Woven Pleats, Squiggles & Waves

As I continue to weave through these difficult pandemic times to help me get through it all, new weaving projects are swirling around in my mind.  Searching for inspiration I came across Erica de Ruiter’s article, “Magic Pleats on the Loom from Eight Shafts to Two” in Weaver’s magazine, issue #31 (Spring 1996).  I also found a wonderful PDF file online from the Westfield Weavers Guild by Dawn McCarthy, “Creating Texture with Pleats, Fulling and Shrinkage.”  Weaving pleats looked like fun, and so I gave it a try.  I wove a few samples, some turned out well and some didn’t.  Here’s a pleated scarf that I think turned out well:

Pleated scarf woven on 8 shafts, cotton, 2021

Pleated scarf woven on 8 shafts, cotton, 2021 (close-up)

Pleated scarf woven on 8 shafts, cotton, 2021 (on the loom the pleats are flat and emerge after wet finishing)

I used 20/2 cotton, two strands together for the warp at 30 e.p.i. and 20/2 cotton, one strand only, for the weft at about the same p.p.i.  Notice in the photos above that on the loom there are no visible pleats, they really emerge only after wet finishing:  I washed the scarf by hand, gently squeezed out the excess water, rolled it in a towel, and placed it down flat to dry, pulling on it vertically helping the pleats to magically emerge.  I used a broken twill draft but straight twill will work as well:

Draft for weaving 8-shaft broken twill pleats

Erica de Ruiter wrote another article, “Scarves in Diagonal Pleats,” in Weaver’s magazine #37 (Fall 1977).  I really like these diagonal pleats that appear wavy when woven.  However, 16 shafts and 32 treadles are required, and I don’t have so many treadles.  So I made some adjustments to the draft, reducing the number of treadles to 16.  Instead of big waves I got smaller squiggles, but I still like it.  I used the same type of yarns, sett, and finishing process as for the previous scarf, and here it is:

Squiggly pleated scarf woven on 16 shafts, cotton, 2021

Squiggly pleated scarf woven on 16 shafts, cotton, 2021 (close-up)

Here’s the draft, straight twill this time:

Draft for weaving squiggly 16-shaft straight twill pleats

At this point I wanted to play with more waves, not necessarily pleated, and came up with some wavy interleaved designs.  I wove the sample below using purple and tan 20/2 cotton for the warp at 54 e.p.i. and 20/2 red rayon for the weft at about 38 p.p.i.  This sample is not pleated, it’s flat:

Interleaved waves woven sample on 16 shafts, cotton & rayon, 2021

Below are the drafts for the above sample.  I interleaved a straight twill threading with a 5-end advancing twill threading, and the treadling is networked.  The first draft shows two repeats.  The second draft shows one repeat and will be enlarged and more readable if you click on it:

Draft for weaving 16-shaft interleaved waves (two repeats)

Draft for weaving 16-shaft interleaved waves (one repeat, click to enlarge)

Hoping 2021 will be a good year for all…see you next time!

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6 Comments on “Woven Pleats, Squiggles & Waves”

  1. Lynn SULLIVAN Says:

    I love these!

  2. Dawn Says:

    Thanks for this post. Beautiful work. Very timely as I was thinking of weaving pleats. Tried to locate Erica de Ruiters 1977 article. Was hoping it would be at the U of Arizona archive but no luck. Any ideas please?

    • evasweaving Says:

      Thanks, glad you like it! Unfortunately I don’t know where you might find this article other than in the magazine itself. If you belong to a weavers guild they might have the Weaver’s magazine collection in their library and I think some back issues are still available on Ebay and Etsy. Wait, I just remembered the “Best of Weaver’s” books and there’s one called “Best of Weaver’s – Fabrics That Go Bump” that has past articles from the magazine including ones on ribs and cords, honeycomb and waffle weave, pleats and seersucker. Erica’s article might be in there, I’m not sure. If you check online there are several weaving outlets that sell it.

  3. Helen Halpin Says:

    beautiful work, love the Squiggly pleated scarf woven on 16 shafts

  4. Barbara Says:

    So cool, Eva! Do you have any plans to play with other colors or fibers? 💚


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