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Weaving Patterns with Pick Up Sticks

Friday June 12, 2009

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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 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.

In this video I picked up 2, skipped 2 then did a repeated sequence of moving the heddle up or down, 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!


Filed under categories: Designs, Videos

30 comments so far… won't you join in? You know you want to! :D

Sue says:

OOOOh THANKYOU! That was very helpful. I have a Beka 20” and I am experimenting and loving it! But, you just gave me many more ideas! Yeah!

Posted: Monday June 22, 2009

Joyce says:

Sue, thanks for writing! I’m so glad I was able to help and/or inspire someone. I’m so glad you wrote to let me know. I appreciate very much hearing from visitors!!!

I’m still in the process of warping my loom, I want to try weaving with 2 heddles this time.

Posted: Thursday June 25, 2009

CreativeWhimsy says:

So that’s how it’s done. Thanks for the video!

Posted: Friday July 24, 2009

Anne says:

Found you via YouTube and will be following your weaving threads!! with interest Thank you :)

Posted: Tuesday July 28, 2009

Kathie says:

Your video is great and I hope you will keep adding to this site too. I just bought a rigid heddle loom and I’m looking forward to learning how to use it!

Posted: Thursday August 27, 2009

Joyce says:

Thanks Kathie! I got really busy lately with other projects. My bad. I hope to get to finishing warping my loom real soon…I’m setting it up for double heddles so it’s taking me a while on top of getting distracted with other projects. I’m going to make a point of it tomorrow to finish that up and get back to weaving.

Posted: Saturday August 29, 2009

Marian says:

Excellant I have just bought Kromski Harp and now I have the inspiration to try the pickup technique

Posted: Monday September 28, 2009

Joyce says:

Wonderful, Marian! I’m very interested in how it turns out. Keep us posted!!! :)

Posted: Sunday October 4, 2009

Rosemarie says:

Can I ask a couple of questions, if you have time I would appreciate it.
For the shoulder bag how many strings did you use to warp? (sorry I don’t know the lingo yet)
Do you think that red with black would be nice? I want to make a scarf to match my coat.
Or can I use three colors, black, red and white or cream? Did you make up this pattern I guess you are proud of yourself and will allow us to copy?
Thank you so much, if you can’t answer I will understand.

Posted: Tuesday October 6, 2009

Robin says:

I really liked the video. I just bought a Kromski and have never used one. Do you hwave a video on warping? I can’t get that straight in my mind. Also, do you have strings that hold the bars on each end where you wind the warp up on paper? if so, what do you use if you ever have to replace the strings?

thanks for all the good info.

Posted: Friday October 9, 2009

Joyce says:

@Robin, thanks for writing! :) Always good to hear from my visitors! :)

Yes, I have several pages about warping. Have a poke around on the site, I’m sure you’ll find them. :D

My Beka Loom doesn’t come with beam sticks (apron rods) and it’s a MUST for a loom, if you ask me! So, I created them using string, dowels and a staple gun! :) I describe it in my Loom Review article.

Hope that helps!!!


Honestly, I have no idea how many “ends” (warp threads) I used for the shoulder bag, the entire process started out as an experiment and when it started turning out like it did, that’s when I decided to make the video on it.

The shoulder bag was an after thought months later (hmmm…what can I make out of this?). It’s about 13” wide and I wove it on a 10 Dent heddle using #10 crochet cotton for the warp and regular knitting yarn for the weft, if that helps.

I imagine it would look awesome in any color combination your imagination comes up with! Go for it! :)

Posted: Friday October 9, 2009

Anne Warwick says:

Thank you for a great video. I have been trying to work out how to use pick-up sticks and this video has been a great help to me.
I have a Kromski rigid heddle loom and would like to be a bit more adventurous with my weaving.

Posted: Wednesday November 25, 2009

PattyAnne says:

Hey, Have you seen this site? I think you’ll love it if you haven’t!

Happy New Year!!


Posted: Friday January 1, 2010

Gloria Wilson says:

just bought my first weaving loom (Flip Loom) and saw your youtube videos.. I plan on learning a lot from you.

Posted: Saturday March 27, 2010

Susan Palwick says:

Hi! I’m about to weave a shawl in this pattern (on a 24” Ashford RH), and I have a question, although I’m such a newbie that I’m not sure I can phrase it coherently! But here goes: I want to make sure that my weft will always “catch” at the end of each pick (so I don’t have to go through the hassle of wrapping around the first warp thread before the next pick). For the pickup pattern, do I want to end on two up, or two down? In other words, am I warping in a multiple of 4, or a multiple of 4 plus 2?

Thanks! I hope this makes even a little sense. If you could e-mail me at [email protected], I’d really appreciate it!

Thanks so much,
Susan Palwick

Posted: Monday October 3, 2011

Joyce says:


One way of doing it is to have a floating warp on each end. This warp never moves, so there’s no stick and it goes only through a slot. It just floats in neutral all the time.

When weaving, you pass the shuttle into the shed over the floating warp and then, when exiting the shed, go under the floating warp on the other side. This will ensure an “over/under” of the warp thread by the weft thread with each pick on each side of the selvege.

Posted: Monday October 3, 2011

Virginia says:

can you double weave with one harness and
pickup sticks???

Posted: Thursday January 26, 2012

Joyce says:

@Virginia Do you mean one harness and 3 pick up sticks? Probably not. The stick in front of the rest of them will prevent threads from being lifted by the sticks behind it. You can do this with one RH reed, a string heddle bar and 2 pick up sticks, but it will be really fiddly to set up and use, I think. Unless you get a draft meant for harness looms and just set up string heddles…there’s always that option.

Posted: Thursday January 26, 2012

JoyceM says:

Thanks much for great Ideas. Just got my little brio loom as an early Christmas gift, still just doing plain weave this will give me more to work with.
Again Thanks.

Posted: Saturday December 1, 2012

Joyce says:

I have a Brio loom too, it’s sooooooooo cute!!! I love it for small projects and it’s perfect for sampling. You’ll get a lot of use out of it, I’m sure. I know I do.

Posted: Monday December 3, 2012

BettyJC says:

Greetings! I, today, received a Brio Table Loom and was ecstatic about it until I realized that the Heddle had completely disintegrated!!?! Can you tell me how one would go able replacing such a thing or where I could perhaps find a replacement Heddle? I have searched the “net “ for the last 3 hours without any solution. Help!! and thanks in advance. BJC

Posted: Monday December 3, 2012

Joyce says:

Is the heddle plastic or is it string heddles on a counter balance rod? You can make a rigid heddle out of popsicle sticks. I have articles on how to make string hedles. Search the site (search box upper right) or check out the DIY catetory, I have a lot on making simple looms and DIY heddles both rigid and string. If you can send me a photograph of the loom, I can probably help you more.

Posted: Tuesday December 4, 2012

Joyce m Gentile says:

Hi Joyce, I’m a Joyce as well.
I’m thinking of doing a Stole for a Priest friend of mine. (Its a narrow scarf like vestment that go’s around the neck of the priest while doing many different services in and outside of church.) But at any rate .. I would love to make a narrow border of crosses to go from side to side … do you have any pick up tech that might help me? Thanks much. for example…. ——————- +++++++++ ——————- or somthing similar!

Posted: Sunday December 16, 2012

Joyce says:

Yes, Joyce. Search my blog for stuff relating to Inkle Loom. Techniques are the same for any type of weaving.

Posted: Sunday December 16, 2012

Crystal Bennett says:

Hi Joyce, I’ve watched your videos and they are wonderful. I do have a question about using shed sticks with a rigid heddle loom. I’m not sure I’m “getting” the actual operation, because it seems like the warp threads are just not being picked up on the backside of my weaving, and I have a problem of not catching the selvage threads on every row. What am I doing wrong, and can you recommend a good book with detailed instructions for patterned weaving on a RH loom? I checked out Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Linn Davenport, and Rigid Heddle Weaving by Karen Swanson, but I’m afraid they aren’t quite as detailed as I’d hoped.
Thanks in advance :)

Posted: Wednesday February 13, 2013

Joyce says:


To ensure that selvage threads get picked up you should warp the loom so that the selvages end in holes or if they are in slots that they are not part of the pick up control.

Patterns and Textures by Betty Linn Davenport goes more into pick up techniques. Jane Patrick has several good books too.

Hope that helps!

Posted: Friday February 15, 2013

Crystal Bennett says:

Thank so much! I’m going to work on this tomorrow, and really appreciate your help! :)

Posted: Saturday February 16, 2013

Amanda says:

2 questions for you:

Why do most books and the Craftsy teachers say to leave the weft thread at an angle before beating, but you pull it almost even with the weaving? Just curious.

And what is the third video? It doesn’t appear to be up anymore.

LOVE your site!!!

Posted: Saturday March 8, 2014

Joyce says:

It has to do with giving the thread enough slack to “bend” in the shed and prevent a drawing-in at the sides. The thread doesn’t go in a totally straight line. It has to “bend” between the warp threads. Look at how a basket is woven and you’ll see what I mean. In the case of the first video, I was using a sett that was very wide and the weft didn’t have to do as much “bending” as it would have had to do and so didn’t need as much slack as you normally would need for a balanced plain weave.

In the second video, it was a narrow band. Again, not a lot of slack was needed.

It’s always good practice to weave in the “weaver’s angle”. I have other videos on the blog pertaining to selvedges so check that out too.

There are only 2 videos on this page, that I am aware of but I’ll double check the code to make sure nothing’s missing.

Happy Weaving!

Posted: Sunday March 9, 2014

Amanda says:

It might not be a video. Maybe a pic? It’s a white box with a tiny blue “?” In it, under “Another waffle weave”. For those waffle weaves, does it matter how many ends?

Thanks again!

Posted: Sunday March 9, 2014

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