Archive for the ‘Double Weave’ category

Patterned Double Weave: Two Projects

February 14, 2010

The patterns in patterned double weave are created by the exchange of areas in one layer of cloth with another layer of the same cloth.  Amazing patterns can be woven even on a simple loom using a pick-up stick (weaver controlled) as well as on a multishaft loom (loom controlled).  I would like to share with you images, drafts, and thoughts about two of my patterned double weave projects woven on my 16 shaft loom:  one that I just finished last week, designed with the help of my weaving software, and the other one from 1986, originally designed on graph paper with colored pencils.

In my earlier weaving life I was mostly interested in weaving things that were functional, but what matter more to me now are satisfying my curiosity about weaving structures and creating interesting designs.  So, as I was studying the chapter on double weave in Bonnie Inouye’s book, Exploring Multishaft Design, I was intrigued by patterns that used advancing twill/network threadings and treadlings with resulting blocks that were not clear or sharp.  I also checked out articles by Paul O’Connor (downloadable at where he shares his amazing knowledge about double weave.  All this inspired me to weave the Double Weave Fabric I describe below, not sure what I’ll use it for, maybe upholstery for the seat of a chair since it’s strong and thick enough or perhaps a pillow.  On second thought, not a pillow because I can imagine my husband saying, “No, not another pillow!”

Here’s the first project:

Double Weave Fabric, Pearl Cotton, 2010 (on the loom)

Double Weave Fabric, Pearl Cotton, 2010 (after wet finishing)

Draft 1 – unclear blocks of patterned double weave

I used 5/2 pearl cotton in several colors for the warp and the weft, the sett was 30 e.p.i. (2 per dent in a 15 dent reed), washed the woven piece in the washing machine in cool water on the gentle cycle with a little detergent, air dried and steam ironed it while still damp; overall shrinkage was about 10% with finished yardage of about 20″ wide and 2-1/2 yards long.  I tried to photograph it so that parts of the front and the back are visible in the same image.

The view in Draft 1 shows the structure of the weave and the way the two layers interchange.  I started out with 16 shafts but after making some changes it turned out I only needed to use 14.  Note how the outer edges of the shapes become unclear in certain areas.  I just love this effect.

Here’s the second project:

Double Weave Scarf, Cotton & Silk, 1986

Draft 2 – two-block patterned double weave

In loom controlled double weave, having more shafts means you can have more blocks.  You can weave a 2-block pattern with 8 shafts which is what I did to weave the Double Weave Scarf.

The types of yarn I used to weave the Scarf helped make it wearable – soft, 6-ply cotton for the warp and cotton and silk for the weft.  The sett was 20 e.p.i. (2 per dent in a 10 dent reed); the woven piece was washed by hand, air dried, steam ironed, and it’s about 11″ x 60″ finished.

I used a different view in Draft 2 than in Draft 1 to better show the interaction of the colors so that it’s a frontal view only.  The threading, treadling and tie-up should be read the same way as in “How to Read My Weaving Drafts,” one of my earlier posts.

There is so much information available about double weave in weaving books, magazines, and at too.  It’s harder to explain or to understand than to actually do it, so I hope you give it a try!

My related posts about patterned double weave:  “Patterned Double Weave:  Samples & Drafts” and “Patterned Double Weave Scarf + Twill Version.”

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Double-Width Woolen Blanket in Plain Weave (with color-and-weave effects)

November 24, 2009

In my study of handweaving, one of the first things I was really excited about learning to weave was double-width cloth.  Way back then my first floor loom was a 4 shaft, 36 inch wide jack loom, and I wanted to weave a woolen blanket that was wider than the width of my loom.  In addition, I decided to weave it using color-and-weave effects.  The images below don’t show it well, but I did make a few mistakes such as the “fold” mark that shows at close inspection and the selvedges on the open sides are not very neat.  Next time I would try to weave it better by using some of the tips I learned in my recent research that is included in the Additional Notes at the end of this post.

Woolen Blanket, 1983, 60″ x 80″

Woolen Blanket (detail)

I created the weaving drafts to illustrate how I wove the Blanket.  Draft 1 shows a commonly used threading and tie-up for plain weave, double-width cloth.  It helps visualize the top and bottom layers, and the notes describe how to weave it so that one side is open and the other side is closed (the fold).  If you want to weave a tubular cloth you would simply eliminate one warp thread at one end, begin at either side and treadle 1, 2, 4, 3.  Draft 2 shows how I used dark and light colors to create the color-and-weave effects.

Draft 1 for Woolen Blanket (showing plain weave double-width structure)

Draft 2 for Woolen Blanket (showing color-and-weave effects)

Additional Notes:

For the warp I used a light weight two-ply (2/10) Vermont virgin wool (dark navy and white) that was spun with extra twist in the singles and in the plying so it was easier and stronger to weave with.  I used the same yarn for the white weft and a singles less tightly twisted wool yarn for the dark gray weft.  I sleyed the reed double than for a single layer cloth (10×2=20 e.p.i.).

The Blanket was 36″ wide on the loom (72″ if opened) and about 100″ long.  Once removed from the loom, I braided the fringes and started the finishing process:  it went into the washing machine with a little detergent, about 10 minutes in the hot water, regular cycle, then in the rinse cycle, and finally in the dryer (knits setting) for about 30 minutes until it was dry.  It shrunk to about 60″ x 80″ , about what I wanted, just a little felted and pretty soft.  You would need to sample and experiment to see what you might expect for a final result because there are variables such as the type of wool yarn, the sett – a closer sett can result in a firmer and smoother felting, different washers and dryers perform differently, timing – longer agitation in the washer usually results in more felting, it can also be hand washed and air dried, etc.  There are some links to a few online articles about the finishing process of woolens in my post, 2/2 Twill: Handwoven Woolen Wearables.

One of the problems in weaving double-width is the fold line that can show when it’s opened up.  To remedy this some weavers use a temple (stretcher) but then some don’t like the temple, some skip a dent before sleying the last two warp ends on the folded edge, and some use weights on the last few warp ends to compensate for the natural drawing in at the edges.  Because it’s hard to see what’s going on in the bottom layer, some weavers use a mirror while weaving to catch any mistakes.  I found a great online article at from the Master Weaver series (February 1953, #7), “Double Weaves, Circular and Double-Width Cloth,” that discusses in great detail the problems of the fold line.

In her wonderful book, Exploring Multishaft Design (chapter 7 on double weave), Bonnie Inouye has some tips for weaving double-width cloth.  One of her tips for the fold mark problem is to use “helper” warps, a few extra strong yarns next to the real warps (threaded through the same heddle and dent) that are removed when the weaving is off the loom.  The Master Weaver article I mentioned earlier also has something about removing warp ends: to pull out some of the warp ends where they’re too close together and hoping that it will even out after washing.

I would also recommend at, Paul O’Connor’s monograph, “A Reference Guide for Double Weave.” I find to be a great online resource because not only can you find thousands of weaving drafts but you can search by topic and find lots of articles and books to download and study.

If you’re looking to weave double-width cloth in a weave structure that’s different than plain weave you will probably need at least 8 shafts.  For example, there are several excellent articles about double-width overshot in Weaver’s Magazine, issue #34 (Winter 1996).  Unfortunately, Weaver’s Magazine is out of print but you can find back issues on ebay.

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