Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rigid Heddle Loom Class @ Verb

The very first of the month of April was my first Rigid Heddle patterns class at A Verb for Keeping Warm (no foolin'). I had looked forward to this class for several weeks because it was being led by the woman who taught me how to USE my Schacht Cricket RH loom, Kathleen Donohue. Kathleen is an omni-crafty-arty person and she has an ease and style that I really enjoyed during my loom tutorial. I knew she wouldn't disappoint.

All of the students had Crickets, but Kathleen (always the cool kid/early adopter) brought in her majectic Kromksi Harp. WARNING: tool envy... and I got it hard, my friends. As much as I love my cute little Cricket, the Kromski Harp is light years ahead in terms of functionality, versatility and pure style. I'm trying to figure out how to sell my Cricket to fund a portion of the Harp. I'll keep you posted.

But, the point of the class, besides stoking the fires of loom lust, was to show us simple patterns using warp and weft floats.Weft floats are created when a certain number of the down shed warps are lifted up (from the neutral heddle position), which produces a gap in the left-right threads (weft). Warp floats are created when a certain number of down shed yarns are lifted up (when the heddle is in the up position) which produces a gap in the top-bottom threads (warp). A multitude of patterns can be generated from combining and repeating these simple pattern "algorithms". You get even crazier beautiful textures by adding new colors, and, my favorite, handspun.

I had a little trouble following Kathleen's presentation because I have left-right dyslexia and up-down dyslexia. It's not a clinical assessment, but rather my explanation for why I always do/say the opposite of what I mean. I really have to concentrate when I'm working with students because I'll just say the first thing that pops into my head even though I know as I'm saying it, that I've reversed them. Crazy.

I only did about 4 inches of fabric in the class itself, but once I got home and reviewed a couple of texts, I started experimenting. I managed to churn out about 5 feet of a sampler and I learned quite a bit about how to manage the pick-up sticks and how to create patterns/shapes on the fly. I posted FIVE pix of my crazy weaving experiments.

A wonderful book with lots of exercises and patterns is Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle Loom [Spiral-bound]by Betty Linn Davenport. I think Verb is sold out of it at the moment but you can order it directly from Bettty via Amazon. When I ordered my copy a while back, she had written a personal note in it. So cool. Betty has also authored an excellent RH loom introductory text called "Hands On Rigid Heddle Loom Weaving" as well as numerous articles for Handwoven and some other publications whose name is escaping me.


  1. I decided a while back that if I ever broke down and got a rigid heddle, it'd be a Harp. Lovely, lovely things.

  2. Mel!!! Let's get one together. :-)

  3. You are a GONER. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will get your Kmomski whatchamadoo by hook or by crook:)