Roving Reporter: Handspun Ribbons on a Backstrap Loom

I have been aware of inkle weaving since the beginning of my fiber life and long admired the long strips of useful cloth. However, I somehow didn’t see the possibility of merging inkle weaving with my handspinning practice. Then I learned about weaving on a backstrap loom, and the very idea that my yarn could do this was so exciting.

Have you seen the new Spin Off? I’m on a mission to turn spinners’ heads with colorful bands that only a handspinner can create. All those beautiful, handpainted fibers in your stash—they are just waiting to hit the loom!

backstrap loom

Oh, what our yarns can do! My backstrap loom setup is tied to my waist at one end of the warp and a fixed point at the other.

Now, I use inkle, rigid-heddle, and backstrap looms to create my handspun ribbons of cloth. Playing with various fibers in 2-ply, 3-ply, chain-plied 3-ply, and beyond is great because so few yards are needed to create a band. In my class at Interweave Yarn Fest, I’ll teach a quick sampling method I’ve developed for trying out our yarns. As handspinners, we have so many opportunities to fine-tune our yarns: slightly changing the twist to create a more durable yarn or increasing from 2-ply to 3-ply to weave a beefier band, for example. A method to quickly test drive our yarns before investing our time in weaving an entire band is incredibly helpful. I’ll show you how at Yarn Fest!

backstrap loom

From left: Bluefaced Leicester/silk from Chasing Rainbows, simple sample, and finished project.

There are still a few spaces open in Spinning for Bandweaving on April 14 at Interweave Yarn Fest.

—Kate Larson

Featured Image: Handspun, natural-color cotton makes a scrumptious band. Photos by Kate Larson

Explore Weaving on a Backstrap Loom

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