Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Weaving Letters on an Inkle Band

There are several ways to weave letters in a warp-faced band. The method described here is
relatively easy to understand, simple to set up, and it produces pretty crisp letters. 
It is my favorite so far. It is woven on the horizontal bar threading. 

The letter chart illustrates how each letter is made up of blocks. Each block represents 3 warp threads. Each letter is 5 blocks (or fifteen threads) tall.
Most letters are 3 blocks (shed rows) wide, although letters with diagonal lines and a few others will take 4-5 blocks (sheds) to complete.

The letters will run horizontally along the woven band as in the photos below.
All comments to follow will refer to this brown and turquoise band.
The 15 turquoise threads which form the letters were warped through the heddles and the 15 brown ones which form the background were open.

Here is the diagram for warping the band pictured: 

 A big advantage of the horizontal bar threading is that many of the letters have a straight upright which is naturally formed in the shed row where the turquoise threads are on the top layer.
When not needed as part of the letter, you must drop the turquoise out of the way (to the bottom layer) and pick up the brown from below. Think of the threads in pairs; consider a brown thread and a turquoise thread which are next to each other as a pair. So, whenever you drop a turquoise thread, you must pick up its corresponding brown thread (the one just to its right) from below. Conversely, when you need to pick up a turquoise from the bottom layer, you must drop its corresponding brown thread.

The letter chart above shows the letters standing upright, however, as you weave the letters, they will be formed on their sides. You may want to print out the letter chart, so that you can turn it on its side and use it as a guide while weaving.  I have turned the graph of the word "COULD" below on its side so that you can read it the way you would be weaving it.

The letter C is formed in 3 sheds by the following steps:
Row 1: Start the letter by weaving a plain row in the shed with turquoise on top. This will form the first upright of the letter C. Pass weft. Change sheds. Beat.  
Row 2: All brown will be on top. Using your fingers or a pickup stick from left to right, keep the border threads on top. Next you will pick a turquoise and drop a brown. Repeat two more times so that you now have 3 turquoise on your top layer. Keep the next 9 brown on your top layer. Next pick up turquoise and drop brown for the next three. Keep the border threads. Hold all of  these up as you pass the weft. Change sheds. Beat.
Row 3: All turquoise will be on top. From left to right: Keep the border threads. Keep the first 6 turquoise. Drop turquoise and pick up brown. Repeat two more times so that you have 3 brown on top. Keep the last 6 turquoise on top. Keep the border threads.  Pass the weft. Change sheds. Beat.

In this video, I demonstrate the technique by showing you how to weave a couple of letters. 

If you would like to purchase a copy of this blog post, formatted in a document so that you can easily print it out, you will find it here in my Etsy shop:


  1. Thank you for posting the instructions on how to weave letters. Teachers like you who freely share their knowledge are very special people!

  2. OMG I’m going to try this tonight. Thank you so much for your help!❤️

  3. Just to let you know someone is still looking at your posts. I want to make a set of suspenders with a name on it, could be used as a belt, guitar strap etc. This will be extremely helpful. My question is what kind of thread should I use. knitting yarn (size ?), crochet thread (size ?), cotton, nylon, I am kinda new at this, can you help?

    1. Hi, Donald. Cotton is the easiest thing to work with and also gives good results. The photos in this post show a belt woven from #10 crochet cotton and #5 perle cotton. These are both easy to find and great to work with.

  4. May You share how to weave the loom? I need that before trying yo make letters that it seems no so difficult
    Thanks from south of Chile

    1. Hi, Mary. I can suggest that you watch this video which shows how to set up the loom and weave on it.