Posted tagged ‘weaving drafts’

Crepe Weave Creations

February 14, 2013

William Watson describes crêpe weaves in his 1921 book, Textile Design and Colour, as “…weaves that contain little or no twilled or other prominent effect, and which give a cloth the appearance of being covered by minute spots or seeds.  The weaves are used alone and in combination with other weaves in a great variety of cloths….”  G. H. Oelsner, in his 1915 book, A Handbook of Weaves, adds that “these are weaves in which the warp and filling are interlaced so as to give the cloth a mixed or uniformly mottled appearance.”  Nice, I thought to myself, I want to try this!

Oelsner gives hundreds of examples of crêpe weaves with different effects on various numbers of shafts.  I found Watson’s and Oelsner’s books downloadable at as well as crêpe weave drafts from Alice Schlein’s self-published monograph, “A Crepe is Not Just a Pancake.”

I wove a bunch of small samples of crêpe weave, some with Tencel, some cotton, rayon, and even fine silk/merino.  Feeling adventurous, I tried combining crêpe weave with satin stripes, recalling having seen something like that when I was a freelance sample weaver in the textile industry years ago.

The final pieces that evolved from my experiments are two different yardages and a scarf.

Crêpe Weave Fabrics with Satin Stripes

In my research I found the description of crêpe weave more straightforward than for satin.  One author discussed satin, another discussed sateen, and then I came across the term satinet.  So I went to my favorite book for clarification, Irene Emery’s classic, The Primary Structures of Fabrics.  I remember a discussion about these different terms a while back on one of the weaving forums.  According to Emery, satin would be the term associated with the warp-float face of the satin structure and sateen with the weft-float face.  But she goes on to write that sometimes these terms are used ambiguously and it’s clearer if you say warp-satin weave or weft-satin weave to describe the orientation of the structure.  She also writes that the term satin is often associated with silk, linen or rayon and sateen with cotton and so sateen is probably most useful as a fabric name rather than a weave structure.

OK, so here are images of the fabrics that I designed and wove, both on the same warp, with drafts and notes:

Crepe Weave Fabric with Satin Stripes, cotton & rayon, 2013

Crepe Weave Fabric with Satin Stripes, cotton & rayon, 2013

Crepe Weave Fabric with Satin Stripes, cotton, rayon & variegated rayon slub, 2013

Crepe Weave Fabric with Satin Stripes, cotton, rayon & variegated rayon slub, 2013

Draft for Crepe Weave & Satin Stripes

Draft for Crepe Weave & Satin Stripes

Draft for Crepe Weave & Satin Stripes (other side)

Draft for Crepe Weave & Satin Stripes (other side)

Draft for Crepe Weave & Satin Stripes (interlacement and close-up view)

Draft for Crepe Weave & Satin Stripes (interlacement and close-up view)

If you look at the drafts above you will notice that the satin stripes are woven on 4 shafts.  According to Oelsner, this is frequently called a satin but strictly speaking it is a broken twill because satin weaves require at least 5 or more shafts.  In S. A. Zielinski’s book, Encyclopaedia of Hand-Weaving, satin on 4 shafts is called imitation satin or satinet.  So it seems that my satin stripes may be referred to as satinet stripes.  Call it what you will, as long as it looks nice!

I used 20/2 dark blue cotton for the crêpe weave part of the warp and 20/2 gold and pale green rayon for the satin stripes part.  The wefts used in the first fabric with the squares are 20/2 dark orange cotton and 20/2 gold rayon.  The sett is 42 epi and fairly balanced with about 42 ppi.  I continued weaving the second fabric with the vertical stripes on the same warp but changed the weft to a variegated colors rayon slub, at about 38 ppi.  The fabrics were washed by hand, air dried, and steam ironed.  There was a small amount of even shrinkage.

Below is an example of a draft of true satin weave on 5 shafts.  As mentioned before, the warp-float face is sometimes referred to as satin and the weft-float face as sateen.  The long float spans reflect the luster of a yarn so these weaves are often used with luxurious yarns like silk (or not so luxurious but shiny like rayon that I used in my fabrics).  It’s also often woven with the weft-floats on the surface rather than below because less shafts are needed to be raised, and that makes a big difference when weaving satin on many shafts.

Draft for Satin Weave on 5 shafts (warp-satin and weft-satin aka sateen)

Draft for Satin Weave on 5 shafts (warp-satin and weft-satin a.k.a. sateen)

Crêpe Weave Scarf

I saved a skein of beautiful, hand-dyed variegated 20/2 Tencel that I bought from Just Our Yarn to weave something special.  Crêpe weave seemed like a good choice.  Using an 8-shaft crêpe weave, the Tencel warp sett at 45 epi and a 2/64 silk/merino weft at about 48 ppi, I wove a scarf.  Same wet finishing as the fabrics.  The scarf has a nice drape, the variegated colors in the warp show nicely, and it has an overall iridescent effect.

Crepe Weave Scarf, Tencel variegated colors warp & silk-merino weft, 2013

Crepe Weave Scarf, Tencel variegated colors warp & silk-merino weft, 2013

Draft for Crepe Weave on 8 shafts (showing both sides)

Draft for Crepe Weave on 8 shafts (showing both sides)

My next project is already on the loom, something different as my study this year for the Fine Threads Study Group at Complex Weavers.  Here’s a preview on my Gallery 2013 page.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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“Gebrochene to Echo” (My Article)

November 13, 2012

In this post I’m pleased to share the contents of my article, “Gebrochene to Echo,” that was published in the October, 2012 (the 100th issue!), of the Complex Weavers Journal.  It is about my study for this year’s woven sample exchange of the Fine Threads Study Group at Complex Weavers.  It’s such a thrill each year when the samples arrive in the mail because each weaver’s work is unique and beautiful.

In my article I mention Marjie Thompson, a member of my study group and someone who is knowledgeable about pre-20th century weaving.  I would like to add here that Marjie wrote a fascinating article about Gebrochene twills, “The Earl’s Canvass,” that appeared in Weaver’s Magazine (Winter 1997, issue #38) that is also included in the chapter on plain and fancy twills in Twill Thrills (The Best of Weavers), edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt.  She notes that Gebrochene is the German term for what today’s weavers sometimes refer to as M’s and W’s, and that these elaborate twills seen in tablecloths have been found in medieval art and in drafts in manuscripts and books from the early 17th century.

On a personal note, in case I don’t post again before the end of this year, I would like to wish an early Season’s Greetings and a happy and healthy New Year to weavers, followers, and all visitors to my blog!

And now here’s my article.  If anyone would like the WIF file for any of the drafts, let me know and I will email it.

Complex Weavers Journal, October 2012, issue #100

Gebrochene to Echo

by Eva Stossel

Fine Threads Study Group

“Gebrochene to Echo” woven fabric

A few years ago I designed a shadow weave pattern with parallel threading.  Going beyond the mostly plain weave structure of shadow weave, I recently wove my first pattern with a recognizable “echo,” also designed with parallel threading and wanted to learn more.

The woven samples for this year’s Fine Threads study started out as a 16-shaft pattern I designed with a threading of jagged looking M’s/W’s, tromp-as-writ treadling, and solid colors in warp and weft.  The drawdown reminded me of something I have seen before – Gebrochene, but wasn’t sure if that’s what it was.  I consulted Marjie Thompson who is knowledgeable about pre-20th century weaving and happens to be in our study group, and she confirmed that in fact it is Gebrochene of four divisions and that she has seen drafts of four divisions in only one manuscript (see Draft 1).

Draft 1 – Gebrochene of 4 divisions

I really liked the pattern but wanted to experiment with it.  Using Fiberworks PCW, the 1/3/1/1/1/1/1/1/1/3/2 twill tie-up was “cycled” and transformed to 1/1/1/1/3/3/3/1/1/1/.  Then, when the threading was redrawn as an extended parallel repeat with alternating colors, a surprisingly delightful pattern emerged, one with several distinct areas of different colors that still resembled Gebrochene.  I showed it to Bonnie Inouye, and she considers it to be an example of Echo (see Draft 2).

Draft 2 – Gebrochene redrawn as Echo

As expected, after the pattern was redrawn as an extended parallel repeat it was stretched out horizontally.  I chose to compensate for this by varying yarn sizes and sett, keeping in mind that the longest float is five.  Using 20/2 rayon as warp and 2/64 silk/merino as weft, I wove a sample at 42 epi and 42 ppi (two strands of weft yarn together) resulting in a flimsy fabric with an overly stretched-out pattern.  I wove a second sample at 54 epi and 36 ppi (two strands of weft yarn together), an improvement, but not satisfactory.  The third and final sample woven at 72 epi and 42 ppi (only one strand of the 2/64 weft yarn) is the best, structurally as well as the way the colors interact with each other as a result of a close sett, thicker warp and thinner weft.  The yardage woven on my 16-shaft workhorse Macomber was hand washed gently, rolled in a towel to remove excess moisture, air dried and steam ironed while slightly damp, with approximately 6% shrinkage in length and 3% in width.

I’m so inspired to go on exploring this vast, parallel weaving universe!

UPDATE August 2013:  you can now view the photo and download the WIF file from the Complex Weavers website by clicking here.

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Network Drafted Ripples & Waves

August 13, 2012

There are many types of curves that can be designed with network drafting.  I imagined one or more waves with ripples and curved shapes in between, some symmetrical and some not so symmetrical.  The overall effect could be subdued by varying color, yarn size and sett.  I’ve seen beautiful weaving with just one wave across undulating vertically down, but I was interested in weaving something more elaborate.

I went ahead and designed many networked drafts, easily done with weaving software, cutting/copying and pasting sections of the threading to my liking.  Lots of fun!  I really liked one or two drafts that looked elaborate enough on only 8 shafts and so decided to weave a few yards of fabric and a couple of scarves using various yarn types and sizes.  Here are photos, drafts and notes of this weaving adventure:

Network Drafted Woven Fabric and Scarf

Network Drafted Woven Fabric (pearl cotton & unmercerized cotton), 2012

Networked Draft 1

To weave this fabric, I used 20/2 unmercerized black cotton for warp and 20/2 natural pearl cotton for weft, sett at 42 epi and about the same ppi.  The woven design is a variation of the one shown in Networked Draft 1 above, as I ended up expanding the threading so it would be 24 inches wide when finished.  The fabric was wet finished washing by hand but it could have been put in the washing machine on gentle and was air dried and steam ironed while slightly damp.  The 4 yards of finished fabric have a nice hand and drape with a bit of luster from the pearl cotton that I didn’t quite capture in the photo above.  What to make with this fabric? Maybe a jazzy little vest or jacket.

Network Drafted Woven Scarf (pearl cotton), 2012

You may notice that the draft for this purple scarf is a section taken from Networked Draft 1.  Because I used a thicker yarn this time, 5/2 pearl cotton for warp and weft at a wider sett of 20 epi and about 20 ppi, the pattern in the scarf as compared to the one in the fabric appears magnified.  There’s little contrast between the black warp and purple weft because they are close in value, both colors are dark, and so the overall effect is subdued.

Although the longest float is only 3, I used a floating selvedge for a neater edge.  Wet finishing is the same as for the fabric.  The finished scarf has a heavier hand than the fabric but still drapes nicely.  It was easy and quick to weave, and I plan on weaving a few more scarves like this one with variations in color and design.

Another Network Drafted Woven Scarf

Network Drafted Woven Scarf (Tencel & pearl cotton) 2012

Networked Draft 2

I wove this blue scarf before weaving the fabric and purple scarf.  When I started weaving it I altered the treadling a bit so the waves don’t look exactly the same as the ones in Networked Draft 2.  I used white 20/2 Tencel that I dyed with tea for a more natural color for warp and 10/2 turquoise/blue pearl cotton for weft at 42 epi and about 28 ppi.  The sett for warp is closer than for weft because the weft is thicker and so the waves running vertically appear elongated, just the way I wanted it.  The longest float is 3.  I could have used a floating selvedge but decided to use shafts 9 and 10 to weave as plain weave for a neat selvedge, an option if you have extra shafts to spare.  Wet finishing was the same as for the other pieces.  The hand, drape, and luster of this scarf are lovely, and it reminds me of the ocean.

I wove my first network drafted scarf a couple of years ago with just a little knowledge about network drafting and how to use my weaving software and used different tools in the program in a trial and error sort of way.  I actually like that first scarf very much.  I often learn new things this way, jump in and test the water and afterwards study and practice more diligently to improve my skills.  These are a few sources that helped me learn more about network drafting:

  • The Manual that came with my weaving software, Fiberworks PCW Silver
  • Bonnie Inouye’s book, Exploring Multishaft Design, and her article on Weavezine, “Flowing Curves: Network Drafted Twill.”
  • The chapter on network drafting with twills in Twill Thrills (The Best of Weavers), edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt.  These are just a few of the articles compiled into this book from many that were published in Weaver’s magazine through 1999.
  • Alice Schlein’s book, Network Drafting: An Introduction

Until next time, happy weaving everyone!

UPDATE June 2019:  Chelsea Fremming used my networked draft to create her own beautiful work and wove a baby blanket for her daughter last year.  She sent me photos and with her permission I’m posting them here.  Chelsea used 20/2 Tencel for the warp and dyed it in sections with multiple dyes using fiber reactive dyes.  She left the first part white for weft pooling experiments.

Chelsea Fremming’s weaving on the loom, 2018

Chelsea Fremming’s weaving on the loom, 2018

Baby wrap woven by Chelsea Fremming, 2018


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Echo Weave Scarf in Pastel Colors

April 29, 2012

I designed and wove an echo weave scarf using an extended parallel threading, but having read Alice Schlein’s 1996 article and a few others in Handwoven, I didn’t quite understand how an interleaved threading was related to an extended parallel one.  So I posed a question on one of the weaving forums asking for clarification and Bonnie Inouye kindly gave a detailed and enlightening explanation.  With Bonnie’s permission to cite from what she wrote, here’s part of her reply:  “Back in 1996, few if any weaving programs included a tool for making parallel threading or treadlings.  Instead, we used ‘interleave’ to get the same results.  I use both tools now and am happy to have them both…. Echo is a method and not a true weave structure.  There are few rules and few promises!”

Being a newbie at weaving echo, I found the extended parallel way fairly easy with the aid of weaving software.  There is also an ‘interleave paste’ in Fiberworks PCW that can be used to combine two threadings to make a new one, something I haven’t as yet explored much.

Following are images, drafts, and notes of my echo weave scarf.  I included a list of sources for studying echo weave at the end.  I read these articles with great interest, but I don’t understand all of it yet!

Echo Weave Scarf in Pastel Colors, pearl cotton & rayon, 2012

Echo Weave Scarf in Pastel Colors, pearl cotton & rayon, 2012 (close-up)

Echo Weave Scarf in Pastel Colors, pearl cotton & rayon, 2012 (twisting the fringes)

As you can see in the drafts below, I started with preliminary threading and treadling drafts that were redrawn using some of the tools in Fiberworks PCW to arrive at the final draft.  I also tried different twill tie-ups before choosing one I really liked.  I weave on a 16-shaft treadle Macomber loom so I show the treadling in tie-up mode rather than lift plan mode, but they can easily be converted from one to the other.

Preliminary Threading & Treadling Drafts for Echo Weave Scarf

Echo Weave Draft for Scarf in Pastel Colors (generated from Preliminary Draft)

I have seen photos of beautiful, iridescent echo weavings of fine silk and Tencel where yarn size is probably larger and sett is closer for warp than for weft.  I read in most of the articles that sett plays a very important role.  My first try of echo weave was with 20/2 cotton with a sett of 54 epi and 40 ppi that turned out interesting with a matte finish.  This time I thought of trying something different with lustrous yarns.  I have lots of 5/2 pearl cotton in many colors in my stash so I decided to use alternating colors of purple and orange at 24 epi for the warp and 2 strands together of a pale green 20/2 rayon for the weft.  I tried different yarns as weft but the 20/2 rayon doubled up looked good at about 22 ppi and the longest float at 5.  I was amazed at how these three colors blended to produce subtle variations.  If I had used something finer like 20/2 silk or Tencel, adjusting the sett accordingly, it would have a lighter hand than the thicker 5/2 pearl cotton I used, but the drape is nice this way too.  I like the way the pastel colors appear to be luminescent and changing as the light plays off the surface as you move the scarf around.

The scarf was finished by twisting the fringes and then washed by hand, rolled in a towel to remove excess moisture, air dried and steam ironed while slightly damp.

Here are some inspiring sources for studying echo weave (in order of date of publication):

  • Bonnie Inouye’s article in the UK publication, The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, December 2008 issue #228, “Echo Weave.”  Bonnie also teaches a workshop, “Opposites Attract” in which the second day is about echo weave.
  • Another article by Bonnie in Handwoven (Jan/Feb 2008), “Two Patterns for Two Scarves On One Warp.” (turned taqueté and echo weave)
  • Barbara Elkins’ article in Handwoven (Sept/Oct 2007), “Peacock Scarf in Networked Echo Weave.”
  • Sandra Rude’s articles in Complex Weavers Journal, 2005 and 2006, “Adventures in Parallel Threading, Part I” and “Adventures in Not-So-Parallel Threading, Part II.”  Also available online at Three Springs Handworks.
  • Alice Schlein’s article in Weaver’s #32 (Summer 1996), “Echo Weave: Something Old and Something New.”  Also available as a monograph from Alice’s website.

UPDATE March 23, 2013:  This scarf won the Complex Weavers Award at the 2013 “Celebration of Fibers” annual members exhibit of the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers!  There’s also an article about this exhibit at NewsWorks that mentions this scarf.

UPDATE April, 2013:  I wove a few more echo weave scarves using pearl cotton and Tencel.  The design was inspired by Sandra Rude’s article, “Adventures in Not-So-Parallel Threading, Part II” and so I interleaved two threadings that are not parallel to each other.  Here’s one scarf where I used red and green 5/2 pearl cotton for the warp and 8/2 orange/brown Tencel for the weft:

Echo Weave Scarf, Pearl Cotton & Tencel, 2013

Echo Weave Scarf, Pearl Cotton & Tencel, 2013

Here’s a detail of another echo scarf similar to the previous one except this time I used 10/2 fuchsia pearl cotton and 8/2 green Tencel for the warp and 8/2 orange/brown Tencel for the weft, resulting in a finer weave and a scarf with a lighter hand.  These scarves are iridescent, I’m not always able to capture that quality in a photo.

Echo Weave, Tencel, 2013 (close-up of a scarf)

Echo Weave, Tencel, 2013 (close-up of a scarf)

And one more example of echo weave where I interleaved two threadings, here is a sample woven in cotton:

Echo Weave - Interleaved Threading, 2014

Echo Weave – Interleaved Threading, cotton sample, 2014

UPDATE July, 2014:  There is a beautiful and inspiring new book published recently by Marian Stubenitsky, Weaving with Echo and Iris, the English version translated from Dutch.  I just received my copy in the mail today and I’m mesmerized by its beauty and all the new information that I know I’ll be spending many hours studying.  There’s a great preview of the book on Marian’s website with ordering information.

UPDATE September 2014:  My new post, “Interleaved Echo Weave…” is about my experience with non-parallel interleaved threadings including a photo of a scarf with the same design as the one above except woven with Tencel.

UPDATE 2019:  Marian Stubenitsky, author of Weaving with Echo and Iris, is now sharing some of her beautiful drafts on at this link.

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8-Shaft Woven Scarves: Parallel Threading & Networked Treadling

February 14, 2012

My imagination was piqued whenever I browsed through weaving books and magazines and read about advancing twills, parallel threadings, networking, and the mysterious “echo” weave.  A few years ago, when I was fairly new to using weaving software, I experimented with advancing twills and networking but it wasn’t so easy.  After a little more study and practice I felt ready to try more challenging projects.

The preliminary drafts for the two scarves I write about in this post had the same advancing point twill threading but different networked treadlings.  The patterns were nice but not exciting enough so I tried an extended parallel repeat of the threading and liked what I saw.  Following are images of the scarves, their drafts, and details of how I designed and wove them.  There’s also a photo of my first attempt at “echo” weave.

Blue Ridge Scarf

Blue Ridge Scarf (parallel threading & networked treadling), pearl cotton, 9″ x 75″, 2012

Blue Ridge Scarf (parallel threading & networked treadling, pearl cotton, 9″ x 75″, 2012 (detail)

There are two views of Draft 1 below.  The first view is a close-up that shows only part of one repeat.  The second view shows one full repeat of the threading and the treadling with an inset image showing more than one repeat.  Click on this second view for a large and clear view of the draft.

Draft 1 – Parallel Threading & Networked Treadling (detail)

Draft 1 – Parallel Threading & Networked Treadling (click on image for a better view)

With the aid of my weaving software (Fiberworks PCW, Silver version), I modified my preliminary draft by redrawing the advancing point twill threading to the extended parallel one in Draft 1, alternating black and white warp ends.  The networked treadling was easily designed using the network drawing tool that has a default of an initial of 4.  I sometimes design networked drafts another way, by redrawing a pattern line on network with options for choosing different initials.  The tie-up is a 3/1/1/3 twill.  The longest float is 3.

I used alternating black and white 10/2 pearl cotton for the warp and dark turquoise for the weft at a sett of 30 e.p.i. and about the same p.p.i.  Tencel or silk would work well too and give a lighter hand and better drape.  The fringes were twisted.  The scarf was wet finished by hand washing, spin dried in the washer, hung to dry and ironed while still damp.  Shrinkage was about 10% overall.

This scarf received the J. Willard Lord Memorial Award for technical excellence at the 2012 “Celebration of Fibers” annual member’s exhibit of the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers.

Mauve Diamonds Scarf

Mauve Diamonds Scarf (parallel threading & networked treadling), pearl cotton, 9″x75″, 2012

Mauve Diamonds Scarf (parallel threading & networked treadling), pearl cotton, 9″x75″, 2012 (detail)

There are two views of the draft for this scarf as well and when you click on the second view the draft will appear large and easy to read.

Draft 2 – Parallel Threading “Reshuffled” & Networked Treadling (detail)

Draft 2 – Parallel Threading “Reshuffled” & Networked Treadling (click on image for a better view)

You may notice that the threading and tie-up in Draft 2 appear to be different than in Draft 1, but you can use the threading in either draft and get the same results.  I used the shaft “shuffler” in my program to reshuffle the parallel threading so it’s easier to thread on the loom.  By doing this, the tie-up was also reshuffled automatically.  However, I designed a different networked treadling for this scarf and so the pattern looks different.

I used 10/2 pearl cotton for this scarf too but alternated dark turquoise and fuchsia in the warp and used black for the weft.  From a distance the colors appear to blend into a mauve color.  All else is the same as for the Blue Scarf.

The Challenge of “Echo” Weave

As I continue to experiment with parallel threading, it’s not as mysterious as it seems to be, but the threading and treadling can be more complicated and variables such as the sett can make a big difference in the final result.  I wove my first “echo” weave fabric, designed with a parallel threading, on 16 shafts using 20/2 cotton at 54 e.p.i. and about 40 p.p.i. (see photo below).  In my research I learned that echo weave is not a weave structure, but a method, and you recognize it when you see it.

“Echo” Weave Fabric, cotton, 2012

Inspiring sources for studying “echo” weave:  Alice Schlein’s article in Weaver’s magazine #32 (Summer 1996), “Echo Weave: Something Old and Something New.”  It’s also available as a monograph on Alice’s website.  Sandra Rude’s articles, “Adventures in Parallel Threading, Part 1” and “Adventures in Not-So-Parallel Threading, Part II,” appeared in the Complex Weavers Journal in 2005 and 2006 and are available online including photos of Sandra’s gorgeous fabrics at Three Springs Handworks.  Also, Bonnie Inouye mentioned on a weaving forum that she teaches a workshop that covers “echo” weave.

Update:  More on echo weave in my new post, “Echo Weave Scarf in Pastel Colors.”

These parallel threading projects were so much fun!

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Diversified Plain Weave (variation): Pillows & Scarves

October 16, 2011

My latest weaving projects – pillows and scarves – are very different in their appearance and function, but they share a common weave structure, a variation of Diversified Plain Weave (DPW).

In my research, I found an early reference to DPW in G. H. Oelsner’s, A Handbook of Weaves (downloadable at, first published in 1915.  Oelsner describes diversified weaves as patterns that “can be obtained by adding or removing risers from a ground weave,” and calls them “diversified plain weaves” when the ground is a plain weave.  In later books and articles there are references to Klara Cherpov’s 1972 monograph, “Diversified Plain Weave,” that seems to be a definitive study on the subject.  DPW is sometimes described as a weave structure where one color of heavy warps and another color of heavy wefts form a pattern and are tied down by fine warps and wefts that form plain weave.  The woven cloth is two-sided with the reverse pattern showing on the back.  There are no long floats, the surface is tightly interlocked so it’s great for such uses as upholstery fabric.

I then came across Madelyn van der Hoogt’s article, “Thick ‘N Thin Again” in Weaver’s magazine #36 (Summer ’97) where she describes a new variation of DPW that I decided to use for the pillows and scarves.  This new DPW is more appealing to me than the original DPW because it seems easier to follow and in some cases allows for more blocks with fewer shafts.  Some weavers prefer the original DPW because they say they like the surface structure of the woven cloth better.  For more information about DPW, Judy (Fibres of Being) has some great drafts and detailed notes about it.  Madelyn van der Hoogt’s book, The Best of Weaver’s: Thick ‘N Thin, is a compilation of many articles about it that were first published in various issues of Weaver’s magazine.

Below are images of the pillows and scarves with drafts and notes on how I designed and wove them.

Diversified Plain Weave (variation) Wool & Pearl Cotton Pillows

Diversified Plain Weave (variation) Pillows, wool and pearl cotton, 15″x15″, 2011

Diversified Plain Weave (variation) Fabric for Pillows, wool and pearl cotton

Diversified Plain Weave (variation) work in progress on the loom, wool and pearl cotton

Diversified Plain Weave (variation) Draft for Pillows

When it comes to block weaves, I sometimes like to design a pattern in the tie-up rather than start with a profile draft.  About two years ago I designed a Summer & Winter table runner this way.  Experimenting with different swirly patterns in the tie-up, it was great fun watching the pattern evolve until I liked it enough to use for the pillows.  Note the thick and thin warps and wefts in the draft and how they interlace to create this weave that looks a little bit like needlepoint in the woven cloth.  Erica de Ruiter’s article in Weaver’s #44 (Summer ’99), “Petit Point Scarves,” shows a beautiful scarf with an intricate pattern woven on only 3 shafts that is also similar to the newer variation of DPW in a free-form pick-up technique.

I wove the fabric for the pillows using a tightly twisted 4-ply worsted type wool as the thick warp and weft (except the lavender pillow weft, I think, is a 2-ply woolen type) and 20/2 pearl cotton as the thin warp and weft.  I wove a few small samples first with different setts and finishings and ended up using 24 e.p.i., 3 per dent in an 8-dent reed, 2 thin and 1 thick per dent, with almost the same p.p.i.  Using 2 warp beams, one for the wool warp and the other for the cotton, helped eliminate any potential tension problems.  I know that wet finishing is best for wool in most cases but since these are decorative pillows I chose to only steam iron the back side of the fabric.  This preserved the loftiness of the wool in the front and at the same time softened the stiffness that the cloth had when it came off the loom.

Since I weave on a 16-shaft treadle loom, it would have been difficult for me to weave the pattern the way you see it on the draft because many shafts tied to one treadle can be very heavy to lift without some kind of lift assist.  So for easier lifting, I rearranged the treadles (divided the 14 shafts tied to one treadle to two treadles, placed them in the center and pressed with both feet) and reversed the other tie-ups so the back side of the pattern was facing up as I wove.

Diversified Plain Weave (variation) Chenille/Rayon/Cotton Scarves

Diversified Plain Weave (variation) Scarves, chenille-rayon-cotton, 9″x65″, 2011

Diversified Plain Weave (variation) Draft for Scarves

After having some success weaving a shadow weave chenille scarf some time ago, I thought I’d try chenille again but together with other fibers.  I wove a series of scarves using rayon chenille (1450 yds./lb.) as the thick warp, rayon bouclé as the thick weft, and 20/2 cotton as the thin warp and weft.  The sett is the same as for the pillows, 24 e.p.i., but the p.p.i. is a bit closer at about 28.  The possible color combinations are endless and by changing the color of the thin warp and/or weft the saturation (intensity) and value (light/dark) of the heavy warp/weft colors may be altered in subtle ways.  The draft for the scarves shows only one possible color scheme and doesn’t represent the actual number of repeats I used.

As the weaving progressed, the chenille became slack while the cotton remained tight, so winding the chenille separately on a second warp beam was very helpful to correct this.  If you don’t have a double warp beam, on a short warp you can insert a rod and suspend it with weights so the chenille warp is weighted down enough to even out the tension.

To finish the scarves, they were first washed with a little detergent and rinsed on the gentle cycle in the washer, agitated for only half a minute, spin dried carefully (you can roll them in a towel instead), and laid flat to dry.  Instead of placing them in the dryer as I usually would with chenille, I steam ironed them because the rayon looks beautiful this way and the chenille, even though it’s flattened, has a sheen to it.  Also, instead of fringes, I hand sewed hems on these scarves.


I’m sorry to share some sad news, my weaver friend, Fern (also known as “buyathread”), passed away on September 14 after a long illness…

In Memory of

Fern Devlin


Friend, fellow weaver and blogger, renowned scarf designer, and a truly nice person.  Fern, you will be missed and never forgotten.


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Rep Weave: Placemats (4 shafts) & Table Runner (16 shafts)

July 14, 2011

Warp-faced rep weave, sometimes referred to as warp rep, mattor, or ripsmatta, is a relative of shadow weave.  They are alike in that the structure of both these weaves is mostly plain weave and light and dark ends alternate in the warp and are threaded on pairs of shafts.  They differ in that the warp in warp rep is sett much closer and thick and thin wefts alternate to create horizontal ridges with an interesting, ribbed texture.

Having woven rep weave before, I wanted to give it another try and learn more about it.  Following are images, drafts, and notes describing my recent rep weave projects that were great fun to weave.

Rep Weave (Warp Rep) Placemats (4 shafts)

While researching this topic, I came across a unique article I found online at, “Mattor,” by Robert Frederic Heartz, published in 1936.  I was inspired by the informative, hand-drawn illustrations, drafts, and meticulous notes.  I picked Draft No. 7 accompanying Illustration No.7, entered the info into my weaving program and wove a set of four placemats:

Warp Rep Placemats, 14″x 18″, cotton, 2011

Warp Rep Placemats, 14″ x 18″, cotton, 2011 (detail)

If you look at the article, each threading block consists of 8 warp ends, but you can vary this number as long as it’s in multiples of pairs.  I translated the handwritten notes into this computer generated profile draft and noted the block numbers on top:

Profile Draft for Warp Rep Placemats showing threading blocks

The threading of each block and the tie-up is easier to understand if you look at the two views below.  The top one is an interlacement view so you can see the plain weave structure and what is actually going on with the thick and thin wefts.  The bottom warp rep view shows what the actual weaving will look like, the weft is no longer visible covered by the close sett of the warp.  I didn’t include the border that is shown in the handwritten notes in the article because you can create solid colored vertical stripes by simply repeating any block using a solid color instead of alternating light/dark colors as in the rest of the warp.  Here are the two views:

Draft for Warp Rep Placemats showing interlacement and warp rep views

Additional Notes:

I wove a few samples with different setts and yarns before weaving the placemats to help me figure out how many times to repeat each block in the threading and the treadling so they would turn out nice and a good size for a placemat.  I followed the threading exactly the same number of times as indicated in the article with 8 ends in each block.  However, I treadled as if there were only 2 ends in each treadling block, otherwise the pattern would have been too elongated.  I also created a pdf of the thread-by-thread and treadling drafts for the placemats:  Threading & Treadling for Rep Weave Placemats

For the warp I used 20/2 cotton (2 strands together used as one) at a sett of 60 e.p.i., sleyed 4 ends per dent in a 15-dent reed.  For the wefts I used a thick, 4-ply cotton of variegated colors alternating with a thin 20/2 cotton (single, not doubled up as in the warp).  The final measurement of each placemat turned out to be 14 inches x 18 inches after wet finishing – washing by hand and steam ironing while still damp, and hand stitching the hems.  Next time they can go in the washing machine on the gentle cycle.

A word about the shed:  Because of the close sett it can be difficult to get a wide open shed for smooth and fast weaving.  In this project it was good but I still had to help it a little, prying it open wider as the shuttle passed through.  For a neater selvedge, I placed the weft in a rounded, inverted “v” shape and beat it in on the opposite shed.  I read in one article that if you keep the warp tension looser you can lay the weft in straight and the looser warp will do all the bending, but I didn’t try it this way.

There are books and articles with different tips on how to weave rep weave efficiently, my favorite is Joanne Tallarovic’s book, Rep Weave and Beyond.  “Weaver’s” magazine has many articles on rep weave that were written during its publication years from 1988-2000.  My favorites are:

  • “A Designer’s Handbook: Warp Rep,” by Donna Sullivan, Weaver’s #11
  • “‘Ripped’ About Rep,” by Rosalie Neilson, Weaver’s #9
  • “4 Shaft, 4 Block Rep: A Sampler,” by Rosalie Neilson, Weaver’s #9
  • “Warp Rep: 8 Shafts, 8 Blocks,” by Rosalie Neilson, Weaver’s #11
  • “Warp Rep: 16 Shafts, 16 Blocks,” by Rosalie Neilson, Weaver’s #15

Rosalie Neilson’s website has info about her work including the 4-shaft warp rep Sampler.

Rep Weave (Warp Rep) Table Runner (16 shafts)

Among my collection of samples woven by members of the Fine Threads Study Group at Complex Weavers, I found a warp rep sample that was designed by using parallel threading and treadling that inspired me to design a table runner.  I also read in one of Rosalie Neilson’s articles, “Warp Rep: 16 Shafts, 16 Blocks” (Weaver’s #15), how to easily derive tie-ups from 16-shaft twills that can be used in warp rep.  I went ahead and designed many parallel threadings and treadlings, tried them with different tie-ups, chose one I liked, and after a few revisions (ok, many revisions), was ready to weave it.  Using weaving software was really helpful in speeding up this process.  Here is the finished woven piece:

Warp Rep Table Runner, 19″x 35″, pearl cotton, 2011

Below are two drafts for the Table Runner, one is a close-up that shows the colors I used in the warp, the tie-up, and the thick and thin wefts.  The other is a black & white version that shows one full repeat of the threading and treadling.

Weaving Draft for Warp Rep Table Runner (color detail and b&w showing one repeat)

Additional Notes:

I wove a few samples first for this project as well and chose 5/2 pearl cotton for the warp, sett at 40 e.p.i. and a thick, 4-ply cotton of variegated colors for the thick weft and a 20/2 cotton for the thin.  I tried sleying 4 ends per dent in a 10-dent reed but some warp ends didn’t sit where they were supposed to and so the colors didn’t look exactly right.  I resleyed at 2 ends per dent in a 20-dent reed, but this made it more difficult to get a wide open shed.  On the other hand, there was ample space between pairs of ends (e.g., 1,9 and 2,10) that somewhat compensated for this handicap.  I still had to insert a wooden sword in the narrow shed behind the reed, turning it on its side to open the shed wider so the shuttle could easily pass through.  It was slow weaving but it worked.

The only finishing for the Table Runner was twisting the fringes, no wet finishing because I want to use it mostly as a decorative piece.

There are many variations possible in rep weave such as multiple color combinations, a lesser dense warp where the weft plays a bigger role because it’s more visible, and even warp rep and weft rep in the same piece.  I wove a couple of different colorful warp rep runners some time ago that may be of interest, the third and fourth images on my Gallery – 2005 & 2007 page.

UPDATE January 2017:  I revisited warp rep in 2017 and you can find photos, drafts, and notes in my new post that describe how I designed and wove two warp rep runners and a belt .

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Patterned Double Weave Scarf + Twill Version

April 17, 2011

This is my third post about patterned double weave, it’s so fascinating!  Sample 3 of my recent study inspired me to design and weave a scarf with a mixture of colors that remind me of the beauty of corals.

Weaving the scarf was easy because I simply tied the new warp to the old one that was still on the loom from my study.  I removed some warp ends to get the number of repeats of the pattern that I wanted and resleyed the reed to a wider sett.  But after finishing this scarf I decided to tie on yet another warp, change the tie-up to a twill, with the goal of weaving a single layer scarf that is finer, more subtle, and that drapes even better.

Here are images of both scarves, their weaving drafts, and a few additional notes about each:

Double Weave Coral Scarf:

Double Weave Coral Scarf, pearl & slub cotton & linen, 9″x65″, 2011

Double Weave Coral Scarf – work in progress on the loom

Weaving Draft for Double Weave Coral Scarf

Double Weave Coral Scarf – tie-up designed in Photoshop Elements

For the warp I used a light blue/yellow space-dyed 10/2 linen I had in my stash from the days I dyed some of my own yarns and a reddish, variegated, slub cotton of similar thickness, and for the weft an orange and light grey 5/2 pearl cotton, with a sett of 24 e.p.i., sleyed 2 per dent in a 12-dent reed, and about the same p.p.i.  This is looser than I would normally weave the plain weave layers using the same yarns; I was trying to avoid a finished cloth that would be too thick and stiff to wear as a scarf.

After I cut the unfinished scarf off the loom, I twisted the fringes from the 7″ of unwoven warp I left on both ends for this purpose, twisting 3 ends with 3 ends, light colors together and dark colors together rather than mixing them because I thought it looked better this way with the overall design of this scarf.

The next step was washing the scarf by hand, drying it flat but steam ironing while it was still damp.  The overall shrinkage was about 10%, fairly even among the different yarns, and the fringes ended up being about 5″ long.  The looser sett and lighter beating of the weft did help make the finished scarf drape fairly well, it has a lovely sheen and doesn’t feel too thick.  I like how the different yarns combined to create an interesting effect, but I would recommend using silk, Tencel, rayon or a loosely twisted cotton yarn for an even better drape.  How about something like this:

Twill Chocolate Scarf:

When our friend, Janie, saw this scarf while it was still on the loom, the first thing she said was “chocolate” so “chocolate” it is!

Twill Chocolate Scarf, rayon & cotton, 9″ x 65″, 2011

Twill Chocolate Scarf, rayon & cotton, 9″ x 65″, 2011 (detail)

Weaving Draft for Twill Chocolate Scarf

For the warp I used a 2-ply knitting type rayon yarn and for the weft a loosely twisted cotton, similar to embroidery thread with a nice sheen.  Both these yarns worked well at 24 e.p.i.  Wet finishing was the same as for the Coral Scarf.  I machine stitched the two ends and left about 3″ of loose warp for the fringes.

Variation on a theme, that’s what it felt like to weave these two scarves, it was so much fun and a great learning experience.

My related posts about patterned double:  Patterned Double Weave:  Two Projects and Patterned Double Weave:  Samples &  Drafts

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Patterned Double Weave: Samples & Drafts

February 14, 2011

I was thinking about the loom-controlled, patterned double weave project I did last year and realized that I wanted to explore this subject further.  The way the two plain weave layers exchanged top and bottom areas with unclear edges was especially intriguing.

My plan was to start by designing different double weave tie-ups and then seeing what would happen when I tried different threadings and treadlings with each tie-up.  One way to design tie-ups is by cutting and pasting areas of the top and bottom layers.  I found the chapter on Double Weave in Bonnie Inouye‘s book, Exploring Multishaft Design, very helpful with this.  I found some more help in Alice Schlein‘s book, The Liftplan Connection (Designing for Dobby Looms With Photoshop and Photoshop Elements).  I was already familiar with Photoshop Elements, and even though the title sounded daunting at first, and I weave on a 16-shaft treadle loom, not on a dobby loom, I did find things in the book that I can use.  An easy and fun thing I can do now is to design double weave tie-ups that I can paste into my weaving software.

Below are images of a few of the samples I wove and the drafts I designed.  All the tie-ups were designed in Photoshop Elements, and to illustrate how a tie-up design appears in Photoshop Elements I included a screenshot of one in Sample 1.  Sample 4 is the culmination of my study and it’s a wider and longer fabric than the other samples because I might actually want to make something out of part of it and share the rest by cutting it up into samples for my Fine Threads Study group at Complex Weavers.

Sample 1:  To weave this sample I used 20/2 cotton doubled (2 strands together) with a sett of 40 e.p.i., sleyed 4 ends per dent in a 10 dent reed.  I washed and ironed all the samples.  Note that the threading and treadling is the same as in Sample 2, but the tie-ups are different.  I also included the tie-up design for this sample as it appears in Photoshop Elements.  The image of the woven sample shows a distant view and a close-up view of the same side.

Patterned Double Weave Sample 1

Patterned Double Weave Tie-Up for Sample 1 (designed with Photoshop Elements)

Patterned Double Weave Draft 1

Sample 2:  I used the same yarn and sett as in Sample 1.  The image of the sample shows a close-up view of one side and a distant view of the other side.

Patterned Double Weave Sample 2

Patterned Double Weave Draft 2

Sample 3:  For this sample I used 20/2 cotton again but this time single strands (not doubled up) and, therefore, with a closer sett of 56 e.p.i., sleyed 4 ends per dent in a 14 dent reed.  Note that the threading is the same as in Sample 4 but the treadling is slightly different and the tie-up is different.  The image of the woven sample shows a close-up view of one side and a distant view of the other side.  I really like the interesting edges around the diamond shapes, and I might weave something with this pattern using a thicker yarn to show off these pretty edges.

Patterned Double Weave Sample 3

Patterned Double Weave Draft 3

Sample 4:  I used the same yarn and sett as in Sample 3.  I chose this last pattern to weave a wider and longer fabric because it works well for playing around with all the color combinations.  Also, because there’s a lot of interaction between the two layers, there is a mottled appearance to the doughnut-like shapes that I really like.  The image of the fabric mostly shows parts of the front and back views of the main pattern and a close-up view as well.

Patterned Double Weave Fabric (Sample 4)

Patterned Double Weave Draft 4

I hope you enjoyed reading about my double weave adventure.  My related posts about patterned double weave are:  “Patterned Double Weave:  Two Projects” and “Patterned Double Weave Scarf + Twill Version.”

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Weaving Huck Lace!

October 20, 2010

I know how to do Filet Crochet, it’s very open, lacy, looks beautiful using fine yarns, and patterns can be easily designed on graph paper.  So, I thought why not try to weave something like this.  From the many types of lace weaves, I chose Huck Lace.  I spent hours designing 7-block profile drafts for Huck and plain weave blocks that I could weave on my 16-shaft treadle loom.

Although a main subject on a background is nice, I was really trying to design a profile draft with a balance between the Huck and the plain weave areas so that the negative and positive spaces would be equally important.  This way the patterns formed by the Huck areas as well as the plain weave areas would be interesting.

I came up with a profile draft I thought would work, and what started out to be a lacy shawl ended up as a curtain because I love the way it looks when light passes through it.  Following are images, drafts and other details about it.

Huck Lace Curtain (pearl cotton) 2010

Huck Lace Curtain (pearl cotton) 2010 (detail 1)

Huck Lace Curtain (pearl cotton) 2010 (detail 2)

Profile Draft and Partial Weaving Draft:

After designing the profile draft, I used the “block substitution” feature in my weaving program to generate a complete thread-by-thread weaving draft.  But you don’t really need a full thread-by-thread draft; just follow the block order in the profile draft.  For example, if you look at the Profile Draft and Partial Weaving Draft below, reading right to left and top to bottom, the first block is threaded and treadled as:  1-6-1-6-1, 2-5-2-5-2, 1-6-1-6-1; the next block as:  2-7-2-7-2, 1-8-1-8-1, 2-7-2-7-2; and so on.

PROFILE DRAFT for Huck Lace Curtain

Partial Weaving Draft for Huck Lace Curtain

Huck Lace Unit:

I used a 5-thread Huck in this project where warp floats alternate with weft floats.  The image and draft below show how one full unit of this type of Huck can be threaded and treadled repeatedly on 4 shafts as 2-3-2-3-2, 1-4-1-4-1.  For my project I used 1-1/2 units per block.

Huck Lace Sample and Draft

For more on Huck Lace using 4 shafts there are two superb articles on Weavezine:  Laura Fry’s “Woven Lace: Huck on a Twill Threading” and Michele Belson’s “Color Gamps” that has a draft for “Huck Lace Blocks in Plain Weave Ground.”

And my favorite book on the subject is:  Huck Lace (The Best of Weaver’s), edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt.

Weaving Notes:

I wove a few samples at first trying out different setts and yarns.  The winner was 20/2 pearl cotton sett at 30 e.p.i., sleyed 2 per dent in a 15-dent reed.  This sett is loose compared to 36 e.p.i. that I often use for plain weave with this type of yarn, but looser works well in this case.

With an added inch or so of plain weave at the selvedges, the width on the loom was about 26″ with a finished width of 24″ after hand washing and steam ironing while still lightly damp.  I wove enough yardage to make curtains for a small window.

There was one other sample I really liked where I used a very fine 64/2 merino silk yarn.  I’m thinking of doing a Huck Lace project with this.  Stay tuned.

Update (February 2011):  I wove two Huck Lace Shawls using the 64/2 merino silk yarn with a sett of 45 e.p.i., they feel really luxurious.  Here’s a picture:

Huck Lace Shawl, silk & merino wool, 17″x68″, 2011

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