Pick-up, Weave, Change, Beat, Tug . . .
Anyone who has woven an inkle band knows this routine. We chant an eternal mantra while we teach a particular warp-faced pattern to our fingers.
- 1- Pick-up warp to make the pattern;
- 2- Weave the row close to the fell, leaving a small loop of weft;
- 3- Change the shed;
- 4- Beat by making a hard push toward the fell line with a beveled-edge shuttle; then,
- 5- Tug gently and firmly on the weft to close the loop and bring the warp in line with the woven edge of the piece.
The sixth step should be to take a few seconds to admire your handiwork. (I employ this step at regular intervals.)
A purist will tell you a true inkle band must be produced on an inkle loom. That’s well and good if you are a purist and have an inkle loom that meets your every need. However, I challenge even the purest of purists to determine if a beautiful inkle band was produced on an inkle loom, or a rigid heddle loom, or a table loom, or . . . Well, I see you get my meaning.
Recently, I inkled a couple of lengthy projects on my old four harness loom. A sample using two shafts with the reed removed proved difficult for the metal heddles. They scrunched together and argued over who should be up and who should be down. To settle the dispute, I cut off the sample and slayed the center of a 10 dent reed, 2 warps per dent. The reed in the unused beater bar kept the heddles happy.
Without a sufficient width of taut warp or woven cloth on which to rest my tools, I dropped the pick-up stick and the bevel-edge shuttle about 100 times. I longed for my little inkle loom which rested on the worktable. Then, needing a place to rest a book while I learned a new pattern, I finally got innovative. A large cutting board neatly spanned the open space and became a mini loom-based worktable.
I am already planning my next project: an inkle krojbragd pattern (explanation to follow), using three shafts instead of two. Yes! An inkle on more than 2 shafts! One heddled row with the unheddled row divided into two sections.