Learning to design and weave four-color double weave (4cDW) has kept me mesmerized for the past few months. I studied Chapter 3 on 4cDW in Marian Stubenitsky’s fascinating book, Weaving with Echo and Iris, and tried to sort out which 4cDW methods and variations I can use to design drafts with Fiberworks that I can weave on my 16-shaft, 18-treadle, Macomber loom. It turns out that my favorite method is the one Marian describes on pages 88-91: “Eight Pattern Blocks and a Short Tie-Up” using 8 shafts and 16 treadles. With this method you can design some amazing 4cDW patterns where the plain weave layers are integrated rather than being separate. After some trials and errors I gained confidence and even tried some variations of my own.
I learned that in 4cDW two alternating colors throughout the warp and two other alternating colors throughout the weft produce four different areas of color whereas in traditional double weave they produce only two areas of color. Also, in traditional double weave there are distinct layers with pockets between them, while as I mentioned before, in 4cDW it’s possible to have the layers integrated so that there are no pockets. I experimented with these different methods and following are a few of my samples and drafts.
I designed and wove Sample #1 below on 8 shafts and 10 treadles. Marian’s “short” tie-up is 16 treadles and her “long” tie-up on page 94 is 32 treadles with eight different color blends! My simple Sample #1 is an integrated 4cDW. The longest float is 3. I used 20/2 cotton (2 strands together) at 36 epi (a little too close perhaps) but with a firm beat got about 34 ppi. The warp colors are blue and orange/brown and the weft colors are red/pink and green, all four hues are fairly close in value, not too light and not too dark.
Here’s the draft for the above sample with a close-up to help you see that the layers are integrated (let me know if you would like the wif file for this draft):
Below is integrated 4cDW Sample #2 that I designed and wove on 8 shafts and 16 treadles. The sett and yarn size are the same as for Sample #1, and the longest float is 3. I wanted more contrast so in this sample the warp colors are dark navy blue and white and the weft colors are a light blue and light brown.
After experimenting some more, I came up with Sample #3 below, designed and woven on 12 shafts and 16 treadles, and the longest float is 3 here too. This is 4cDW but it’s not integrated, there are distinct plain weave areas with pockets in between them. I used 20/2 cotton, single strands this time at 56 epi and about 50 ppi.
I think I learned a few things about 4cDW, but I’m still curious so I searched online to see what else I can find. I came across a very pretty and lively sample on Weaverly that Alice designed with Photoshop and wove on 24 shafts. There are also photos of a few very interesting and also very pretty pieces on Marian’s gallery page. More photos and downloadable wif files are available from Complex Weavers (June 2015 Journal gallery) that are great too, you will find them near the bottom of the page. Edna, a member of the Complex Weavers Fine Threads Study Group that I’m also a member of, did her study this year on 4cDW using only 4 shafts, and I’m fortunate to have her lovely woven sample. Edna shares photos and downloadable wif and pdf files of her sample at this link: “Fun with Four Color Doubleweave.”
See you next time, when the weaving muse visits again!
UPDATE 2018: Ditte Lokon sent me this photo of a bath mat and towels she wove using 8/4 unmercerized cotton at 24 epi, it’s a lovely interpretation of my Four-Color Double Weave Sample #1: