Crafting / Tutorials / Weaving

Double width weaving on a rigid heddle loom

I have done a double width weaving project! It was a bit hard at the beginning, but it became easier and more fun later. I think that my next double weaving project will go more smoothly. I’ll write down what I did, because it might help others as well!

Materials

I used the following materials:

  • Ashford SampleIt loom (10″/25cm)
  • Two 40/10 heddles (10 epi)
  • 2 pick up sticks (28 cm works best)
  • Rico Design Essentials Cotton DK in 80 White
  • Rico Design Essentials Cotton DK in 40 Dark Teal

Warping

I warped my loom with two colours of cotton. I made a calculation mistake because of which I needed to start again and then I caused a huge yarn mess that I had to cut off… but in the end I had managed to warp the loom. There may be easier ways, but this is how I did it:

  1. Put the two heddles in neutral position.
  2. Direct warp each slot twice (4 threads in each slot), and pull the threads through both heddles.

Every slot now contained 4 threads in both heddles. I warped such that both layers would contain groups of 4 threads of each colour: I threaded two slots with one colour, then two with the other colour, etc. I was making a sampler, so my warp was only about 1.5 meters long. I used all the slots of the heddle.

Threading the heddles

Next I had to make sure that all threads were going through the two heddles correctly. I used the picture below to find out which thread goes where.

Threading two heddles for double weaving

I did this as follows:

  1. Starting on the right side, work in groups of four threads (all threads in one slot).
  2. Pull the four threads out of the slot.
  3. The right-most thread goes through the slot to the right.
  4. The next thread goes through the hole in the back heddle, then through the slot to the right in the front heddle.
  5. The next thread goes through the original slot in the back heddle and through the slot to the right in the front heddle.
  6. The last thread goes through the original slot in the back heddle and through the hole in the front heddle.
  7. The slot where the threads were in originally now contains 2 threads in the back heddle and 0 threads in the front heddle.
  8. Repeat from step 2, moving from right to left.

My heddles were slightly flexible sideways, so I just moved them a bit to line up the proper holes/slots and pulled the threads through in one go each.

I tied the threads to the apron rod in groups of 16 and was ready to weave. Or so I thought. It took so long warping the loom that it was bed time already!

Warped double!

The next day we had a company outing to an escape room in Amsterdam (fun!), so no time for weaving. The day after that I was in a work-related training (XML/XSLT/XPath), so again, no time for weaving. On Thursday I could finally start! And then I found out that one of my pick up sticks was really very short. One was 28 and the other was 26 cm. My Ashford SampleIt loom has a weaving width of 25 cm, so the 26 cm one was very tricky to use. I ordered a longer one and tried to make do for now.

Adding the pick up sticks

The pick up sticks manage the threads in each layer that don’t go through any holes, and that are not controlled by the heddles because of that. I set up the pick up sticks as follows:

  1. Put both heddles in down position.
  2. With pick up stick A, pick up every other thread (the ones that don’t go through a hole in either heddle). There are many threads, so it may be a bit hard to find the right one sometimes.
  3. Put both heddles in the up position.
  4. Slide pick up stick A forward and put it on edge.
  5. Insert pick up stick B into the narrow bottom shed. This one was the hardest. I missed some threads at first, but in the end I managed to get both pick up sticks into the right position. Phew!
Pick up sticks are in!

Weaving sequence

I started weaving. To create a double-width fabric, you have to connect the two layers that you are weaving on one side. The top layer is managed by heddle 2 (back) and pick up stick A, and the bottom layer is managed by heddle 1 (front) and pick up stick B. The fabric is connected on the opposite side of where you start weaving (I started weaving from right to left, and the connection is on the left side).

I used the following sequence for double weaving. The heddles/pick up sticks are in neutral position if not mentioned.

  1. Pick up stick B on edge (bottom layer)

    Back view
  2. Heddle 2 up (top layer)

    Front view
  3. Pick up stick A on edge (top layer)

    Front view
  4. Heddle 1 down (bottom layer)

    Front view

You are basically working in a C-shape:

Double weave visual: blue is the top layer of fabric and green is the bottom layer.

Perhaps a video makes it easier:

After weaving a couple of rows, check if the fabric is connected correctly. You should be able to pick up one of the sides, uncovering the layer below.

It’s working!

While weaving, you have to take care to not weave too tightly. I pulled the thread a bit too much, and my fabric started to become narrower.

The beginning is wider…
Finished weaving!

Finishing

Cut off the warp, leaving long ends for now. You will trim them later.

Cut it loose…

Start knotting the fringe, because you’ll want to make sure that everything stays in place. Start with the top layer, then move on to the bottom layer. Make sure not to tie the two layers together.

Fringe on the top layer.
Moving on to the bottom layer

Unwind the fabric. Untie the knots at the beginning, and knot up the fringe there as well in a similar fashion. Cut the fringe to the length you like. That’s it, you’re done!

The moment of truth.

Still doubled up…

I opened the fabric and was relieved to find that the bottom layer looked okay! The bit in the middle was a bit too tight, though. Perhaps that can be fixed by washing.

Ta-da! Double width!

I don’t know yet what I will do with the fabric. It may become a project bag at some point. This won’t be the last time that I weave double width! Once I started weaving, it became easier and I got into the rhythm of it. I just need to allow some more space at the connection point next time.

8 thoughts on “Double width weaving on a rigid heddle loom

  1. With pick up stick A, pick up every other thread (the ones that don’t go through a slot in either heddle).

    Slot or hole? The diagram doesn’t show any thread that doesn’t go through a slot in either heddle.

    Also is it easier to do the initial 4 thread warp through the slots instead of holes?

    1. I guess that I may have this backwards, but in my mind, the holes are between the dents of the heddle, and the slots are in the dents.
      I will update this post because I just found out that slots and holes are the other way around than I thought :-S

      Thank you for making me aware of this mistake!

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