Many years ago, I decided to purchase an inkle loom and try my hand at making guitar straps. I did okay, but I was in a very rural community and had no info or feedback from other weavers. Fast forward 10 years and a membership in the local Fiber Arts Guild and there was a much different outcome.
Thanks to Rita and Suzanne, I’ve not only learned how to card weave, but found a purpose for the finished product. I now can make patterned bands to use in my baskets. It’s great fun and I have a useable product.
Part of my problem was the standard inkle loom was too large. I really don’t have a workstation for weaving – either on-loom inkle weaving or off-loom basketry. I end up in my recliner every time which is not conducive to using a 31” long wooden loom in my lap. One of the weavers group gatherings had ladies there with mini-inkles and a mini-wave loom. The mini wave is very cool, but I can’t justify spending that kind of money for little bands for baskets. So, I kept looking and found a mini-inkle that is only 11” long. Perfect for a tray in my lap and the loom and accessories together.
That got me started on making simple bands for baskets. It only takes 8” of the 54” band for a basket. That’s going to be a lot of bands, but since they have several colors in them, I can mix the waxed linen to match and have a different basket for each segment of the band.
Then the weavers group taught everyone how to use their inkle to card weave. That was a challenge for me at first. Old fingers are as dexterous as they once were, but I kept working with the warp fibers to get the loo and cards all set. Then I had to come up with a way to remember where I am during the process of turning the cards. 1-4 is forward, 5-8 is backwards. Once I did a coupe of sets my old brain said, okay – we can do this and off we went.
I’ve finished my first band. I have two books with card weaving patterns coming in today’s mail and I know there are more patterns in the guild library. It gives me a shot of enthusiasm to do something with my basketry. I’ll still add beads and embellishments, but the woven bands will give both buyer and seller something different to enjoy, both on-loom and off-loom.