5 Tips for Bandweaving plus Bonus Video Tips

Learn five tips for bandweaving that Christina learned at Weave Together with Handwoven and then watch a snippet from Angela K. Schneider’s new Baltic Pick-Up on the Inkle Loom video for even more great tips.

Christina Garton Mar 7, 2024 - 5 min read

5 Tips for Bandweaving plus Bonus Video Tips Primary Image

A few of the tablet-woven shoelaces John Mullarkey passed around as examples. Photos by Christina Garton

Last week I got to go to Loveland, Colorado, and hang out with a bunch of weavers at Weave Together with Handwoven. I was also lucky enough to get to take two of the classes, both of which happened to be bandweaving. On Tuesday, I hung out with my fellow editor, Kate Larson of Spin Off, who taught backstrap bandweaving with a rigid heddle. Then on Wednesday, I got to spend the day with John Mullarkey and learn how to weave shoelaces using weaving cards.

My bandweaving experience before taking these classes was almost zero. I’d played a little here and there, but I’ve never made anything of substance. After taking those classes, I am hooked on both types of bandweaving. I’ve currently got tablet band number four on my tiny band loom at home and plan on warping shoelaces on my inkle this weekend. My table clamp just came in the mail, so I can also get back to backstrap weaving, too.

Part of the reason I’ve fallen in love with bandweaving is that I had such amazing teachers. Both Kate and John gave amazing advice throughout their classes. In fact, I received so many good tips, I couldn’t resist sharing just a few.

Christina’s fourth tablet-woven band, still on the loom, with her favorite bandweaving shuttle.

  1. Scrunch your warp as close as possible at the start in tablet weaving. As we started on our first warp in John’s class, he told us to pull our warp extra tight in the first few weft picks because it’s easier to make your weaving wider if you need to than narrower. I have used this method in multiple tablet bands, and every time it gave me an almost-perfect warp sett and width right off the bat. (Note: I have not tried this yet in other bandweaving, so I cannot say whether it will work well in those cases. When I do try, I’ll update this article accordingly.)

  2. For a tightly packed weft, scoop up as you beat. It’s such a little thing, but a firm scooping motion with the shuttle really does pack in the weft extra-tight and extra-straight. It took a while to get the hang of things, but at this point, I scoop as I beat without even thinking about it.

  3. Try out multiple shuttle types to see what you like. Between Weave Together and my own collection, I was able to try six different band shuttles. In the end, I found the shuttle I liked best was a small, slightly curved one with an extra sharp beating edge. The size is just right for my hand, and it has the benefit of looking a bit like a Klingon bat’leth.

  4. Don’t put down your shuttle. John gave me this advice when he noticed me struggling to find my weaving rhythm. He suggested I hold the shuttle in one hand and pass the shuttle to the other hand as I placed the weft. He was right—within a few picks I found my rhythm, and my pace picked up significantly. Keeping the shuttle in hand makes for a more efficient—and pleasant—weaving experience.

  5. Keep your rigid heddle at a distance. Going from weaving on a rigid-heddle loom to bandweaving with a rigid heddle was a learning experience. In bandweaving, you do not beat with the rigid heddle; in fact, you want to keep it about an arm’s length away from your fell line. Kate noticed my rigid heddle inching closer to my cloth and pointed out that I’d get a better sett if I kept it farther away—and goodness, she was right.

I am, as I mentioned before, no expert on bandweaving—which is why I would now like to pass the mic, so to speak, to Angela K. Schneider, our incredible project editor who is an expert on bandweaving. Even better, her new video, Baltic Pick-Up on the Inkle Loom is out now, and it is full of terrific tips, tricks, and information for weaving Baltic pick-up. If you couldn’t make it to Weave Together to take a class from Kate, John, or Angela (who was teaching her Intro to Inkle class), her course is the next best thing.

In this bonus video, you’ll find just a few of the tips she has for bandweavers. I hope this post inspires you to pick up (pun intended) a new type of bandweaving.

Happy Weaving!