A Complex Pattern for a Simple Loom

  Creative use of a pick-up stick produces Jacquard-like patterns on a simple loom.

imageplaceholder Sarah H. Jackson
Weaving Editor, Handwoven Magazine

Part of my job as Weaving Editor for Handwoven is to "scout" projects for upcoming issues of the magazine. I follow Pinterest and Ravelry as well as several of the weaving pages on Facebook; 4-Shaft Weaving (now known as = 2, < 8 EDU), 8-Shaft Weaving, Rigid Heddle Adventures, Rug Weavers, and so on. If a project looks promising I contact the designer and invite them to submit their work to be considered for publication.

In light of the growing number of rigid-heddle weavers, Handwoven is working to incorporate projects that will appeal to those particular weavers. One of the criteria is that the project teaches a new technique or method of interpreting a classic weave structure. When I spotted Lisa Rayner's gorgeous Mermaid Scarf several months ago I knew it was something special and one I thought our readers would love. Fortunately, when I contacted Lisa, she agreed to share her design, and I was thrilled for her when it was chosen for the cover of the November/December 2015 issue.

Even though she owns other looms Lisa chose a simple rigid-heddle loom and a pick-up technique to weave the complex pattern for her scarf. Her striking pattern and the vibrant colors in the yarn combine to create a dazzling design which, if woven on a shaft loom, would require more than 30 shafts.  Lisa describes the Jacquard-like pattern technique as freeform overshot. She used 3/2 pearl cotton for warp and 10/2 pearl cotton as the tie-down weft for the self-striping sock yarn pattern weft.

Using a pick-up stick gave Lisa complete freedom to design as she wove, and the technique lends itself to interpretation by individual weavers. It's interesting to note that the technique creates a reversible fabric so both sides of the scarf are equally attractive.

Lisa's vision for a water-themed scarf is evident in the swirling spirals that ebb and flow over the surface of her scarf, and to enhance the "seaweed-floating-in-water look" she visualized for the fringe she incorporated green glass beads in the twisted fringe.

This lovely, imaginative, unique scarf is now available as a kit, which includes all of the yarn you will need for one scarf as well as the November/December 2015 issue of Handwoven.

Happy Weaving!



  1. martha s at 7:42 pm March 20, 2017

    Where can I find a bigger pick up stick chart.

    • Tiffany Warble at 12:55 pm March 27, 2017

      Unfortunately, we don’t have a larger version of that chart available at this time. Let us know if we can be of any further help!

      Interweave Team

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