I've been spinning and weaving since about 1988. My first lessons in weaving were on an inkle loom, but it was quickly passed
over to get to the big floor looms. I did some production weaving on an
eight-harness 50" Harrisville Designs floor loom for years, but it got
stranded back in Virginia years ago in my travels, and I finally recently
donated it to a weaving school in Alexandria.
What I could drag along was my faithful old inkle loom, and when I
started back up in period re-enactment, it seemed a natural fit. It was
like a return to childhood for me, one that I had never taken the time to
explore in the first place.
There's quite a bit of great material out there on inkle weaving.
Probably the best known book out there, in this country, anyway, is Helen
Inkle Weaving. It's packed full of a lot of background information
and application, and has some fine illustrations on technique. I'd been
lugging this book around along with my loom, but I was having a hard time
getting started on what I really wanted to explore: pick up.
I finally stumbled across the now-defunct
Inkleweaving.com by Tracy DeGarmo, a fellow SCA-er from Midrealm. She
has some really excellent instructions that I used to get started on pick up,
along with another great book that doesn't get enough press,
Inkle by Evelyn Neher. This book used to be available from Robin and
Russ Handweavers, but is harder to find now that they're retired. I put together my Pick Up Samplerby working through Neher's
chapter on "Alternating," and her chapters on "This, That & Other Things,"
"Fantasies" and "Antique Looms" were a real eye-opener for me. I really
needed someone to tell me, "Stick your fingers in here, count over
this many, pull apart, no just shut up and do it, there see,
ta daaa!" Now I can't put my loom down, and I want several more looms for
all the projects I've been dreaming up.
Inspired by Evelyn Neher, I've been exploring lots of different fibers, and
playing with developing trims and fringes, all kinds of weird stuff. (The
tubular warp really worked! I have to put up a picture of that sometime...
Wonder if that basket weave technique would really work, too? Need more
looms!) Anyway, I
started trawling around on eBay for cost
effective fibers and have hit on some great ones, like the art silk shipped over
from India by a few vendors. I also stocked up my
basic perle cotton stash from eBay as well. Much nicer, and easier on the
hands, than carpet warp.
Below are some beginning instructions that I developed as part of some classes I taught
at Estrella War XX, 2004. When I'm teaching this class, students also get a sheet of five sample design drafts that they can choose from for warping, to save class time on
and a cotton knotted tassel which we use to practice finishes. I next
developed the Beginning Alternating Pick-Up handout, and that PDF can also be
More recently, I've been playing with a new loom, an 18th Century Tape Loom
made for me by Rudy McKinney of
Elizabethtown, Kentucky. An article on that experience can be found
here, and I will continue to expand on it as I
keep up my explorations.
Rudy has also agreed to construct an earlier period boxloom for me, I'm
aiming for something around the 16th Century. I have begun an exploration
of period artwork to develop construction plans, that survey can be found