How to Use a Pick Up Stick

Comments 3

You can do more than tabby (plain weave) with a rigid heddle. You start with Pick Up Control. That's done by pushing your heddle into the down position and inserting a warp separator such as a stick, paper, cardboard or anything into the shed created behind the heddle so that you can see only all the slot threads. Then you use a pick up stick to pick up only those slot threads you want to use in your design. Once you do that you remove the separator and leave only the pick up stick in place.

Once the stick is in place, it's a matter of leaving it near the warp beam (neutral position) or bringing it behind the heddle, either laying flat or turned on edge.

In this video I picked up 2 slot threads, skipped 2 slot threads, then did a repeated sequence of moving the heddle up or down, while moving the stick forward or back, etc.

Here's how to produce a waffle weave (great for towels or blankets)

Pattern Code:
U = Heddle up
D = Heddle down
U+S = Heddle Up and Stick forward (flat)
SE = Heddle neutral with stick forward but turned on edge

Waffle Weave:

Pick Up Control: Skip 2, Pick Up 2.

U, SE, U, SE, U,

D, U+S, D, U+S, D


Another Waffle Weave:

Pick Up Control: Skip 1, Pick Up 1

D, U+S, D, U, SE, U



Don't have a pick up stick? Next time you or someone you know makes a visit to the hardware store, have them ask for a couple of wooden paint stir sticks. Wink

Paint Stir Stick

You can use a ruler or stiff cardboard too. Look around the house, you're bound to find something that will work!

Here's a wonderful video by Kelly Casanova showing how to do waffle weave.


  1. Mae

    I am getting a rigid heddle loom with two heddles, and I was wondering, if I thread one heddle the regular way (aka, slot hole slot hole) and the other heddle slot slot hole hole slot slot hole hole, could I recreate the waffle pattern you describe?

  2. Joyce (Author)

    I have not tried it any other way than what is described on this page, but I think your idea would be a fun experiment. However, I think using a single heddle with the sticks is way easier to set up and use, to be honest. Remember that the threads coming out of the back heddle will have to go only through slots in the front heddle to be able to weave that way. Things can get rather tight inside the slot where there’s several threads going through. Threads may not slide past one another making for a “sticky” situation where the sheds are not very clear. The other problem I see is that, remember, slot threads never move. You will still need to find a way to have those threads go either up or down. Good Luck and Happy Weaving!

  3. Laurel Robbins

    Thank you for the great video on using pickup sticks! I haven’t begun weaving yet – I haven’t yet opened my new rigid heddle loom and am very excited about learning to weave. I have knitting projects to finish for Christmas and I’m being very good about not opening my package with my new loom yet. I haven’t been so good about looking up resources though, and I was very confused about the use of the pickup stick. You make it look so easy – thank you!


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