Archive for the ‘Twill’ category

Indigo Shawl – Twill Tie-Ups

March 19, 2010

If the pattern on my Indigo Shawl looks familiar it’s because I tied on a new warp to the old warp of my previous double weave project so that the threading is the same, the treadling is only slightly different, but the tie-up is now a twill, and what a surprise it turned out to be!

The idea of using indigo-dyed cotton has been lurking in the back of my mind ever since I bought a bunch of cones of it at a closeout years ago.  The labels on the cones indicated that they were from the UK and warned that the indigo color rubs off.  I was curious as to whether it was synthetic or real indigo and why the color rubs off.  When I asked about this on a couple of weaving lists, Ian Bowers, managing director of George Weil & Sons Ltd (a supplier of textile art and crafts materials in the UK), replied (with permission to quote), “There is absolutely NO difference in the chemical composition between synthetic indigo and that from plant material.  There may be different impurities which behave in the same way as indigotin but this would take substantial analytical equipment to differentiate.  The tendency to crock (rub off) is dependent on a number of factors including the finish on the yarn fibres and the skill of the dyer….”  I also got some replies from weavers who dye with natural indigo and some who even grow their own plants, like Dot, and it sounds like a wonderful experience that I would like to try one day.  In any case, I decided to go ahead and use my indigo-dyed yarn for the weft and make sure to wash and rinse very well the woven fabric once it’s off the loom.

I used one white and one very light blue 20/2 cotton together for the warp, keeping the same sett of 30 e.p.i. from the last project, and used the 10/2 indigo-dyed cotton for the weft.  The p.p.i. (picks per inch) turned out to be somewhat less, about 25.  The woven piece was washed by hand in very warm water, rinsed 6-7 times in warm water until the water was clear, rolled in some old towels and placed flat over some more old towels to dry and ironed while it was still slightly damp.  The blue color stayed dark even after all the rinsing and the very light blue color in the warp is not from any “bleeding” from the indigo dye but because I used the very light blue cotton as part of the warp.

Now I have a shawl to wear with my blue jeans:

Indigo Shawl, cotton, 19 x 72, 2010

Indigo Shawl, cotton, 19 x 72, 2010 (detail)

Weaving Draft for Indigo Shawl (14 shafts)

I used 14 shafts for weaving the Shawl and wondered what would happen to the design if I tried to reduce the shafts and treadles to 8.  In Draft 2, I think there is still a little bit of a resemblance to the original pattern:

Draft 2 (8 shafts)(detail)

Draft 2 (8 shafts)

I wanted to see if I could further reduce the shafts and treadles to 4 and still retain some resemblance to the original design but I couldn’t do it.  I came up with Draft 3 which is completely different but still fits in with this post’s theme of twill tie-ups:

Draft 3 (4 shafts)

If you love twills, especially unusual ones, I recommend the book, Twill Thrills (The Best of Weaver’s), edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt.

To Home Page

2/2 Twill: Handwoven Woolen Wearables

September 1, 2009

Over the years I wove different types of woolen fabrics for jackets and pullovers.  I often used 2/2 twill and woolen yarns, sometimes with a little bit of mohair mixed in with the warp.  Woolen yarns are made up of short and long fibers lying in different directions and the yarn is usually soft and fuzzy while worsted yarns are made up of long fibers all lying parallel to each other and the resulting yarn is compact and smooth.  Woolen yarns are great to use to get a finished fabric that is felted, and the amount of felting depends on the finishing process.

Below are images of two jackets, a pullover, a weaving draft and notes about how I finished the woolen fabrics.  The jackets are a product of my collaboration with a friend, a professional seamstress, who used commercial patterns to sew them from my handwoven fabrics and lined them with commercial cotton fabric.  The pullover is entirely my own creation, including the crochet finish.  Because the weave structure is simple I emphasized color and texture in the designs to make the fabrics more interesting.

My Favorite 2/2 Twill Woolen Jacket, 1984

My Favorite 2/2 Twill Woolen Jacket, 1984

To weave the fabric for this jacket I dyed medium weight woolen yarns for the warp in several batches of colors using fiber reactive dyes.  I used a lighter weight woolen yarn that was already dyed for the weft.  The sett was 10 e.p.i.  The total width on the loom was 48″ and after the finishing process it was reduced to 40″.  I wove many yards of this fabric, enough for several jackets and each jacket used up about 4 yards of fabric.  This is my favorite  jacket, I’ve been wearing it in the Fall for the past 25 years and it’s still in great condition.

My Husband's 2/2 Twill Woolen Jacket, 1984

My Husband’s 2/2 Twill Woolen Jacket, 1984

The woolen yarns in this jacket are lighter weight and the sett was 12 e.p.i.  I mixed in the warp some mohair yarn, about 1 in every 6 warp ends is mohair.  The yardage width and finished fabric is similar to the other jacket, but my seamstress friend used a different pattern.  She did a great job, and my husband still enjoys wearing this jacket on a cold day.

2/2 Twill Woolen Pullover (with detail), 2002

2/2 Twill Woolen Pullover (with detail), 2002

I sewed this pullover myself because its construction is simple.   To weave the fabric I used lightweight woolen yarns, 6 warp ends in a paddle, and every sixth end was black mohair.  The weft was a singles woolen yarn that I doubled up.  The sett was 12 e.p.i. and 30″ wide on the loom that was reduced to 24-1/2″ after the finishing process.  Less than two yards of this fabric was enough to make the pullover:  it’s about 24″ long, the main body required 48″ and the sleeves required 18″ for both.  The only cuts in the fabric were at the neckline, sleeves and bottom.  I serged using an overlock sewing machine any raw edges and used a regular sewing machine for all the seams.  To avoid any bulkiness where the sleeves are connected to the main body, I zigzagged the pieces together as they lay side by side and then used some woolen yarn in a large blunt needle to do overcast stitching over the join for a more attractive finish.  The final touch was crocheting around the neckline, cuffs and the bottom.

2/2 Twill (and plain weave) Weaving Draft

2/2 Twill (and plain weave) Weaving Draft

Notes on the finishing process:

I finished (scouring and fulling) all the yardages for these jackets and pullover in a similar way:  After removing the web from the loom, I put it in the washing machine on gentle, warm water with a little bit of detergent (neutral/alkaline pH – most detergents are good), agitated for only 3 minutes, warm water again in the rinse cycle for about another 2-3 minutes, spin cycle to remove excess water, and then placed in the dryer on low heat for about 30 minutes until dry.  This produced a fabric that is just a little bit felted, easy to cut and sew and wonderfully warm to wear as a finished garment.

You need to experiment with the amount of time for agitating in the washing machine and trying different drying methods to see what works for you.  There are a series of related articles on the topic of finishing wool fiber and textiles at  I especially like the article, “Washing Wool Fiber and Textiles” by Tom Beaudet and the article, “Wet Finishing – A Warm Winter Coat” by Laura Fry.

To Home Page

Fancy Twill #2

March 21, 2009

This is a commissioned shawl I wove in 2006.  The draft is from “16 Harnass Patterns: The Fanciest Twills of All – From The Weaving Notebooks of Fred A. Pennington” that can be found at  Below are close-up images of the front and back of the fabric as well as the weaving draft.  I used 5/2 pearl cotton, the sett is 20 e.p.i. and the longest float is 5.  A thinner yarn and closer sett would have made the pattern in the finished fabric appear sharper.  But the 5/2 pearl cotton worked well in this shawl and my client was happy with it.

Fancy Twill #2 front

Fancy Twill #2 back

Fancy Twill #2 draft

To Home Page

Fancy Twill #1

February 28, 2009

One day I was perusing and found a draft in “16 Harnass Patterns: The Fanciest Twills of All – From the Weaving Notebooks of Fred A. Pennington”  (book authored by Irene K. Wood) that caught my attention and interestingly I think it’s a simple design even though the pattern is called fancy.  I used the draft to weave the fabric you see below some time ago and filed it with my other experiments.  I used 10/2 pearl cotton at 28 e.p.i.  and it’s woven as-drawn-in.

Update on  this post:  I actually wove a scarf using this pattern (same yarn – different color weft and same e.p.i.).  See the third photo below.

Fancy Twill #1

Here’s the back of the fabric:

Fancy Twill #1 back view

Fancy Twill Scarf

Fancy Twill #1 Draft

To Home Page

%d bloggers like this: