What’s So Special About This 2.5 dpi Rigid Heddle Reed?

And what can you do with all those wide open spaces?

photo of Ashford's 16-inch, 2.5 dpi rigid heddle reed

If you’ve ever tried to use novelty yarns for warp, (or decided you weren’t willing to take the risk)  you’ll immediately recognize the potential here.

Smooth, even, and relatively small yarns glide through the spaces of most  heddles and reeds – making them an ideal choice for warp.

But lumpy-bumpy, thick and thin yarns often refuse to cooperate.

Sometimes they can be persuaded to do what you want them to – moving up and down, backward and forward – without too much help, if they fit through the spaces of your heddles and reed.

But what about yarns that don’t fit?

Oversize yarns and novelty yarns can cause  problems when you try to use them for warp.

Yarns embellished with knots and beads, hairs and feathers – or other exotic bits and pieces – can get caught, hung up, tangled and stuck.

The 2.5 dpi rigid heddle was designed to solve some of those problems.

And yes, this would be a good place for a photo of some beautifully weird and wonderful designer yarns –  but I don’t have any of those in my stash.

What I have instead are big, thick, super-bulky handspun yarns like these:

And that heddle with those big spaces made me start thinking about big bulky yarns in a totally different way.

Instead of assuming that over-sized, thick materials could never be used as warp – I started to wonder what if?

So I did a couple of experiments.
First, using 3/4 inch cotton twill tape.

photo of a rigid heddle loom warped with black cotton twill tape and hand dyed fabric strips laid in as weft

And then using some of my super bulky handspun.

photo showing Ashford's 2.5 dent rigid heddle reed warped with super bulky handspun yarn

Now I’m looking at several other possibilities.  Things I’ve always thought could only be used one way – as weft.

Whether you have a stash of novelty yarns you’d like to use or just want to try something different, consider adding the 2.5 dpi rigid heddle reed to your  weaving “toolbox”.

You might find yourself headed in a whole new direction.

I gotta go look through my stash.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio







Weave With What You Have

Ribbon Yarns and Plastic Bags

Photo of a ribbon yarn on a plastic grocery bag .
Reduce, re-use and recycle.

At first glance, neither of these two things looks much like the other, and it’s hard to imagine any characteristics they might share. But thanks to some inspiration from a weaving friend along with information gleaned from this free down-loadable project –  it turns out these very different materials  do behave a lot alike.

The original project, designed by Anne McKenzie, is for a tote bag – using handwoven fabric made with weft strips cut from plastic grocery bags.  And it’s a brilliant way to reduce, reuse, and recycle those ubiquitous, fly-away pieces of trash most stores try to give us  with everything we buy.

My friend Barb showed me the two tote bags she’d made using the directions she’d downloaded from Weaving Today. One of her bags was woven with plastic grocery bag strips as weft/filler – the other was woven with strips cut from the bags she gets with pellets for her wood stove.

And as soon as I read through the “project-at-a-glance” and touched/handled the fabric Barb had woven, I knew it held an answer to two of my current weaving questions:  What do I need to do to make a tote bag? and How can I use up some of the ribbon yarn I have on hand?

This project didn’t just speak to me – it shouted DO IT!
So I did.

Photo of Tote Bag made by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, VT - using Deco Ribbon as weft.
Handwoven Tote Bag made by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT.

My version is not nearly as interesting as Ann McKenzie’s original.  I wanted to experiment with construction as well as fabrication so I left out the inserted handles – opting for sewn-on handles;  modified the size and shape; turned it around so the fold is at the bottom and both sides are sewn; and I used 100% cotton yarn for the warp with  Deco Ribbon from Crystal Palace Yarns as weft.

I’ve asked a few of my former weaving students to double-check my notes – if it works for them, I’ll post the details here.

In the meantime, – if you haven’t yet taken advantage of what Weaving Today has to offer, you might want to check it out.  Lots of information and inspiration worth sharing with your weaving friends.

I gotta go finish sewing my second bag.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio