Inkle weaving on harness loom

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L Tyler wrote
on 6 Jul 2010 8:15 AM

I know it would be "cheating", but could a person do inkle weaving on a floor or table loom, just remove the reed & thread 2 harnesses for plain weave (not very wide, of course)?  Also, might it be easier to do pick-up designs using a harness loom for inkle weaving; using the harnesses to help control the pattern? Or would it result in a mess?   Obviously, I haven't tried this yet - I've been using the inkle loom, but I'm curious whether anyone has experience / advice to share. Thanks!                        LT

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loominator wrote
on 15 Aug 2010 7:40 PM

I have not yet tried this on a table loom but from my research with inkle weaving and different band loom designs that should work with out any problems. I know it has been a while since you first posted this, I would love to know if you have tried it.



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L Tyler wrote
on 16 Aug 2010 7:59 AM

Hi, I haven't had time to try it yet! Hopefully I'll be able to over the winter. So many ideas ... so little time to weave!

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ella@14 wrote
on 16 Aug 2010 6:46 PM

I have done it -easy as pie.  I used my warping board to measure - 10 red, 20 blue, 10 white (or whatever) about 2 yards or less.   From the front of the loom, I used the reed (any dent) to line up the colors - then threaded the heddles 1 and 2.    Tied on at back and rolled on to the back beam.  Removed the reed and tied on to front beam.  Proceeded to weave 1,2.   Of course, you need to establish your width the same as on the inkle loom.  If your pattern has a lot of ends, you might want to thread 1,2,3,4 so the heddles won't be too bunched up.  With the threads lined up in the reed first, it is easy to see if you like the colors and it is easy to remove or change a color.  Another advantage of weaving inkle bands on a harness loom is when one is finished, you can easily tie on a new band of different pattern and colors.  I made cute little bags for my granddaughters one Christmas.  Butted 2 lengths of band together and sewed them together on the sewing machine using a wide fancy stitch and bright color and folded into a bag with a flap.  I used the thrums to twist a strap.

I really enjoyed the process.  A couple of my fellow weavers said it was not "real weaving", but I thought it was. :)



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on 17 Aug 2010 10:09 AM

Although it does technically "work" and makes weaving perhaps go faster, you can no longer call it Inkle loom weaving once you put it on a rigid heddle or 4 harness loom.  What makes it "Inkle weaving" is the "Inkle loom"!  This loom was introduced from England in the early 20th century in the United States.  It was traditionally  used to weave bands for tapestries and other uses for household goods and clothing ties.  I use mine to make colorful bands that I then sew together and make purses from.  Lottsa fun.  You can also omit the heddles and use weaving cards on your inkle loom for portability.

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L Tyler wrote
on 17 Aug 2010 1:22 PM

Hi,  thank you so much for sharing this! I thought it should work, but just haven't had time to try it. Now I can proceed with assurance. I want to make curtain tie-backs for my house, among other projects. The little inkle bags are great for cell phones, i-pods, etc. Kids & "gadget people"  love them. Thanks again!   LT

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on 17 Oct 2010 2:20 AM

Hello Everyone!

Would anyone happen to have pics of your inkle weaving bags??  I'd love to explore inkle (loom or not ; ) weaving!



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BGMeyer wrote
on 20 Jan 2013 11:12 AM

I am not so sure of that actually: Inkle is an Anglo-Saxon word for band or tape. I believe that Marjorie Atwater invented the first Inkle loom but tape looms (usually a paddle or by the 17th Century a box loom) was used to make what we now call Inkles. So any way you can make tapes are inkles.


I found two Shakespeare quotes:


In the Winter's Tale Shakespeare has a servant say of Autolycus "Hath ribbons of all colours i the rainbow, points...inkles, caddysses, camricks, lawnes."


Also:  "Pericles, Prince of Tyre" (Act V)

"Marina thus the brothel 'scapes, and chances into an honest house, our story says. She sings like one immortal, and she dances as goddess-like to her admired lays; deep clerks she dumbs; and with her needle composes nature's own shape, of bud, bird, branch, or berry, that even her art sisters the natural roses; her inkle, silk, twin the rubied cherry..."

My own opinion: If it is a narrow warp face woven band or tape, it is an inkle band.


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CarolineA wrote
on 20 Jan 2013 3:59 PM

The word inkle has been around a long time; its more debatable how long what we know as an inkle loom has been around. There are plenty of pictures painted by the Old Masters hanging in museums and art galleries showing band-weaving using a little hand-held rigid heddle that was tied between two points, and this style of weaving still exists in Europe. The advantage this has over using a harness loom is that its possible to beat the weft into place firmly, and create a warp-faced band under great tension.

This is not as easy to do on a harness or rigid heddle loom. For a start, they are not made to cope with the sort of tension required for an inkle band so its possible to bow the front and back beams with constant use. Even an inkle loom made from softwoods will bow and warp after a while; however its easier to replace a peg than a back beam.

There is also a requirement for sufficient space in front of the heddles for the weaver to be able to do pick-up and other patterns manually. Harness looms are not designed for this, so there may not be sufficient space to get a decent shed. However any warp-faced weaving can be used as a band if its narrow enough, even if its not actually a band woven on an inkle loom.

Ann Dixon's new book gives band-loom equivalents of many harness woven drafts modified and charted specifically for the inkle loom, but easily used on other looms.

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