Tutorial-continuous string heddles

Here are step-by-step photos for making continuous string heddles.

I always use the same yarn for the heddles that I use for my warp.  A lot of my indigenous weaving teachers use nylon thread or cord for their heddles as it is less abrasive on the warp. I dislike using nylon but you should experiment and find out for yourself which kind of heddle string you prefer.

I wound a warp for double weave for this demonstration which means that each heddle will be holding a pair of warps. Normally each heddle controls a single warp. Whether you are using doubled or single warps the method for making the heddles does not change. A video of the process can be seen at the end of this series of step-by-step photos.

For double weave, your cross will look like this. Remember that in this technique you are using doubled warps. The all-black warps will form the black border. You have one white and one black warp in pairs in the area where you will weave your motif.

You will be putting each of the pairs of warps that are passing over stick B in a heddle. Open the shed and pass your heddle string through as shown.

Make a slip knot in the end of the heddle string and place it on you heddle stick. Leave a long tail as shown.

Reach down between warp pair 1 and 2 and pull up the heddle string as shown.

Put a twist in the loop.

Place the loop on the stick and anchor it with your left forefinger.

Put an extra twist in the heddle string forming a small loop.

Put the small loop on the stick and tighten it by pulling on the end of the heddle string.

You can now let go and see that your first warp pair is secured within its heddle.

Moving on.....heddles have been made around the 1st and 2nd warp pair and the heddle string is being pulled up to make the 3rd heddle.

Slip the loop on the heddle stick and adjust its length by pulling on the end of the heddle string. Once you have the length correctly adjusted, anchor the loop on the stick with your left forefinger before making your extra twist to secure it.

Continue like this, cut the heddle string and tie the start and end tails together. DONE!

Here is a video of the process from my article Backstrap Basics on WeaveZine.

Simple string heddles without a stick for narrow warps can be made following the step-by-step photos in my article Backstrap Basics on WeaveZine.

© Laverne Waddington and backstrapweaving.wordpress.com, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Laverne Waddington and backstrapweaving.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. […] Tutorial-continuous string heddles Posted by: lavernewaddington | January 9, 2010 […]


    • Hola Herminda y bienvenido!
      Gracias por visitar y espero que vuelvas!

  3. […] Tutorial-continuous string heddles Posted by: lavernewaddington | February 5, 2010 […]

  4. The extra loop is brilliant! My navajo loom has been driving me crazy because the string heddles kept getting uneven. I had been taught to just pull the string through, twist, place it on the stick, and move on. The extra loop keeps them all locked in place beautifully. I can weave faster and much more enjoyably. I also love your site – the amazing work that can be done with such simple tools is so inspiring.

    • I am so glad it helped. It was actually my Navajo teacher who taught that to me! Thanks for visiting.

  5. […] set it up properly – there’s a really nice tutorial with photos and video on this link, from Laverne Waddington’s incredibly informative blog […]

  6. […] same. Then lift up on the dowel to creat a shed! It's what the Vikings did. Here's a nice link. http://backstrapweaving.wordpress.co…tring-heddles/ Your weaving looks very nice so […]

  7. […] I pass, but after a few hunched-over hours I decided there had to be a better way. I looked up a tutorial on tying continuous string heddles (thank you, Laverne Waddington!) and promptly tied four sets of string heddles – one that […]

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