Saturday, November 25, 2006

Constructing with Woven Bands Part 1

I've been constructing some of my bags the last few days and thought some of you might like to see how I do this. A lot of beginning weavers get an inkle loom, weave a couple bands on it and go on to a larger, more complex loom, but they miss the creative potential of a simple loom.

This is my Gilmore inkle loom which I use the most and it is not a conventional inkle loom. It has front and back beams for the warp but works as the traditional inkle loom, for the most part. Amigo, my Maine Coon cat could not be kept out of the photo nor would he face the camera. The way I assemble my bands can be used for any bands such as cardweaving.

These are the bands that I'll be working with. Actually I had to weave a fourth one since I didn't have enough to bind the top and for handles which will probably be shown in the next chapter of this. These bands are mostly wool and primarily handspun, firmly twisted 2 ply but I have included perle cottons and some other odds and ends for interest.

I am also incorporating this tapestry for the front of the bag.

This is the completed front of the bag. First I sewed bands on the sides of the tapestry. I usually don't use a regular right sides together seam but rather overlap one band over another, and in this case, I overlapped the band over the tapestry. I always add 4-6 threads on the sides of my band warp so that there is some room to overlap and sew on. It is a good idea to hand baste the bands together first and then sew them since they seem to move around easily when there is just a little overlapping and the hand basting actually saves time from ripping out. This is a lesson I've learned the hard way! I've machine sewed and hand sewed them and now use the machine. The stitching sinks into the band so it is hardly noticeable so I don't see a benefit to hand sewing but either one works well.

Here is the back of the bag and I arranged 2 different bands and sewed them together. Take some time trying out different ways to arrange the bands because by changing them around, the whole appearance changes and once they are sewn together, they look like a single cloth. Now this rectangle is the same size as the front rectangle.

Hopefully you can see in this close up that there is a band with moss green edges that I've sewn on top of the edges of the other band. By choosing which one goes on top is another way to change the design they make as the bands go together and to emphasize a color.

To attach the gusset of the bag, I do use a very narrow seam that is right sides together and here you see the gusset attached to the front of the bag. Just repeat this to attach the back panel.

Here the bag has been turned right side out and pressed using a damp press cloth. A good pressing really makes all the parts come together and look finished. In the next few days, I should take photos and show the next few steps for this one and a couple other bags that I'm assembling this week. They have to be done by Friday since I have a show in the Flying C restaurant which is over the Food Co-op located in Bozeman MT. It will be hanging all the month of December so if any of you are in the area, you can see these in person there as well as some of my tapestries. The opening reception is on Dec 7 from 5-7pm. If you come then, you can meet me too.



At Tue Nov 28, 08:04:00 AM MST, Blogger Sara said...

Fabulous bag Kathy, thanks for sharing your construction methods. Good luck with your show!

At Sat Dec 02, 11:17:00 AM MST, Blogger Katherine said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's beautiful bag!

I'm one of those that made two bands on my inkle loom and set it aside. In my current situation where I lack the space to set up my big looms, I should definately revisit the inkle loom.

At Sat Dec 02, 10:05:00 PM MST, Blogger Leigh said...

I've never woven bands but yours are most inspiring. The bag is lovely, well done!

At Thu Jul 19, 07:55:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful work! Would you help me, please? I have a Gilmore inkle loom like yours, and even though I am an experienced hobby weaver, and even though I have the instructions off the Gilmore website, I can't figure out how to warp this loom. Do you wind on the warp to the back beam before you thread the heddles? (That's what I did, but it didn't work well!) Would it help to have a cross at both ends of the warp?
I would greatly appreciate hearing from you on this!


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