May 21, 2015

Baltic Pickup DIO Band

Being me, I could not bear to use any of the not-actually-all-that-awesome patterns in the one book I have, so I set out to learn two or three skills at once: Reading a pickup pattern, actually doing pickup, and creating my own pickup pattern. Whee! What a ride!

All of the symbolism here — the snake, the bull with the star between his horns, and the Greek letters delta iota omicron, which are the first three letters of DIOnysos, as well as the black, white and red color scheme — comes from the Starry Bull tradition of Bacchic Orphism. There’s a group called the Thiasos of the Starry Bull, which is the main body of people in the tradition, but some few of us keep some practices and not others, and don’t count ourselves members of the thiasos. The thiasos has a blog and a facebook group that I don’t keep track of. You can learn more there. The ritual I’m helping to put on at Many Gods West, which has an Indiegogo running right now, is in the Starry Bull tradition.

So, Baltic or basketweave pickup weaving has a drafting pattern like this:


Basically, while continuing to heddle every other string, you warp two background threads, then one pattern thread, which is much thicker. I used 5/2 perle cotton for the background and 3/2 perle cotton for the pattern. You should always have an odd number of pattern threads, so when you’ve finished the border, lay down one pattern thread before you start the 2:1 warping. Make sure to end with a pattern thread as well.

This is what it looks like on the loom:

You’ll note my border was black threads. Well, you should always use weft thread the same color as the border, so black it was.

Hm. Maybe that wasn’t such a hot idea after all. Apparently the weft needs to be the same color as the background. Undid that, put two white warps on each edge, and went to white weft.

Looking much better, huh? Got my little snek going and everything. I can’t tell you how many times I had to stop and take out multiple rows, because I lost track. But since there was worse to come, I was terribly relieved to reach the last snake at the other end, because it's actually less tricky than the rest of this.

My bull with a star between his horns ended up looking more like a stag or something. Not sure what to do about the star, but I already have designs for future attempts at the bull.

And the centerpiece, delta-iota-omicron, the first three letters of Dionysos.

From there it was all downhill, doing stuff I’d already done, just backwards. Fewer mistakes, too. Consequently, it was pretty quick.

Ta-da! The finished band. Not too shabby, eh?


This is the second snake. You may or may not notice that his head is a little different from the first.

I tried giving the first one 2 eyes, but neglected to mark it on my pattern, so when I got to the second, I did what the pattern said (which I’d based on one in the book). I think I like two eyes better.

Here’s what the back looks like:

It’s sort of a negative image of the original. I like the effects on the snakes so much that I’m trying to design one that way on purpose.

See, Two Eyes looks even better like this.

One Eye just looks sort of sinister.

And here’s the pattern as it ended up:

Things to remember:

Use weft the same color as the background.

The patterns turn out longer that you think they will.

The pattern threads lose tension faster than the backgrounds. I ended up having to stick a crochet hook under just the pattern threads before I was done.

This one is going to be a choker, for ritual wear.

Oh, and the other thing I’ve been working on is the woven bookmarks for that Indiegogo.