Learning a new Rigid Heddle Technique

My friend and business mentor, Irene of Cotton Clouds asked me to weave a scarf as a sample for the Coloring Contest for Weavers that is on her website. Usually I can whip up a scarf in a few hours, but with an “irene project”, as I fondly refer to our endeavors, there is always something that slows me down. This scarf was to be on the rigid heddle loom AND using a pick-up technique. I have been planning to teach myself those techniques, but have never quite got around to it. Well, now was the time.

Irene sent me several colors of Cotton Classic and Cotton Classic Lite yarn and I started to play around with color order.  I chose a warp float pattern out of The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick. The pattern unit is six threads so I wanted to make the color changes in 6 thread increments. I arranged the colors randomly with the exception of using the same color at each edge. Here is the sample I wove. I used the heavier Cotton Classic first (bottom of sample) in purple and navy, then the lighter Cotton Classic Lite in navy and then lavender, and then black 5/2 cotton.

This is a detail of the middle part of the sampler. Notice the huge difference there is depending on the value of the yarn you use.  These two sections are the same pattern but the lighter yarn shows the pattern as circles. The darker weft accents the warp floats.

This is the back of the sample. Warp floats on one side mean weft floats on the other.

I like both effects but decided to use the darker yarn for the final scarf. I made other changes as well. When you look at the top photo what does your eye see? I first notice the light value stripes. I decided that was too distracting.  I also decided to vary the size of the stripes.  However I didn’t have enough yarn to wind another warp. So I removed the lightest value yarns from the warp and rearranged the other yarns in the rigid heddle, adding a few more warp ends as needed. Then I wove with purple. The result is below. Unfortunately the color of the photo below shows up differently than the photos above even though these are the same yarns. (But the trials and tribulations of photographing weaving are another story.)

Another bonus of this project–I love this pick-up technique. it’s not hard at all once you get used to the pattern. I can see more of these in my future.




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