Posted by: lavernewaddington | April 3, 2020

Backstrap Weaving – A Post with No Name

It’s been a while since I last posted. Usually these disappearances are due to the fact that I am away from home, busily traveling and weaving with my friends. Not so this time. I am here in Bolivia and, like so many of you, am in lock-down. Every time I came to my blog thinking about writing a post, I would look back in wonder at my last post where my biggest “dilemma” was the fact that I couldn’t get alum….imagine! How could things have changed so much in that relatively short time?… and that would leave me with nothing to say and I would have to go away and think. 

Physical distancing is not a hardship for me. I have always called my home in Bolivia my “Fortress of Solitude”.

So, I decided to take some time to let ideas for my next ikat project percolate even deeper and further. I picked up my inkle loom and started weaving the pattern samples for my next book on DOUBLE WEAVE ON INKLE LOOMS. And once I got started on that, I was on a roll and I have been working away at writing, weaving, photographing and shooting videos.

Shooting videos is usually a bit of a frustrating business. I live in a five-block multi-story condo which is usually bursting with life and sounds.., salsa and cumbia music blasting, children playing and rattling their wheeled toys over the cobbles in the courtyard, car alarms going off, planes flying into the nearby military airport, the honking horns of traffic around the nearby street market, shrieking pet parrots and barking dogs, high energy, high-volume conversations between neighbors (sometimes you would swear that they are arguing, but no, that’s just a normal conversation)! The last time I shot videos for my books was on a Christmas Day and a New Year’s Day a year ago…the only two days with guaranteed quiet as folks slept off the revelry of the previous evenings.

My makeshift photo/video studio at my living room window.

Now, it’s quiet…eerily quiet, every day. It’s so un-Bolivian. I am used to everything being done here at twice the volume that one would experience in other parts of the world. So, apart from interruptions from the parrot shrieking “Bonito!” every now and then, shooting videos in these last days has been a breeze! Even the dogs are quiet. They would erupt into a frenzy when their owners came home but I guess the owners are not going out any more. At midday the sirens sound to announce that curfew has begun but I’ve been able to work around that.

A double-weave key fob with an original pattern designed by one of my students.

Finally, I can see far enough ahead to the end of this writing project. I am hoping that my DOUBLE WEAVE ON INKLE LOOMS book will be available in the next few weeks.

It has dozens of step-by-step photos, detailed instructions and video clips to guide you through this versatile structure.

I liken weaving patterns in this structure to doodling in plain weave. There is a detailed section in the book on designing your own patterns. You could color the cells in any old fashion on the blank pattern charts that are provided without putting any thought into it at all and still be able to weave your “pattern” in warp-faced double weave. It’s that simple. This structure does not use warp-floats. Therefore, you do not have to consider the limitations of float length and alignment when you are designing.

For those who don’t wish to design their own patterns, the book includes at least 45 charts with patterns suitable for bands (I can’t help adding more and more so that number will, most likely, increase!).

The book is aimed at those who use the standard inkle loom. It does need to be a sturdy loom, though. I use the Ashford Inklette and it does the job very well. Some of those teeny tiny tinkle-type looms would probably not stand up to it.

Various finishing techniques are covered too! My bedroom floor is snake pit of woven sample bands!

I hope at a later date to follow up this book with one on wider patterns and some more advanced variations of the method.

Here’s a double-weave band of Joy and Hope for all of us that I wove some time ago in 60/2 silk using the more advanced method for fine threads and for projects that are far too wide for most inkle looms.

Click on this 12-second video if you would like to hear the melody….

In my next posts I will show you pictures of more of the smaller patterns that appear in the new book 🙂

When taking breaks from working at my laptop, I have been re-visiting some of my smaller projects and planning things so I can keep weaving even though I am so involved with writing right now. I made these lanyards for a conference several years ago. The widest one is 1/2”. Bands like these would make great ribbons on which to hang pendants.

The other small items that I love making are wrist cuffs….

I can’t have enough cuffs!

But, the moment that I am well and truly done with the book, I’ll be back tying strips of plastic for another ikat project . I am happy to be spending all this time thinking about it as my silk supply has become even more precious now and I don’t want to waste it on anything hastily put together. Who knows when we will be able to travel again? I had become used to going to the States and bringing back silk and other fancy stuff for my weaving. Mail? Forget it! I sent an envelope of documents by Certified Mail to Australia last October. It still hasn’t arrived!

It’s been heart-warming seeing my online friends finding the time before and during periods of isolation to weave projects using my books. Susan Bratt made another beautiful guitar strap using a pattern from More Andean Pebble Weave Patterns.

Sally Backes is using one of the sweet Windhaven looms to weave a band with a pattern from Complementary-warp Pattern Book.

Linda confesses to being hooked on Andean Pebble Weave and the use of 5/2 perle cotton. I can understand that. The 5/2 size is one of my favorites too. These patterns are from More Andean Pebble Weave Patterns.

Leslie Clark’s band is destined to be a guitar strap. She has combined the S hook pattern from my Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms book is different ways along the edges and central panel of her band.

Marsha Kimball has woven some of the figures from the Rivers and Oceans-themed set into one of her latest bands. This set of patterns appears in my Complementary-warp Pattern Book. along with Christmas, Garden, Animal, Geometric, South American and Spinners and Weavers sets.

Let me leave you all with an image from the shoulder-bag fabric that I wove some time ago….Maja in Germany designed a weaver at her loom in Andean Pebble Weave and allowed me to adapt the pattern in a few ways so that I could chart her version and my adapted one for my pattern book.

I placed two of the ladies weaving together and designed a nice shady tree for them…an idyllic scene…two backstrap weavers sitting peacefully beneath a tree practicing physical distancing.  Take care everyone and stay well.



  1. thank you for your generous sharing, especially re patterns going from tablet to pickup and back to tablet; and thank you even more for something to look forward to, i loved hearing something of the background of the new book. be safe and i will be eagerly awaiting the inkle doubleweave treasure. and may we have a better new world. kj

    • Thanks so much, Karen. I hope you found a way to weave that tablet pattern.

  2. Can’t wait to see your new book! Love the photo of solitude on the dunes. Lockdown and quiet and lots of time to weave… Thank you so much for everything you do…

    • Thanks as always for your support, David. Those dunes are amazing. They just come out of nowhere in what would otherwise be an area of jungle.

  3. Thank you Laverne!

    • Ingrid!! It’s been so long. I hope you are dong okay.

  4. What a beautiful blog, Laverne! I love hearing more about your lifestyle in Bolivia, even though it’s not life as usual, it’s heartwarming to picture you there, and glad to hear that you’re staying safe and healthy and I hope the same for everyone there! I’m in the midst of finishing an egg basket from Jane’s class and two complementary warp projects, even making good progress on the sticky icky warp, I’m actually enjoying it, though I’m calling it a project in patience! Hugs to you! Wendy

    • Hi Wendy. It’s so good to hear from you. I miss our weaving group so much!

  5. Thank you, Laverne for reaching out to us. I wish you would take band weaving to a table loom…just for the fun of it!

    • Hi Charlotte. Take it to a table loom…for my sake or yours? I am not sure what you mean. I am more than happy at my backstrap loom! My book Complementary-warp Pick-up describes a method that can be used on any loom that allows you to weave warp-faced bands.

  6. I lived in Bolivia with Peace Corps, curious where you are and how shut down is perceived by community.

    • Hi. I live in Santa Cruz. I am kind of worn out writing to friends and family describing the situation here and I hope you will understand if I don’t feel like going into here on the blog. Thanks for visiting.

  7. I want to wish you and all your loved ones all the best in these trying times. I also want to thank you so much for your site. I have learned so very much already, and have barely begun to scratch the surface. Your weaving is beautiful, and you are a fantastic teacher. I am so thankful that, although we are living in lock down, we have the possibility of reaching around the world to so very many other people through sites like yours.

    • Thank you so much for this sweet message, Cynthia! Take care and enjoy the weaving.

  8. Looking forward to buying your new book – and then revisiting double weave with fine threads! Thank you for this dose of loveliness – they are always appreciated, but even more so these days!

    • Thanks, Deanna. You will find that I do quite a few things differently on the inkle loom. It’s been interesting translating it all from backstrap.

  9. Dear Laverne, almost all the world is in lockdown at present , and I guess that weavers are getting back to those dogs on their looms. In point of fact I have now finished a mat that has been languishing for at least 7 years! As with most of your followers , I am very excited at the prospect of a new book of patterns from you.

  10. I love your post. In a strange way, I find it comforting to know that we are all alone “together”. I’m looking forward to your new book. Stay safe.

    • Together alone….that’s true, Tracy, and I love seeing your updates on Facebook! You live in such a beautiful area.

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