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Inkle-Weaving-art - 8/10/13


"Inkle Weaving" by Mistress Sine ni Dheaghaidh.


NOTE: See also the files: weaving-msg, Bg-Tab-Weavng-art, card-weaving-msg, looms-msg, Stick-Weaving-art, linen-msg, cotton-msg, lace-msg, naalbinding-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Inkle Weaving

by Mistress Sine ni Dheaghaidh


An inkle is a narrow tape or ribbon, so the loom on which the inkle is woven is logically called an inkle loom. Inkle bands are a warped faced weaving style made on a loom developed in the 1920's. Warp faced weaving has been done for centuries using other techniques such as rigid heddle with a back strap set up, tape looms with a rigid heddle and ratchet built into a box and even looms made with a bowed or forked stick. An open sided loom makes warping, advancement of the warp and the removal of the finished bands much easier. Unlike back strap looms, you are free to leave your weaving and come back to it later. The modern inkle loom is portable and travels well.



There are a variety of looms on the commercial market today and all of them will produce excellent weavings, but beware of handmade looms. Unless the pegs are set at exactly ninety degrees to the frame and are glued tightly, you will not be able to tension these looms properly and will never be able to complete an acceptable weaving.



Your warp threads need to be strong and smooth. Avoid yarns that are hairy, stretchy, lumpy or fray easily. My favorite for warp is Maysville 8/4 carpet warp. This is a smooth strong cotton warp available in many colors. Perle cotton 3/2 is also useful and imparts a shine to your finished band. After you are more comfortable weaving, other yarns to try are silks and linens.


Planning Your Project


I keep and inkle weaving note book where I record the patterns, colors and yarns I use. Sometimes I include a small sample if the band itself. This is helpful in remembering what band I made and where it went. I have given away lots of bands and this is an excellent way to keep up with the patterns and colors. Just changing the colors in a project makes the band look completely different.


For a first project, I would chose a band pattern of at least one inch wide, as I have found that it is easier to keep edges smooth and tight on a wider band than on a very narrow one.


Reading a Warping Draft


Warping drafts for the inkle loom are read left to right. Warp threads that go through a heddle are indicated by an H and those that do not go through a heddle are indicated by using an O.


Sample Draft

H  R R B B R B B


This creates the actual band pattern.


Tying the Heddle


String heddles must be made according to your brand of loom. Usually they are measured around the top peg and the heddle peg. See the instructions that came with your particular loom for more information.




Set the tension bar in the middle to maintain enough space to continue to tighten your warp. Tie the first warp color on to the peg on the left of your loom and wind the yarn according to the pattern of pegs on your loom. After the first round, tie the warp to itself to make the warp continuous. It has to be circular in order to move the warp to complete the weaving. Continue warping, alternating heddles and open warps until your pattern is complete. To change colors, tie the new and old colors together at the beginning peg and continue warping. Count your ends and make sure you have alternated open and heddles.


Now tighten the tension bar.




Create sheds and place spacer sticks or cardboard strips in the beginning of the warp to allow for fringe and to make the beginning throws easier. Wind your shuttle with the color on the edges of your warp. Raise the shed pass the shuttle through the opening, push the warp down to create the other shed, beat the previous throw and pass the shuttle again. Repeat.


After weaving for a while you will find the shuttle is very close to the heddles. This means it is time to advance the warp. Loosen the tension bar, grasp the warp and rotate it counterclockwise. Tighten the tension bar, straighten the heddles and continue weaving. When you find you have
so little warp left that it is hard to make sheds, then it is time to cut the band off the loom. Cut the threads halfway between the woven ends. You may want to tie the fringes, twist them, add beads or use some other finishing method. Save your heddles for reuse.


Like any new skill, weaving takes practice. Getting tight, even edges takes time and patience. Have fun and experiment with colors, yarns and techniques.


For more information see the Earth Guild inkle riff here:






BEATER: A sharp edged flat piece of wood used for packing down weft into warp.


CIRCULAR WARP: The warp ends are tied together to allow for rotating the entire warp for weaving.


HEDDLE: A loop of cord, which encircles both the heddle bar and one thread of the lower warp and serves to lift this lower warp thread.


SHED: The space created in the warp by raising or lowering the warp using either the heddles or the open warp.


SHUTTLE: A flat piece of wood that carries the weft through the sheds. It can also double as a beater.


WARP: The thread wound on the inkle loom before beginning to weave.


WARP-FACED: Pattern formed by the warp alone...the weft doesn't show.


WEFT: The threads that run opposite to the warp. The thread wound on the shuttle that you pass between the sheds of the warp.


WEFT-FACED: Pattern formed by weft alone...the warp doesn't show.





Atwater, Mary Meigs. Byways in Handweaving. Coupeville, WA, Shuttle Craft Books. ISBN 0- 916658-47-3


Bradley, Lavinia. Inkle Weaving. Boston. Routledge & Keagan Paul, 1982. ISBN 0-2100-9086-2


Bress, Helene. Inkle Weaving. Rockville, MD, Flower Valley Press. 1975.


Broghy, Ann. "Letters From an Inkle Loom," Handwoven. (May/June 1999), 38-41.


Holland, Nina. Inkle Loom Weaving. New York, Watson-Guptill Publications, 1973. ISBN 0- 8230-2551-9


Naumann, Rose and Hull, Raymond. The Off-Loom Weaving Book. New York, Charles Scribner's Sons.


Neher, Evelyn. Inkle. Brush-MillsBooks, Inc. Chester, Connecticut, 1974. ISBN 0-9600854-2-4


Smith, Frances B. Inkle Loom Weaving. New York, Sterling Publishing Inc. 1976.

Tidball, Harriet. Weaving Inkle Bands. Coupeville, WA, Shuttle Craft Guild Monograph No. Twenty Seven. 1969. ISBN 0-916658-27-9

Torgenrud, Heather. "Pickup Band of Chevrons," Handwoven, (Jan/Feb 1996),. 50-53, 91-95.



Internet Sites of Interest




Tracy DeGarmo's site. Here you can join the inkle weaving mailing list.



Digital archive of weaving texts...scroll down for Mary Meigs Atwater's "How to Weave on the Inkle Loom"



Another good inkle weaving site.



Site of the Earth Guild, a fiber store in Asheville. Go to instructions and scroll down to Other and find Inkle Weaving. Here you will find the same information found on the riff enclosed in this packet. There are instructions for many more crafts there.



Copyright 2011 by Jane Sellers, 7066 N. NC Hwy 109, Winston-Salem NC, 27107. <sinebee at triad.rr.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org