be cutting those ties off, adjusting my pattern and re-tying. So, I see days and days of tying plastic strips on this warp… measuring, adjusting, cutting, starting again! Call me crazy but it is actually very satisfying. It provides a nice ”relax” time away from the keyboard and the book. In the same way, the book gives me nice breaks from tying ikat. It’s all good!

I will leave you with a reminder that all my e-books (PDFs) are now available at Taproot Video. It has been impossible to change every single old link on my blog over the last nine to ten years from Patternfish to the books’ new home at Taproot Video (I am, however, still trying to!) I see via my blog stats that a few people still click on the old Patternfish links now and then. I do hope that you somehow find your way to the Taproot Video website eventually.

If you are curious and/or excited about my up-coming new book of Andean Pebble Weave patterns but have not yet learned how to do complementary-warp pick-up or Andean Pebble Weave, my e-books(PDFs) on Complementary-warp Pick-up and Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms will show you how. The Complementary-warp Pick-up book teaches you a method that can be used on any kind of loom. The only experience you need is the ability to warp your loom and weave a plain-weave warp-faced band. The method enables you to weave Andean Pebble Weave and any other kind of complementary-warp structure.

The Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms book teaches methods that are particularly suitable for those who use a standard inkle loom. Those who are already weaving plain-weave bands on their loom will have all the skills necessary to continue with this book. Support in the form of video clips is also provided.

I hope to show you a lovely ikat warp on the loom and ready weave the next time I see you here. And maybe I will announce the release of the new pattern book and show you my seahorse pendant on its silk band. Thank you all for your continued support. Now it’s back to work!









  1. Thank you for another dose of loveliness! I really love your new Koru motifs – they remind me of magic bean sprouts, and just look very elegant.
    One question – on the ikat warp, is that a chopstick you used as a stick shuttle for your weft?

    • Thanks, Deanna. The shuttle in that picture is just a regular dowel rod. I think many years ago I sharpened its tip with an motorized pencil sharpener.

  2. Always learning from you. Is the Ikat sample plain weave without patterning? However you made it, I love it.

    • Thank you. Yes, all the pattern comes from the tying and dyeing. After that, it’s just plain weave.

  3. Wonderful new designs! Looking forward to your new book, though I still have a lot to learn from the previous books!

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