Twill houndstooth check on the rigid heddle loom

Shepherd’s Check, Pied de poule, houndstooth – this is a classic, which I now note is quite trendy this year, and I decided I would weave it exaclty in its classic form, namely alternating groups of 4 warp threads in two contrasting colours, and alternating groups of four picks in each colour. To better manage the carrying of weft along the sides, I started each colour on a different side, and followed Madelyn van der Hoogt advice of treating the inactive weft thread as a floating selvege: weave over it when entering the shed, and under it when exiting the shed.

Is is a simple weave, and pretty straightforward to thread and weave with three heddles, but I found it so effective! This is yardage which will eventually turn into a skirt.

The draft for the Rigid Heddle Loom is below, where as previously I ∧ stands for “raise” and ∨ stands for “lower” the corresponding reed, while in the threading “I” stands for “thread through hole in heddle I, and slots in heddles II and III”, “II” stands for “thread through hole in heddle II, and slots in heddles I and III”, “III” stands for “thread through hole in heddle III, and slots in heddles I and III”, and “S” stands for “thread through slots in all heddles”

So the threading is a straigth twill threading.

To actually thread the three rigid heddles, I used this diagram, where the long rectangles stand for slots, and the small squares represent a hole. The colours are to make it easier to follow the threading, but as in the draft above, I alternated groups of 4 threads each in the two colours.

With 204 ends, I had 51 repeats. In addition there are two floating selvedges, one at each side, separated from the rest of the threading by an empty slot.

The yarn I used is Titus, from Baa Ram Ewe. I had used it as weft in my previous tabby houndstooth project, and I thought that given the Wensleydale content it would also work well as warp – and it did! Almost three metres of warp, and not a single broken warp thread! It is beautiful, and at the sett I used (15 both as epi and ppi) it is a nice firm fabric which is however still soft. Hope not too soft for my ends!

For the actual weaving the repetitions are as follows: 
Each repetition is:

  1. I & II up
  2. II & III up
  3. I & II down
  4. II & III down

I was aiming at 30cm with of fabric, and ended up with 30cm width, art of living dangerously! I really have to improve on that draw in!

Yarn: 204 ends +2 floating selvedges, each 3m long; 278.4 m/304.5 yds for each colour
Sett: 15 epi, 15.5 ppi 
Width in reed: 34cm/13.38” 
Weft crimp percentage: 9.8% (3/30.5cm)  
Width off loom before wet finishing: 30.5cm/12″
Width off loom after wet finishing: 30cm/11.75″
Wet finishing take up (horizontal)
Length of woven fabric off loom before wet finishing:
277cm/109” (approx, fabric shifts around!) 
Length of woven fabric off loom after wet finishing:  269.5cm/106″
Wet finishing shrinkage (vertical):
Loom waste:

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