When I first started weaving on the rigid-heddle loom, I was devoted to plain weave. I had a floor loom to do all those other weaves. The pick-up stick befuddled me and two-heddle weaving seemed too fussy for this lovely simple little loom. I’ve long left that thinking behind.
Doubleweave is one the best reasons for a rigid-heddle weaver to tackle weaving with two heddles. You can create fabric twice the width of your loom, woven tubes where the selvedges are connected (as I did in this pillow), and create block of solid color in ways that aren’t possible with plain weave.
In this, my Year of the Handwoven Home, I was seeking a big understuffed lounge pillow for the living room. I chose a three-color pallete inspired by the subtle play of light and shadow on the mountains and mesas at sunrise here in the Southwest. (If you want a great creativity exercise check out Leafcutter’s The Sky Scarf. It is designed for knitters, but weavers could apply her idea, too.) The yarn is Rowan’s Creative Linen a lovely light worsted cotton linen blend. (For those that have been reading along I took a pivot from my first yarn—I’m saving it for my next project.)
- Look under your loom often. At left, is the fabric as it was facing me when I wove. At right, is the side facing away from me. It is really easy to miss a step in your pattern sequence or introduce floats. Keeping a mirror nearby or peeking under your loom will keep you on track. Don’t fret too much though if you see a small float and you don’t want to weave back. There isn’t much that needleweaving can’t fix! (See page 50 of Weaving Made Easy.)
- Tension matters. The best way to avoid errors is to make sure you have really good tension. This is a little more challenging with really dense warps. Doublweave is essentially two warps sitting on top of one another. I say it often, resist raking your loom with your fingers during the warping process! This is the number one reason for tension problems.
Tackling Your Fears
This project needed a zipper to make it truly functional. The members of my household are serious loungers, especially the hound, and pillow tops need to be washed. I have never sewn a zipper in my life, and I was intimidated by the prospect. I didn’t have the right foot to machine sew so I sewed the zipper in by hand.
It was so much fun! (If you follow me on Twitter, I was so jazzed from my sewing that while sweeping up I did a rock and roll move and almost threw out my back!)
Like so many things we put off, installing a zipper is way easier than I thought it would be. I learned a lot about what I will do differently next time. For one I needed to put in a bigger zipper—that pillow form is not coming out easily, which defeats its functional purpose, but not its life lesson. Do what scares you and you will be amazed!
If you are interested in learning how to warp for two heddles check out my DVD Slots and Holes and explore the pattern possibilities in The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick. I’m working on a new Yarnworker pattern for a small lap blanket that will explore the color mixing possibilities in doubleweave.