Not So Rigid Weaver

Musings on weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom and beyond

Creating patterns out of pick up texture

I really enjoy working with pick up sticks. A while back this got me thinking of how to make big designs out of blocks of warp and weft floats while having areas of plain weave.

The observation needed here is that:

  1. Warp floats occur at the slot threads that are picked up.
  2. Weft floats occur between the slot threads that are picked up.

In order to have a mix of plain weave and weft floats in a row, you need to pick up all of the slot threads where you don't want weft floats, while for warp floats you only want to pick up the yarns where you want warp floats.

So if you want to also have warp floats only where you have weft floats, the solution is to add a second pick up stick that picks up some of the threads that are picked up for weft floats. If you have two pick up sticks where one has picked up a subset of the other, then the top pick up stick with fewer yarns can slide around the other, and you don't have to re-insert each row as in most pick up stick patterns. So the top stick has fewer yarns picked up and makes your warp floats, and your bottom stick with more yarns on it is for your weft floats. This will make a square out of your floats. Note that my photo has the larger pick up stick on top - I've since realized it's a bit easier to grab the stick if the larger stick on the bottom.

Pick up stick positioning for uneven floats Close up of pick up textured fabric on the loom

You can, of course, also do this with "competing" pick up stick locations, which will make more of a T out of the floats, you will just have to reposition one of your your sticks each row or use a heddle rod for one set. I did this in a sample when I was experimenting with this idea, along with some interesting color and weave effects. I really like some of the color and weave effects with this, I'm sure I'll experiment more in a future project

Sample with competing pick up sticks and color and weave

On it's own this technique is useful for making pick up designs in a column or with borders. I've also used this technique with just one thread different to avoid having to go around an edge thread (though I'm a little on the fence as to if it's easier).

But one really fun use of this technique is to combine this with moving your pick up sticks around every once in a while to make designs with blocks of patterns, for example, this scarf I made with an overall diamond pattern out of blocks of textured areas.

Scarf with diamond pattern out of pick up blocks

I've only done that one sampler and scarf with the moving around blocks technique so far but it's definitely something I plan to come back to!

Check out Not So Rigid Designer, the online weaving software for rigid heddle loom weavers!