A Raanu rug was traditionally a flat weave weft faced handwoven wall hanging that was sometimes also used as a bed covering. The warp is made of cotton rug yarn or sometimes linen yarn, and the weft is woven of multicoloured fine wool yarns, often a single ply. The weave structure is a repp weave and the weft is beaten down firmly so that the warp yarns are fully covered.
The earliest Raanu date back to the 1600’s. The Saami wove Raanu (Rátnu, Rádno, Grene) and used them as wall coverings in their tents and sod huts. The designs of the Raanu depicted the colours of the landscape scenes around them and brought some colour into their homes during the dark and long winter nights. Raanu were also woven in many parts of Finland. In the 1960-70’s Raanu again became popular and were displayed on the walls of many Finnish and Scandinavian homes.
I thought that I would weave a Raanu based on one of my favourite places in the UK, West Wittering Beach. The photo is by Robert Lane.
I am weaving this Raanu with yarns that I have dyed with natural dyes. The dyes I have used are:
Indigo, Logwood, Madder Root, Brazilwood, Alkanet Root, Indian Barberry, Flame of the Forest
Warp Yarn: Cotton Rug Warp 12/9 1900 m/kg
Weft Yarn: Sport Weight Wool 2600 m/kg
Sett: No. 30 Reed (approx 6 epi)
Width in Reed: 60 cm
PPI: 30 ppi
Weave Structure: Repp Weave
The weft yarns must be beaten firmly. Throw the shuttle. Beat. Change shed. Beat again before throwing the next weft.
Further to my previous article about weaving pickup on a band loom, there is a quicker method that you can use. Previously, I had woven the pickup by individually picking up each pattern thread by hand. This method works but it is slow and is prone to errors, as it takes a lot of concentration to correctly pick up the pattern thread by thread.
The threading of the loom is done in the same way as I previously described. The ground warp is threaded through the 2 sets of heddles. The thicker pattern thread is not, so that it floats freely in the centre between the 2 ground warp threads.
The pattern threads can be set up for easy pickup by adding ties to the warp behind the heddles. Each warp thread that is to be picked up on a row has a corresponding pickup tie. All of the threads that are to be picked up on that row are then grouped together and numbered, so that it makes it easy to pull up on the threads as you weave. This is much like tying up the pedals on a jack or countermarche loom, or setting up the pattern sequence on a drawloom.
When setting up the loom it is necessary to analyze the pattern draft to determine the pattern sequence that is repeated. Each pattern pickup row is then raised in order of the pattern.
In order to tie the pickup threads, the pattern must be analyzed to determine how the pattern repeats.
For example in this simple 7 pattern thread design, there are 6 rows of pattern changes before the design repeats. So to set up this design, you will need to tie 6 sets of pattern thread groups.
The first one row picks up Pattern thread No. 1 and No. 7 – so tie thread loops around those 2 threads – and tape them together and Label as No. 1. To help me distinguish which row is what, I also use a different coloured pickup thread for each row.
The second row picks up Pattern threads No. 1, 2, 6 and 7 – so tie loops around those 4 threads – and tape them together and label as No. 2.
And so on until you have set up the 6 Pattern groups.
In this pattern, the pickup threads are the same, but the weaving sequence reverses going from 1 to 6, and back to 1.
I work from the side of the loom, so that I can easily reach both the front of the warp and the back, behind the heddles.
I use a small net shuttle to hold my yarn, so that my right hand is free to pickup the pattern groups. The small netting shuttle also acts as the beater for the weft. The shuttle is light weight so that when it drops, which it often does, it doesn’t put a lot of strain on the band, and the weft yarn doesn’t unravel and go all over the floor.
To weave the pickup, press on one of the foot pedals to raise the shaft.
All of the pattern threads should be floating in the centre, between the open shed.
With my right hand, I pull up on the first pattern group, No. 1. This raises only those pattern warp threads. Pass the shuttle through, under the raised pattern threads and the top ground threads.
Change the shed and beat.
Because you are weaving with a very tight sett on a narrow band, the warp has been pushed together very closely, the pattern threads tend to stick a bit. This needs to be cleared before you pick up the next pattern row. So make sure that all of the pattern threads are now again sitting in the middle of the warp, between the raised and lowered ground shafts.
(I have one set of pattern threads tied from the bottom, so that I can easily pull all of the pattern threads down when they get stuck.)
After you have cleared the shed, with your right hand, pick up the next pattern group and pass the shuttle through the raised pattern and ground threads.
As I work my way through picking up the pattern groups, I move them to the back of the loom, and then to the front again as I reverse direction. This helps me keep track of where I am, should I get interrupted.
To warp my new Glimakra band loom, I use a method that is similar to the way that I warp my large floor looms, front-to-back. The total length of the band loom is about a meter, a comfortable distance to reach both the back and the front beams of the loom, if you sit on the side, facing the heddles. This will feel a bit awkward at first, if you are used to working from the front beam of a floor loom. But everything is accessible, the front beam, the heddles, the back beam and the pedals. I do find the loom a bit high so that my shoulders get sore while working on it. Sitting on a higher chair such as a dining room chair, or the weaving bench helps to alleviate this problem.
I wind the warp on a warping board. When making narrow striped bands, you do need to change colours frequently, but it isn’t difficult to tie the previous end to the warping peg, and tie on a new colour.
In this simple band, I am using 40 ends of different colours. The draft shows which shaft to thread the yarn through alternating between the 2 shafts, Shaft 1 (Front heddle) Shaft 2 (Back heddle)
I have used 8/2 cotton for this band, but you can use any weight of yarn that you wish.
Turquoise Blue 20 Ends
Yellow 8 Ends
Red 8 Ends
Purple 4 Ends
Total 40 Ends
Warp Length: 3.5 Meters (including loom waste)
After winding the warp onto the warping board, I insert the lease sticks into the cross, and remove the warp from the warping board.
I use masking tape, to temporarily attach the warp onto the front beam of the band loom.
While sitting on the side of the loom, directly in front of the heddles, I move all of the heddles close to the front. Again, I use a small piece of masking tape on the last heddle, to prevent them from falling off the pegs while I am warping. I start to thread the heddles, working from the back of the loom to the front.
I select the warp ends from the lease sticks and thread each end through the next heddle, alternating between the Front and Back heddles according to the draft. The lease sticks keep the warp in threading order as I warp.
I find it easier to use my fingers to thread the texsolv heddles, rather than using a threading hook.
When all of the warp ends have been threaded, I tie them to the back beam.
I use 2 texsolv heddles to attach the rods to the back beam, rather than using the texsolv cord that was provided with the loom. I find the texsolv cord to be a bit too heavy.
I now remove the lease sticks – they aren’t really needed anymore as the warp threads are all in perfect order. I find it easier to wind on a smooth warp without the sticks.
Again, sitting at the side of the loom, directly in front of the heddles, I hold the warp threads with my left hand, and slowly wind the warp onto the back beam, winding the warp with my right hand. Occasionally I have to stop, and gently comb out any loose ends, and continue winding.
As I am winding the warp onto the back beam, I insert one of the warp sticks with each revolution. This helps to keep the warp tensioning even as you are winding on.
Once the warp has all been wound onto the back beam, I adjust the warp tension and tie the ends to the front beam.
As there is no reed on a band loom to help keep an even sett, weaving on a band loom is a bit more free form than weaving on a conventional table or floor loom. I find that it always takes a few inches of weaving, to determine the correct weaving tension in order to get straight edges.
Now that I have retired from the world of work, I have become more involved in production weaving. I am also now teaching workshops on a one-to-one basis. Here are some Links to my hand made products on Etsy and workshops that I offer.
Hand sewn reindeer leather and pewter thread bracelets, made in the Sami tradition.
Sami style medicine bags made with reindeer leather, wool felt and decorated with pewter thread embroidery.
Keychains made with reindeer leather, wool felt and embroidered with pewter thread.
Key fob wristlets hand woven in traditional Sami patterns made with wool and trimmed with reindeer leather.
Hand woven wool throws made with hand spun and dyed yarns.
Hand woven tea towels using organic cotton yarns.
Hand woven table mats and runners made with hand spun wool and linen yarns.
Ribbon, tape, sashes woven on a traditional Scandinavian band loom.
Hand dyed rainbow coloured yarns in different weights (lace weight, fingering, DK) for crewel work, knitting, crochet, embroidery, tapestry.
Hand spun thick and thin merino wool yarns perfect for knitting or woven Saori style fabrics.
Traditional Scandinavian needle felted gnomes, tonte, tonttu.
Hand felted wool diary and notebook covers decorated with Sami rock art designs.
Pure natural linen sauna bath towels.
Sami pickup band weaving workshops.
Hand spinning workshop for beginners and intermediate spinners.
Learn to warp and weave on a rigid heddle loom.
Beginner dye workshops on how to mix dyes to create colour.
I recently purchased a Glimakra 2 shaft band loom so that I can weave narrow bands more easily. I have been experimenting with how to also weave pickup patterns on this loom.
Although there are only 2 shafts on this loom, resulting in a tabby type of weave structure, you can also add another warp thread that does not go through one of the heddles. The warp thread rests on the front and back beam and does not move when the sheds are raised and lowered. The extra pattern thread sits in between the 2 threads that go up and down. This makes it possible to manually pick up or raise the pattern thread so that it shows above the ground weave. The pattern threads that are dropped, then move below the surface to the underside of the band.
When you pick up these pattern threads, it is important to have a tight tension on the weft, so that the warp threads are pulled closely together, creating a warp faced weave. If the weft is not pulled tightly enough, the extra pattern threads slip in between the background warp, instead of popping up to the surface, or below the ground weave structure.
The extra pattern thread (Blue) is not threaded through the 2 shafts but runs in the centre of the warp threads.
But because I was working with some sticky wool yarn, I thought that I would add another heddle in between the 2 shafts, in order to help separate the warp threads a bit better, to help with the sticky warp. I used the 2 extra posts that come with the loom for inkle weaving, and used some standard length texsolv heddles on these posts. I adjusted the length of the heddles by tying small knots at either end, so that the heddle fits the length of the posts.
Since the pattern threads sit clearly in the centre of the raised and lowered warp threads, it is quite simple to pick up the pattern threads that you want, and then pass the weft shuttle through the raised warp.
Of course, since I am doing pickup weaving rather than simply passing the shuttle through, it is a bit slower going than weaving the standard style of bands. But this method makes it possible to weave intricate designs on the simple band loom.
As this is a somewhat sticky wool warp, I open the shed with my fingers rather than beating into place with the shuttle.
Many bands are woven using a small bobbin to hold the yarn, and the weft is beaten down with a band knife.
I prefer to weave with the yarn wrapped on a netting shuttle as this leaves my second hand free to pick up the yarns and the weft can also be beaten with the edge of the shuttle. I like to use a small size fishing shuttle as I find it easier to hold in my hand than the larger Stoorstalka one.
Woven narrow bands are generally woven warp-faced so the warp threads are sett very close together. When using a wool warp yarn, the wool tends to be a bit hairy and can cause the warp to be quite sticky and almost impossible to change the shed or pass the shuttle through very easily. This can be extremely frustrating.
To help solve this problem, there are a few things you can do. Extra Lease Sticks
Open the shed and put a stick through the warp, at the back of the loom. Then open the other shed and put another stick into the shed. This helps to separate the warp yarns.
There are a number of products that you can use to coat the warp yarn, to help reduce the fuzz and stickiness. You may have to try a few to see what works best with your yarn.
Coat the yarn with some hair conditioner to help smooth the frizziness. I tried the hair conditioner on a small section. I found that it worked somewhat but there was still some stickiness.
I wound all of the remaining warp on the loom, onto the front beam, and as I rolled the warp, I sprayed the warp yarns with some spray starch. Then I rolled the warp back onto the back beam. I let this dry for about an hour before I wove again.
This seemed to work much better. Next time, I will spray the warp before I wind it onto the loom.
Boiled flour sizing will work on both wool and cotton yarns.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups water
Make a past of the flour and mis in some of the water. When the mixture is smooth, add a cup of water and heat slowly. Continue to stir and bring the water to boil. Continue to stir until the mixture becomes pearly and translucent. Add the remaining water, remove from heat and stir until the mixture is smooth. The sizing mixture is ready to use.
2 Tbsp or 2 packets of gelatin powder. (unflavoured)
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup hot water
Soak the gelatin powder with the 1/4 cup cold water until it swells.
Stir in 1 cup boiling water until gelatin dissolves.
Add remaining 3/4 cup cold water.
Gelatin sizing is ready to use.
This sizing can be runny but dries quickly.
1 pkg instant non-fat dry milk
2 cups cool water
Stir powdered milk into water until well mixed.
Milk sizing is ready to use.
Do not use whole milk as the butterfat can be difficult to scour out.
Band Weaving Books
Some of these books are out of print.
Traditional Finnish Decorative Bands by Theodor Schvindt (English) ISBN 978-952-5774-88-7 available from Salakirjat
Moraband by Barbro Wallin (Swedish) ISBN: 978-01-978632-5-4 available from Zorn Museum
Esti Kirivööd by Piia Rand (Estonian) ISBN: 978-9949-9363-2-8
Lapilised Vööd by Merike Freienthal and Veinika Västrik (Estonian) ISBN: 978-9949-9363-0-4 avalable from Apollo
Patterned Sashes: The Common Cultural Layer by Anete Karlsone, Latvijas Nacionalais Kulturas Centrs, 2014 ISBN 978-9934-528-09-5 (Latvian)
Lithuanian Sashes by Anastazija Tamosaitiene and Antanas Tamosaitis, Toronto:Canada, 1988, ISBN 0-9191187-04-8
Sjnjissjkot ja lahtat Samiska band fran Arvidsjaur, Arjeplog och Mala (2000) published by Sameslojdstiftelsen Sámi Duodji ISBN 91-631-0499-7
Girjjit Samisks vavmonster Karesuando, Jukkasjarvi och Gallivare (1999) ISBN 91-630-9564-5
Haugen, A (1987) Samisk Husfild I Finnmark, Oslo, Norsk Folkemuseum ISBN 82-529-1073-4
Latviesu Jostas Latvian Belts by Aleksandra Dzervitis and Lilija Treimanis
Lithuanian Sashes by Anastazija Tamosaitiene and Antanas Tamosaitis, Toronto:Canada, 1988, ISBN 0-9191187-04-8
The latest loom to enter my loom collection is a 2 shaft band loom made by Glimakra. I like to weave narrow bands using a small, hand held rigid hedddle, but I am hopeful that a band loom will make the band weaving process more efficient.
The Glimakra band loom arrived (Ikea style) in a box, as an assortment of wooden sticks and a one page diagram of how to put the bits together.
After a bit of pondering, I sorted the wooden bits into sections.
Once I had all the pieces sorted, it was fairly easy to assemble the loom following the diagram provided.
I slid the 2 shaft sections into the 2 center pieces and attached them with the 2 screws provided.
Then I attached the front and back pieces to the side panels of the loom.
The foot pedals are attached to the 2 shafts with the texsolv that has been provided, and tied to the side panels with the leather strips.
My Glimakra Band Loom is ready to go!
My First Band Loom Warp
I wanted to weave some fine tape for sewing hanging loops for tea towels that I have been weaving.
Grene rugs and blankets were a traditional style of blanket woven by the Saami on warp weighted looms. They were made of hand spun wool. The top edge of the blanket had a braid that was woven using a Saami weaving reed. The weft threads of the braid were the ends of the lengths of warp threads. This braided edge helped to provide the correct sett to the weaving and created a firm and stable border which was then tied to the top beam of the warp weighted loom.
I recently worked on a commission to weave a Grene veving style Saami blanket. Since I don’t own a warp-weighted loom I had to figure out how to weave such an edge onto the blanket. Some years ago when I was visiting a textile museum in Finland, I saw a demonstration of Karelian tablet weaving. Textile fragments from Viking age gravesites have been found that feature card woven edges on aprons, and clothing edges. I thought that this method of weaving the braid after the yardage has been woven would work. Rather than using tablet weaving I wove the braid with my Beaivi weaving reed. Card Woven Braid Edging Blue Skirts and Golden Belts
Grene Veving, Rátno goddin or branch weaving has been part of the Saami culture since 600 AD. The warp-weighted weaving loom was easily constructed and portable as it was comprised of a few logs or branches that could be easily set up and moved. Grene blankets and rugs were woven with linen and wool yarns. The wool was hand spun and patterns were generally woven weft faced in a twill fashion. The warp yarns were tighly spun as singles yarn. The weft was more loosely spun singles yarn, spun in the opposite direction. To create a dense weave that would withstand the weather, the weft was firmly beaten so the warp didn’t show, except at the fringed bottom of the blanket. The wools were mainly of natural white and grey colours and decorative striped patterns were woven into the design. Because dyes were a scarce resource, these dyed yarns were mainly used in the reed woven borders that trimmed the rugs.
Grene blankets and rugs had many uses such as bed blankets, sled coverings, and tent covers. Because they were woven of wool, the fabric was was both insulating and water resistant. Grena fabric became valuable tender and the local Saami could not afford to make Grene fabric soley for their own use. The blankets were woven for payment of taxes and also sold mainly to Norwegians and others in order to purchase other supplies and goods that were needed.
Greneveving is still being woven today and can be purchased from the online store at Manndalen Husflid.
My version of a Grene style blanket. I wove this on my +100 year old Snickeri loom. The warp was mill spun wool. For the weft I used hand spun natural white and grey Blue Faced Leicester wools and wove this blanket in twill weave.
I threaded my Beaivi double hole weaving reed with dyed yarns in traditional Saami colours (Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Black) As I was going to weave only a simple ground weave and not add a supplementary warp pattern, I used only the bottom set of holes and the slots. I left the top row of holes unthreaded. You can use a standard single hole weaving reed for this type of braid.
I tied the warp ends to the top beam of my double beam loom and wound the warp around the beam. You can of course tie the warp ends to just about anything – a clamp on the edge of a table, or any post that is of the correct height.
When I cut the blanket warp off the loom, I left about 5 inches of unwoven warp at the end of the blanket. This may vary depending on how wide you want the woven braid to be. I moved a table close to the warp and laid the blanket onto the table.
Using the same wool yarn as I used for the blanket, I first wove a few inches of plain weave for the braid, until I got the tension correct for the width of braid.
Using a large paper clip, I fastened the end of the woven braid onto a cutting mat or art board to help hold it securely while I weave. I placed the woven blanket close to the edge of the braid and fastened it in place with a few large paperclips clipped to the cutting mat.
I opened the next shed of the braid. Using the cut end of the warp threads I picked up the first 3 warp ends from the blanket.
(You will need to experiment to see what is the correct number of warp threads to pick up to fit the sett of your woven piece. For this blanket I picked up 3 warp threads)
I passed these through the open shed to the left, to weave these through braid warp.
I changed sheds and pulled snugly on the 3 warp threads to pull the braid close to the edge of the blanket warp.
Holding the warp edges firmly to the edge of the blanket, I then wrapped and passed 2 of these warp threads back through the open warp (to the Right).
(I left the third warp thread on the left side of the braid so that I can sew this in later to help further secure the edge of the braid and to fix any possible skips etc. Thought you can weave this through at the same time if you wish)
I then picked up 3 new warp threads from the blanket edge and passed these through the same open shed (to the Left)
Then I changed sheds, tightened the warp ends and beat the weft into place with my fingers.
Continue weaving the rest of the braid to the blanket repeating the steps above.
Pickup up 3 warp ends
(To the Left) Weave these through the open shed.
Change shed and pull the warp ends to adjust the tension.
Drop one of the warp ends and weave the 2 remaining warp ends through the open shed. (to the Right)
Pick up 3 new warp ends from the blanket and weave these through the same open shed (to the Left)
Change shed and adjust tension.
Weave to the end of the blanket, and then using the same type of yarn as the blanket warp, weave another 2 of inches of braid.
Cut the warp ends and sew the braid end to finish.
Trim off the woven edges of the warp close to the edge of the braid. Using a sewing needle weave the remaining warp ends (from the outside Left edge of the blanket back through the woven braid to further secure the braid to the blanket.
How to Weave A Grene Saami Band onto a Woven Blanket Video
Simple finger-woven bands, soda-straw loom bands,hungarian-loom bands,twining-loom bands,rigid-heddle bands,band weaving on the american inkle loom,card-woven bands andweaving variations for special effects.
Tenntrådsbroderi, or embroidering with pewter or tin thread is almost a lost art. The Saami used tin thread since the 1600’s to decorate their clothing. The tin was obtained by melting down old pewter plates and dishes and was spun into thread. The use of pewter thread has recently become fashionable in jewellery items such as pewter braided reindeer leather bracelets worn by actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch.
Tin thread is quite difficult to work with and requires a lot of patience and practice to make. This is a how-to project for making a reindeer leather keychain with tin embroidery.
Working with tin and leather can also be quite hard on your hands so if you have any hand, wrist or shoulder problems, please do not try this project. If you do this project or any other needlework project be sure to take frequent breaks and or work on a different type of project, to give your hands a rest.
You will need:
a small piece of reindeer leather, about 9 cm x 7 cm
a narrow strip of reindeer leather, 1.5 cm x 24 cm
Tin thread, about 1 meter length
a small square of wool felt, wadmal or a sturdy piece of wool cloth, about 7 cm x 7 cm
light iron on interfacing, linen fabric or natural cotton fabric, about 7 cm x 7 cm
fine leather needle
silk thread or good quality polyester thread
invisible sewing thread
metric graph paper
fine permanent marker felt tip pens
Sketch the pattern onto metric lined graph paper. This pattern has been drawn on 5 mm lined graph paper.
Trace the pattern onto iron on interfacing using a permanent marker. I have marked the end points of each snowflake with dark blue ink. This makes it easier to see the end of the stitch when you are embroidering.
Iron the interfacing onto the back of the small piece of wool felt or fabric. In this example I have used a small piece of handmade wool felt but you can use wadmal (which is a woven wool fabric that has been felted) or other sturdy wool fabric. I have also used linen fabric for the pattern rather than interfacing, because I happened to have some in my stash.
I have stitched the fabric onto the felt using a basting stitch.
You will need about a meter of tin thread for this project. If you have a longer length of tin such as on a spool, don’t cut it at this point. Instead I sew with it while it is still on the spool and cut the end when I am done, so that I don’t have any waste as the pewter thread is quite expensive to buy.
Tin thread comes in a number of thicknesses ranging from .25 to .5 in diameter. For this project I have used .3 but you can use a finer tin thread .25 or a thicker one if that is what you have on hand.
To make it easier to thread the end through to the back of the felt, you will need to unravel a bit of the tin from the core thread. The tin has been spun around a core thread. Pinch the end of the thread between your thumb and forefinger about 2 cm from the end. With your other hand give a bit of a twist to the thread. The tin will untwist and can be stretched out.
Starting at the centre of the snowflake thread your sewing needle through the felt and pull the unraveled ends of the tin thread through to the back of the work.
Tin Thread Embroidery
Thread a sewing needle with the invisible nylon thread. I find it best to tie a couple of knots at the end of the thread, one on top of another to make a secure knot.
Sew a few stitches to secure the ends of the tin thread to the back of the fabric.
Using the pattern drawn on the back of the work as your guide, follow carefully along the lines as you stitch the tin thread to the wool felt. Pull the needle to the front of the work, and stitch the tin thread to the wool felt. Work your way along the pattern being careful to keep the stitches in line with the pattern. Use very small stitches to sew the work.
When you get to a corner, push the needle through to the front of the work, and wrap the tin thread around the needle to form the corner. I give the tin thread a bit of a pinch to help hold the shape. Sew the corner securely in place. Pewter thread is quite soft. The thread can break while you are working with it, so do this carefully.
Once you have stitched your way around the pattern cut the tin thread leaving an end of about 2 cm. Pinch the end of the thread and unravel it as before.
Thread this through to the back of the work.
Draw an outline cutting pattern for the key fob on a piece of graph paper and cut it out.
Using this paper pattern cut the embroidered felt to the shape of the key fob pattern.
Cut a piece of reindeer leather using the same pattern.
Put the cut reindeer leather and the embroidered felt together. Using the leather needle threaded with polyester or silk thread, stitch around both of them using a whip stitch. Fold the end section of the reindeer leather under and stitch into place.
To make the key fob a bit thicker insert a small piece of plastic or other thick material in between the felt and the leather.
Reindeer Leather Edge Finish
Fold the 24 cm strip of reindeer leather in half and cut a small slit in the centre. This will fit over the top part of the key fob.
Sew the leather edge to the key fob using small backstitching.
Paivatar Yarn on Etsy
I hope that you will visit my shop on Etsy and add a like.