Sami band weaving has traditionally been woven using a small reed made of wood or bone. The heddle has long slots alternating with small holes for the warp. The band is woven by raising or lowering the heddle and passing the weft through the warp opening.
Stoorstalka from Sweden have redesigned the traditional Saami weaving reed using modern materials. Stoorstalka have also designed 3 different styles of reed with additional holes and slots to make weaving patterned bands a bit easier to weave.
One of these is the Sigga Heddle.
The Sigga heddle was designed for weaving block style patterns,traditionally worn by the Ume Saami and Lule Saami.
Sami Band Weaving
The Sigga Heddle has alternating long slots and small holes that are designed to carry the background warp for the woven band. The Sigga style of reed weaves a tabby weave structure for the background of the band.
The Sigga Heddle also has several shorter slots in the centre of the reed. These are for the pattern warp threads.
When raising or lowering the reed, the pattern threads float in the middle of the warp.
When warping the reed, it is suggested that you use a slightly finer weight of yarn for the background threads and a heavier weight of thread for the pattern threads. This helps to make the pattern more visible.
Personally, I think that the Sigga heddle is the easiest reed for a beginner to learn about patterned band weaving.
In order to weave the pattern, the shuttle is passed either over or under the middle pattern threads. Passing the yarn under the pattern threads, raises the pattern to the surface of the band.
Passing the shuttle over the pattern threads lowers the pattern to the reverse side of the band.
A mirror image of the pattern will be created on the reverse side of the band.
To add additional pattern variety to the woven band, you may pick up and raise part of the middle pattern threads, instead of all of them.
The patterns are generally woven with 3 repeating picks of the shuttle, though you may want to experiment with a varied number of picks to see what pattern effects you can create.
Sigga 8 Pattern Draft
Here is a weaving draft that I recently made using the Sigga 8 weaving heddle.
I used the same weight of wool yarn for both the background and the pattern threads. In my next project I will use cotton for the background and wool for the pattern threads.
Warp: Áhkko 4 ply wool yarn. This is a wool yarn developed by Stoorstalka (the wool is spun in Italy) and is pure wool, non-superwash.
To make a 2 meter belt, I threaded 3 meters of warp yarn.
I used the same 4 ply wool yarn for the weft of the band.
To weave the band, I lowered and raised the reed on alternate picks, passing the shuttle through the warp.
To weave the block pattern, I passed the shuttle under the pattern threads for 3 picks of the shuttle.
Alternating with 3 picks, over the pattern threads.
Saamenpuku sitoo ihmiset yhteen
Traditional Saami Clothing Brings People Together
(Google translation may be required)
Quick Guide to Saami Culture
A discussion about Sámi Gákti, wearing Saami clothing and cultural misappropriation.
Saami Band Weaving
What is Sami Duodji
Saami Band Weaving Drafts: samidrafts
Saami Pickup Weaving Pattern: blsami6
Rigid Heddle Band Weaving: Beaivi video
Double Slot Weaving Reed
Band weaving: aa101111
Bands and Braids: braiding
Double Hole Rigid Heddle: aa042009
Band Weaving Books
Stoorstalka Heddles on Ebay
I now sell some of the Stoorstalka heddles through my shop Paivatar Yarn Shop on EBay.