Color-and-Weave Medley on 4 Shafts

Margaret Windeknecht studied color-and-weave and wrote about it in her books, Color-and-Weave and Color-and-Weave II.  Her article, “What Is Color-and-Weave?” in Weaver’s magazine #20 (1993) is the best concise explanation I have come across about this topic.  Her work has inspired me so much, and I’m sad she passed away in March, 2009.

Briefly, color-and-weave refers to a pattern effect that you perceive as a result of the combination of a weave structure (the way the warp and weft interlace, as in plain weave, twill, etc.) and the sequence of light and dark or contrasting colored warp and weft threads.  For example, shadow weave falls under this category and is described as a color-and-weave effect with a mostly plain weave structure.  I find that the pattern is most prominent viewed close-up when using fine threads and at a distance when using thicker threads.

I have explored shadow weave and wrote about it in some of my earlier posts as well as in my article.  With inspiration from Margaret’s books and Marian Powell’s book, 1,000(+) Patterns in 4, 6, and 8 Harness Shadow Weaves, I recently designed an alpaca scarf and a few samples with my weaving software.  Below are images of the woven pieces with their drafts.  I tried to capture with my camera the softness and lightness of the alpaca scarf, the springiness and surprisingly nice feel of the acrylic/wool sample, and the sturdy and flat feel of the cotton sample.

After a bit of research, I learned that alpaca is often woven as plain weave or twill with a proper sett and the finished cloth is sometimes brushed well for a stable and soft cloth.  But my curiosity led me to try something I always wanted to do:  weave an alpaca scarf so the yarn remains lofty and to do that I decided to weave it looser than I normally would.  I used 4-ply alpaca (1600 yds./lb.), 12 e.p.i. sett, a broken twill (I think that’s what it is) threading with color-and-weave effects.  I hand washed the finished piece, lay flat to dry (shrinkage was negligible), and lightly brushed both sides.  It turned out super soft, stable enough so the yarns don’t shift even though it’s loosely woven, the brushing probably helps to keep the yarns together.  Here it is:

Alpaca Scarf (color-and-weave), 9 x 68, 2010

Weaving Draft for Alpaca Scarf

I wove the acrylic/wool sample using a type of wool-ease knitting yarn that’s 80% acrylic and 20% wool, machine washable and dryable.  I used a 10 e.p.i. sett, again a broken twill threading with color-and-weave effects, hand washed the sample and machine dried it, shrinkage was negligible.  I was surprised at how the pattern resembles overshot.  This could work well for an easy-care, soft scarf.  Here’s this sample with its draft:

Acrylic/Wool Sample (color-and-weave)

Weaving Draft for Acrylic/Wool Sample

The final images are of the cotton shadow weave sample and its draft.  I was having fun with the draft and just had to see how it would look woven.  I used a 20/2 cotton doubled up and a sett of 24 e.p.i., washed it by hand, ironed while still damp and shrinkage was about 10%.  A table runner might work well with this yarn and pattern.

Cotton Sample (shadow weave)

Weaving Draft for Cotton Sample

If you like looking at color-and-weave drafts, there are 475 of them at!

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24 Comments on “Color-and-Weave Medley on 4 Shafts”

  1. Hi Eva,
    One of my resolutions for the NewYear is to weave at least one four shaft weave on my backstrap loom per month so I am collecting drafts and ideas. Thanks for posting this. Your samples are beautiful.


    • evasweaving Says:

      Thank you, Laverne, for stopping by! I’m glad you like the samples. I know I told you already, but I do love your work and your blog.


  2. Patricia Says:

    Your samples are beutiful and inspires me to get going on my Macomber 4H loom!! I’m a new weaver and bought this loom for $300 from a widow who was cleaning out before she moved in with her daughter. I can’t to try these patterns!! Thank you for sharing! Pat

    • evasweaving Says:

      Pat, I’m so happy that you’re inspired to weave on your newly acquired Macomber. I’m sure you will weave beautiful things and experience great joy in the process.

  3. Mary Ann Says:

    I am a newby, and wonder what kind of warp you use to begin with on most of your projects?

    • evasweaving Says:

      Mary Ann, I think as a beginner one of the easiest yarns to use for warp is cotton. You might try a 5/2 cotton at 15-16 ends per inch if you want to weave plain weave or a closer sett for a twill. You can experiment with other yarns as you progress. One of the most difficult yarns to use for warp is linen because it doesn’t stretch at all and to keep an even tension is a challenge. Different yarns are good for different things, it depends on what you want to weave.

  4. katherine looper Says:

    Absolutely beautiful, as always.

  5. Hi there – just wanted to say many thanks for posting these drafts ! I have a 4 shaft Harrisville loom and have graduated to some finer and more complex weaving. Have been wanting to do some shadow weave but was finding it difficult to find ideas and instructions ! Your blog has been a great inspiration.
    Many thanks

    • evasweaving Says:

      Hi Dorothy, you’re going to love weaving shadow weave! Thank you so much for your comment.

  6. Laritza Says:

    I love your blog. Thank you so much for taking the time to document everything. I am in the process of spinning two fleeces, one is white the other one black. They will be woven into a shadow weave blanket. They are huge fleeces and I don’t want to start until I have everything spun because I want the blanket to be as large as I can possibly make it.

    • evasweaving Says:

      Hi Laritza, I really appreciate your comment! It’s exciting that you plan to weave a blanket from your own handspun fleece. For a large blanket you might want to consider weaving it at a normal sett (not loose like my scarf), perhaps in a twill, so it holds really well together. I have seen your blog and it’s lovely!

  7. Laurie Duxbury Says:


    Thanks for the inspiration. I bought some alpaca a couple of months ago with the intention of weaving some color and weave scarves for the men in the family. Time to head get to work on them. Your scarves are beautiful.


    • evasweaving Says:

      Thank you, Laurie. I’m sure the men in your family will be very happy with some nice handwoven alpaca scarves!

  8. elizabeth robinson Says:

    Oh my goodness …they are so beautiful…I cant decide which is my favorite…you certianly have a gift…I am enjoying my shawl that you made everynight…and I dont leave home without it….thanyou for sharing, elizabeth

    • evasweaving Says:

      You are a sweet and kind friend, Elizabeth. I hope you enjoy the shawl for a million years… Eva

  9. Barbara Says:

    A friend sent me to your blog — I would like to receive notification when posts are made.

    Thank You —Barbara

    • evasweaving Says:

      Thank you, Barbara, for visiting my blog. To receive e-mail notifications of new posts to my blog, just go to my Home Page, enter your e-mail address in the box under “Email Subscriptions” that’s near the bottom of the right hand column and then click on the “click here” button. If you have any problems with it, let me know. Thanks again, and I’m happy to have you as a subscriber!


  10. Lisa Says:

    Hi Eva,

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. I am a new “blogger” and your blog is so inspiring – beautiful work and great content.

  11. I’ve fallen a little behind in reading blogs (obviously), but had to comment belatedly on this post. It’s great to see examples of shadow weave since I’ve been experimenting with it a little bit lately also.

    I love how you show the drafts and the fabrics! Thank you for blogging!


  12. Eva, I love your color and weave. I learned about it when I was going to Weaver’s Boot Camp at Heritage Spinning and Weaving, in Lake Orion, Mich. It was of my favorite assignments. You have inspired me to plan a new project!

    • evasweaving Says:

      Hi Jenny, Weaver’s Boot Camp sounds like it was a lot of fun! Thank you for your comment and I’m sure your new project will turn out beautiful.

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