Tag Archives: Sami band weaving

Sigga Heddle Band Weaving

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

Sigga Heddle
Sigga Heddle

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.

Sigga Heddle Weaving
Sigga Heddle 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.

Sigga Weaving Draft
Sigga Weaving Draft

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.
Sami Belt Woven on Sigga heddle.
Sami Belt Woven on Sigga heddle.

Sigga Heddle Woven Band
Sigga Heddle Woven Band

Paivatar Yarn on Etsy
If you are looking for Stoorstalka weaving reeds and supplies, please check out my shop on Etsy.

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.

Weaving Books
Weaving Patterned Bands: How to Create and Design with 5, 7, and 9 Pattern Threads

Handwoven Tape: Understanding and Weaving Early American and Contemporary Tape

Norwegian Pick-Up Bandweaving

Weaving Bands: Woven bands / Table Bands / Plaited Bands / Insertion Bands

Weave Pickup Patterns on Band Loom

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.

Band Loom Pattern Pickup
Band Loom Pattern Pickup

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.

Band Loom Pickup Shed
Band Loom Pickup Shed

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.

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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.

Pattern Pickup on Band Loom
Pattern Pickup on Band Loom

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.

Band Loom Pickup
Band Loom Pickup

As this is a somewhat sticky wool warp, I open the shed with my fingers rather than beating into place with the shuttle.

Band Loom Pickup
Band Loom Pickup

9 Thread Pattern Block

Warp Length: 2 meters
Background Warp Yarn: 8/2 Wool
No. Ends: 58
Pattern Warp Yarn: 6/2 Wool
No. Ends: 9

9 Thread Pattern Block
9 Thread Pattern Block

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.

Como 8 Pcs Yellow Plastic Fishing Line Repair Netting Needle Shuttles
8 Pcs Yellow Plastic Fishing Line Repair Netting Needle Shuttles

Sticky Warp
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.

Sticky Shed Warp Sticks
Sticky Shed Warp Sticks

Warp Sizing
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.

Hair Conditioner
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.

Spray Starch
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
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.

References: Big Book of Handspinning, Alden Amos

The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft

Band Weaving
How to Weave Pickup on a Band loom – Simplified
Glimakra Band Loom
Grene Band Weaving Finish
Beaivi Band Loom Weaving

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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

Floor Weaving Loom

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Ashford 32" Rigid Heddle Loom

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Kessenich Hand Weaving 14" Tabletop Loom

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Rigid Heddle Band Weaving: Beaivi video

Here is a YouTube video demonstrating how to weave using the Beaivi weaving loom – A Sami-style 2 hole rigid heddle.

This Sami loom can be purchased from Stoorstalka.

Weaving Draft
The weaving draft for this Sami band:

A pickup weaving pattern for a Sami 2 Hole Rigid Heddle loom, worked over 9 pattern threads.

      Please note:


    The pattern draft has been turned on its side so that it fits better on the page.


To read the draft, the background pattern threads are threaded alternately through the bottom set of holes and the slots.
e.g. in this pattern starting from the right side, there are 2 green threads, 4 white, 2 red, 2 blue, 4 red and so on. Thread the first green yarn through the first slot on the right, the next green through the bottom hole, the next white through the following slot, next white through the next bottom hole etc. Continue following the pattern and warp the loom across.

Once you have completed threading the background threads, then thread the white pattern threads (9) centering them into the middle of the warp and thread them through the top holes.


    Beaivi (or Päivi in Finnish) is the Sami name for the Sun or Sun deity. In Sami myth, she travels with her daughter Beaivi-nieida through the sky in an enclosure covered by reindeer bones, bringing green plants back to the winter earth for the reindeer to eat. She was also called upon to restore the mental health of those who went insane because of the continual darkness of the long winter.

Sami Band Weaving
How to warp the Saami Beaivi Loom

Sami 2 Hole Weaving Reed

My Saami Heritage

Sami Gallery
A wonderful gallery of Inari Sami Duodji

Saami Beaivi Loom Weaving Workshops

Beginner Saami Pickup Band Weaving Learn the basics of how to weave pickup using a Beaivi double hole rigid heddle loom.

Beavi 2 Hole Weaving Reed
Beavi 2 Hole Weaving Reed

You can now purchase these Sami band weaving reeds through my Etsy shop.

Ravelry Discussion

Looms To Go Discussion Group

Band Weaving Books
Weaving Patterned Bands: How to Create and Design with 5, 7, and 9 Pattern Threads
Norwegian Pick-Up Bandweaving
Weaving Bands: Woven bands / Table Bands / Plaited Bands / Insertion Bands

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Double Hole Rigid Heddle: aa042009

We may be familiar with the standard rigid heddle loom consisting of a reed with slots and holes. In some parts of Scandinavia, a rigid heddle with an extra set of holes or slots is also used. The pattern weft is threaded through the additional top holes, making it easy to pick up the pattern. The standard holes and slots carry the ground warp.

FI – Pirtanauha

More about weaving with a Double slot weaving reed

Double Hole Rigid Heddle Weaving Instructions
Ingrid Hanssen provides detailed instructions on how to weave using a double hole rigid heddle.

Double Hole Tape Looms
Tropical Twister describes how she weaves patterns using a double hole weaving reed.

Double Hole Rigid Heddle Weaving
Grace Hatton describes how to weave pickup designs on a double hole weaving reed.

Double Hole Rigid Heddle Weaving Instructions
Ingrid Hanssen provides detailed instructions on how to weave using a double hole rigid heddle.

Sami Band Weaving

Saami Band Weaving

Rigid Heddle Band Weaving patterns

2 Hole Weaving Reeds
My new weaving loom.

Stoorstalka Weaving Reeds
A traditional Sami weaving reed made of modern materials.

Sami weaving loom
Background of the modern Sami Weaving Loom

Why not a good old loom made of reindeer horn?

Sami Band Weaving Books

Sue Foulkes has written a few books about Sami band weaving and using a Sunna heddle.

Norwegian Pick-Up Bandweaving
The Techniques of Tablet Weaving

Saami Music – Itunes

Binna Banna – Kikki Aikio
Áphi (Wide As Oceans) – Sofia Jannok
Ulda – Ulla Pirttijärvi & Ulda
The Kautokeino Rebellion (Music from the Movie) – Herman Rundberg, Mari Boine & Svein Schultz
Beaivi, Áhcázan (The Sun, My Father) – Nils-Aslak Valkeapää

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