String Heddles – How To

After warping for my Flame Lace Top, I was all set to get weaving! The weaving pattern requires the use of two pick-up sticks, so I got going on that first.

I put the rigid heddle in the down position in order to place the appropriate threads on my pick-up sticks. The back stick below represents pick-up stick 1, the front stick represents pick-up stick 2.

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I got set to weaving my pattern when it hit me – I can’t leave both sticks in place at the same time because they would interfere with the shed. Duh! Crap. What to do?

This particular loom accommodates 2 rigid heddles. I probably could have warped using both rigid heddles, and eliminated the need for one of my pick-up sticks. Or, I could pick up threads for the second stick every time I needed it. But that would be really annoying, needing it for 2 passes out of every 12, and especially on this wide loom.

And then I remembered – string heddles! Back when I first learned how to weave, I did so on a homemade giant frame loom. When I was learning how to do different patterns on it, I had run across the string heddle solution and implemented it then.

Leaving my second (front) stick in place, I got to work making my string heddles. I counted all the threads on the stick, which is how many heddles I need. Then I found some lightweight cotton scrap yarn to make the heddles. It’s best to use a smooth light yarn for string heddles – something that won’t stick to the warp. A mercerized cotton would work well, or even a nylon cord if you have it.

It’s important that all the heddles are the same length. Wrap yarn around an object, like a spare heddle shown here, and tie each one in a square knot to secure.

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Then, the heddles need to get attached to the appropriate warp threads. Leaving my stick in place, I looped each thread around the warp, and then around another long stick.

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Once all the heddles are attached to the stick, I put a piece of tape on either end, securing those last several heddles so they don’t slide off.

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Once it’s time to use pick-up stick 2, make sure pick-up stick 1 is slid all the way to the back, move stick 2 forward and lift.

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That’s all there is to it! It’s one of those things, I think, that sounds harder and more complicated than it actually is.

And now it’s finally time to start weaving!

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I adore how the Whisper Lace and Garden look together all wrapped on the shuttle ready to be something.

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See you next time for those string heddles in action.

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