Basics of Double Weaving

Basics of Double Weaving

There is a lot of mystery behind double weave, but once you understand how it works it makes so. much. sense!

I get so many questions about this weaving technique including:

What is it?

What can it do?

and of course

How?!?!?

I get it. It seems like it would be a very difficult technique to weave and set-up, but if you can weave plain weave on a 4 shaft loom then I promise you can weave double weave.

There are a lot of different types of double weave, but today we are going to be focusing on the basics a.k.a. double weave on a 4 shaft floor loom. 


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Double weave is a weaving technique where you are weaving multiple layers of weaving on the same loom.

On a 4 shaft loom it is most often used to literally double the weaving width of your loom! This means if you have a 25 inch weaving width on your loom you will be able to weave a 50 inch plain woven fabric. There are a lot of other fun and versatile things that this weaving type can do, but we will get into that a little bit later.




When you are weaving double weave you will be weaving 2 layers of weaving “at the same time”.

You are not actually weaving them at the same time, but it is often described that way. You are actually weaving the different layers with your treadling pattern in different sheds.

You will need at least 4 shafts to weave a plain woven double weaving because you will need 2 shafts for 1 layer and 2 shafts for the other.

Think of it this way: regular plain weave really only requires 2 shafts. You need to be able to lift and lower only 2 sets of warps at any time. We often use 4 shafts for plain weave mainly because they are there and it is easy enough to just get used to using all 4 shafts of your loom. This also helps to prepare you for more complicated patterns.

If you only need 2 shafts for plain weave then double weave (where you are weaving 2 sections of plain weave) only requires 4 shafts total! 

Really, it’s like magic!

So how do you weave 2 sections at a time?

To best understand how double weave works we need to think of our weaving in layers and sections. A regular plain woven fabric will have 2 ”layers” when it is being woven. One layer is our even warps and the other is our odd warps. To weave plain weave you will lift layer 1, weave, lift layer 2, weave, repeat. This regular plain weave is only 1 “section”.

The hardest part to imagine with double weave is how to weave the bottom section.  

With a top and bottom section in double weave you will have to lift the entire top section and alternating layers of the bottom section in order to weave separate pieces of fabric. Think of it as lifting away the entire top section and moving it out of the way in order to access the bottom.

Double weave will have 4 layers – 2 for each section of your fabric. We will call our sections A and B. You will lift the first layer of section A and weave, lift both layers of A and the first layer of section B, weave, lift the second layer of A, weave, then both layers of A and the second layer of B, weave, repeat. 

Let’s look at a diagram:


double weave side view diagram



Even if you can wrap your head around how the double weave comes to be, it has to be hard to set up and weave, right?

Nope!

If you can follow tie-up and treadling instructions then you can easily weave double weave.

Brush up on how to read weaving pattern drafts here.

It is really no different than weaving any other pattern except that you will have to remember to warp your loom with 2 warps in every dent of your reed. This will also mean you will need double the amount of warp yarn for your project, so keep that mind when you are planning your project.

As far as your weft goes, you will also need double the amount. You can think of it as planning for 2 weavings that just so happen to be woven on top of each other.




As I said earlier, the most common (in my experience) use of double weave is to double the width of your loom.

If you follow the draft above and weave with a separate weft for the top and the bottom then you will have 2 distinct sections of fabric that will come apart when they are off the loom. They will look exactly the same as any other plain woven fabric you have woven in the past.

If you, instead, weave with just 1 weft then you can connect your double weave on 1 or both sides. Connecting on just 1 side will create a “hinge” that will open up when your weaving is done! This is how you double your width! 

While this aspect of double weave in and of itself is impressive and worth the learning curve, that is not the only trick it can do.

With the exact same threading you can also try out some other options.

If you connect your sections on both sides you will create a tube with an opening at the top and the bottom. This could be a fun option if you want to create a bag. All you will need to do is sew up the bottom of the tube and you have a simple bag ready to go. 

If you cross your top and bottom section then you can create connected tubes with side openings. To do this you will change up your tie-up.

You can also weave the same weft on the top and the bottom, but meet in the middle to create a top pocket. (image below)

And if you are feeling really into everything, then you can weave double weave with pick-up to create designs and imagery, but honestly that is probably it’s own future post or class.

The double weave drafts for all of these techniques can be found in The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon.




Like most things in weaving, creating samples is ALWAYS a good idea.

In the case of double weave, a full sampler can be a really fun and enlightening way to explore the possibilities of basic double weave. Setting up your loom to allow you to weave a few inches of all of the above options can help you to get your hands on the techniques to better help you understand the mechanics and help you choose what you want to continue with in the future. I used a yellow yarn between each of the different techniques in my sampler to better differentiate between them in the future.

I recommend choosing very different colors for your top and bottom sections. This way it is even easier to see what is going on in your sampler. While you can weave with the same color on the top and bottom section, you will generally get more out of the experience if you can really see the different sections.

Double weave is a such a fun and interesting weaving technique because it really makes you think about how weaving works! Let me know if you try it out and how it goes.


-Nicole

What Is Tapestry? Definition, Usage, and History

What Is Tapestry? Definition, Usage, and History

Tapestry is one of my favorite types of weaving! For that reason, it is actually the one that I use to demonstrate a lot of different things here on Warped Fibers – as you may have noticed.

But do you really now what tapestry is?

It is a type of weaving that is often misunderstood and even misrepresented.

The word tapestry is often used as a way to describe something with a rich and vivid story. This makes sense considering what tapestry was often used for when it was first created (more on that in the history section.)

It can also be used to describe an image-based wall hanging made of fabric.

You know the ones.

They are usually brightly colored and have mandalas and other similar imagery. These are usually lightweight balanced woven fabric – not actually tapestry. At least not by the actual definition.

So let’s first go over the definition because there are a few things that a weaving needs to have to actually be considered a tapestry.


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What is tapestry?


what is tapestry diagram

Tapestry is a weft-faced weaving featuring discontinuous weft.


That is it. That is the entire definition.

Let’s break that down a little bit, though.

Weft-faced weaving is a type of weaving that features the weft and not the warp. In a finished weft-faced weaving the only place you can see the warp is at the top and bottom selvedges (top and bottom of the weaving). Even then it is only if you choose certain finishing techniques.

This is in opposition to a balanced weave (or pattern weave) where you see both warp and weft in the finished weaving. A.k.a. a balanced amount of warp and weft. 

A tapestry is generally going to have a smaller EPI than a balanced weave in order to allow room for the weft to compress completely. A smaller EPI means more space between your warps.

Using a higher EPI is possible, but would mean you would have to use a much thinner weft in order for it to beat down all the way. If you look at the diagram above you can see that the cross-section of the tapestry shows the warp completely enclosed in the weft. This creates warp channels that account for the rib-like texture. One great thing you can do is manipulate these warp channels for some interesting texture and emphasis.


warp channels in a tapestry weaving

One definite advantage to using a higher EPI and a thinner weft is that you can create more detailed weavings. Think of it like pixels. The higher the pixel count, the more detailed the photograph. It works the same with tapestry.

A higher EPI and more detail, though, will take longer to weave. Not bad, not good, just something to keep in mind.

Discontinuous weft is when your weft yarn does not go from selvedge to selvedge. Instead, your shed will have more than one yarn in it – usually different colors. This allows for the creation of imagery, patterns, or shapes.


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.

There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!



Due to the structure of tapestry, high tension is usually needed for best results when you are weaving.

This will help the weft to compress more easily and completely cover the warp. When weaving a balanced or pattern weaving then the warp and weft will both deflect, but tapestry warp should stay straight. If your warp tension is too loose then you will have a harder time creating your weaving because it will not compress as easily.

The larger the tapestry you are creating, the more important this becomes. That is why embroidery weaving using tapestry techniques still works. They are smaller and can get away with a looser (not loose) tension. Can you weave a larger tapestry with a looser tension? Yes, but you will have a harder time doing it.

If you are ever having a hard time with your tapestry, then check your tension first. This could save you and your love for weaving.


It does not mean imagery


What is tapestry

My tapestry in progress featuring natural rock patterns. This piece also features some balanced woven areas.


One of the most common misconceptions is that a tapestry is a weaving with an image.

This misconception is completely understandable.

While a lot of tapestries do have imagery and imagery is made with discontinuous weft that does not necessarily mean that it has to portray an image.

Take for example basically all of my weavings!

I weave tapestry most of the time, but I almost never weave imagery. Instead, I use the same techniques to weave natural patterns. You can also just weave shapes or play around with different textures. As long as the warp is completely covered by the weft and there is some discontinuous weft – you have a tapestry!

In fact, one of the most well known tapestry weavers doesn’t weave imagery. Sheila Hicks is well known for her small tapestries that were created as a sort of sketch book as she traveled. These weavings were mostly weft-faced and featured discontinuous weft, but none of them portray any sort of picture. Instead, most of her weavings featured blocks and strips of color.

If you can get your hands on it – I highly recommend her book: Weaving As Metaphor that has images of every one of her small sketchbook tapestries and essays. Just a warning, it is no longer in print, so it may not be cheap. That being said even the book itself is beautiful and is printed on handmade paper. Worth it.

*If you do want to weave imagery then make sure to check out my Weaving Shapes E-Book and my online tapestry course!*


History of tapestry


Tapestry details - Vatican

Details from 2 of the tapestries in the Gallery of Tapestries at the Vatican, Italy.


The history of tapestry is quite fascinating and starts with the fact that in 4000 BCE the first domestication of sheep with the correct type of wool for yarn began.

Before that, the only materials they had to make yarn and therefore to weave with were cellulose-based (hemp and linen) and did not take dye very well. The weavings created with cellulose yarns at the time were simpler for this reason.

Wool changed everything.

Wool took dye better.

This was the beginning because it allowed for weft-faced patterns using different colored yarns. Suddenly people had an easy way to weave up shapes and they ran with it.

Lucky for us!

Tapestries were used for everything from clothing to wall coverings. It became incredibly popular as a way to line walls of drafty castles and homes due to its thickness and ability to tell stories (often biblical.)

One of the aspects of tapestry that made it so popular is that they could be rolled up and they were portable – unlike similar paintings of the time. You could take your narrative artwork with you for very little effort and it would keep your home from getting drafty.

It was a win-win.



How they were woven


Traditionally, they were often woven sideways and then turned upright when displayed.

You can see in the pictures above that the warp is actually going left to right! The vertical lines that you can see are actually weft hatching and not warp. They were and are still usually woven on an upright loom that allows the weaver to be able to see the entire design at all times. (More about looms later)

You can learn more about different ways to weave tapestry here.

The image-based tapestries (basically all traditional tapestries) were woven with a cartoon placed behind the weaving.

The cartoon is a drawing of the image that the weaver follows to create the design. Sometimes they were woven from the back and in that case a mirror was used to reflect the cartoon so that the finished weaving wasn’t backwards.

Today, many weavers still use a cartoon behind their tapestries, but some also draw directly on the warp.

Word of caution: if you are going to draw directly on your warp – make sure you are using an ink that will not transfer. Absolutely do not use Sharpie!*

*This is a pet peeve of mine. Sharpie can bleed. Don’t do that to your artwork.

It was also common that they were designed by a master artist and woven by a group of weavers all working on them at the same time. This included artists like the painter Raphael who was commissioned to design 12 tapestries for the Sistine Chapel at the same time that Michelangelo was painting the ceiling.


historic tapestries - Vatican

Gallery of Tapestries – Vatican, Italy


What is not tapestry?


That might seem like a weird question, but since tapestry is so often misrepresented it is important to talk about at least one very prominent example of a non-tapestry that is called a tapestry.

The Bayeaux Tapestry is actually an embroidery! A very impressive embroidery, but an embroidery nonetheless.

It is a 224 foot long narrative embroidery depicting the conquering of England by the Duke of Normandy in 1066. It is made with the use of wool thread on a linen fabric. Unlike a real tapestry, it portrays it’s story through the use of different embroidery stitches to create the imagery on the surface of the fabric instead of woven into it.

So why is it called a tapestry?

Unfortunately, that is a great question with no real answer. 

My guess? It is because it is a textile with imagery that was used to tell a story back in a time when fabric was a great way to do it. It was created for the same reason as many other tapestries (real ones) of the same era – to have a physical representation of a story and be able to transport it easily. For this reason, I can understand why they share a name.

If you are interested in adding embroidery to your weaving then make sure to check my embroidery stitches for weaving post!


Do you want to learn how to weave shapes? Knowing how to weave simple shapes like squares, triangles, and circles will help you break down more complex shapes and make weaving imagery a breeze. Learn these and much more in the second e-book of the Learn to Weave series! Click Below!


What type of loom should I choose for tapestry?


As mentioned above, a lot of tapestry weavers weave on upright looms – also called high warp looms. They are called high warp not because of their high tension, but because their warp is vertical to the floor. That being said, you can weave tapestry on any loom that allows you to have high warp tension. Remember: the higher the tension, the easier it is for the weft to flow over the warp and compress.

Low warp looms like floor looms are not always ideal because they can not always live up to the tension needed. This is the same for rigid heddle looms.

Rigid heddle looms are better for balanced and pattern-woven fabrics. If you are looking for a low warp loom to weave tapestry on then countermarche and counterbalance looms tend to be best. Jack-style looms can still work (in fact I weave tapestry on my low warp loom), just leave the smaller portable low warp looms for balanced weaving.

Find out more about rigid heddle looms HERE.


Embroidery weaving is a hybrid technique of embroidery and weaving! It is a fun and portable weaving technique that is perfect for beginner and advanced weavers alike. The Warped Fibers Embroidery Weaving Kit contains everything you need for at least 3 samples and a finished embroidery weaving. Plus, if you have never done this technique before – don’t worry! The kit also comes with a download that will walk you through the process.


So what do I weave it on?


Most often I weave tapestry on my simple frame loom or my Harrisville floor loom ( a jack loom!)

I know, I know. I just said that jack looms do not usually make the best tapestry looms. Well, that is true, but the Harrisville does a good job and I don’t only weave tapestry! If you are looking for something portable, then there are a lot of other great frame loom options that you can use as well!

Want ANOTHER option? Try embroidery weaving! While embroidery weaving does not have the same ability to create a super tight tension, it doesn’t really matter because embroidery weavings are smaller. The small format of embroidery weaving means you can get away with a warp that isn’t super tight since there is less warp to deal with. Another big plus of embroidery weaving is that you can do it without a loom. You can grab your own Embroidery Weaving Kit in my shop!

If you are interested in learning how to weave tapestry then you can check out my classes page for my current online tapestry classes that you can take from ANYWHERE! You will learn how to weave many different techniques including building shapes, color blending, eccentric weft, creating imagery, textures, plus finishing, storage, and more!



-Nicole

References



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5 Simple Weaving Knots Every Weaver Should Know

5 Simple Weaving Knots Every Weaver Should Know

Knots and yarn a lot of times go hand in hand.

This can be a good thing – or a bad thing. I’m sure we have all had our share of unwanted knots that keep us from our weavings or other Fiber Art. If you are getting these knots because you are using yarn by itself with no shuttle or bobbin then you might want to consider making a butterfly to keep your yarn from knotting.

Otherwise, there are some useful weaving knots that you will actually WANT for setting up and finishing your weaving.


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Square Knot


The most widely used knot in weaving and probably, in general, is the square knot. If you only know how to do one knot – this is the one!

You can use a square knot in many different ways when weaving.

I use it the most often when setting up a simple frame loom to attach my warp or scaffolding to the frame. A lot of weavers also use this to attach their warp to the apron bar on the floor loom – but I prefer the half bow for that (keep reading for that one.)

The square knot is strong and simple to do. It is hard to undo if it gets tight, though, so make sure you are ok with potentially cutting it off later.


How To Make A Square Knot:


weaving knots - square knot

You will want 2 open ends of yarn.

Step 1: Twist yarn 1 around and under yarn 2.

Step 2: Bring yarn back over yarn 2 and up.

Step 3: Bring yarn 2 over yarn 1.

Step 4: Yarn 2 goes around and under yarn 1 (through the loop that was created.)

Step 5: Pull tight!


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.

There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!


Overhand Knot


The overhand knot is often used as a method to secure the fringe on the end of a scarf or rug.

Besides the square knot, this is probably the other most used knot on this list that you might use in other scenarios outside of weaving. While this one is very simple and well known – I figured it is still worth mentioning.

An overhand knot is useful in a lot of different scenarios – it is also how I tie the end of my grey thread when I am attaching it to a weaving and how I tie up my warp bundles at the back of my floor loom.

This knot also works well as a simple knot to secure fringe on a scarf or rug.

Learn more about fringe options here.


How To Make an Overhand Knot:


weaving knots - overhand knot

This can be done with any number of yarns.

Step 1: Create a loop with the end of your yarn(s) with the open end on top.

Step 2: Bring the open end of the yarn(s) around to the back and through the loop.

Step 3: Pull tight.



Lark’s Head


The lark’s head knot is not really a knot as much as a way to fasten yarn to something.

It is notable as a common way to attach your yarn to a dowel rod when starting up a new macrame wall hanging. Two common ways that it can be used in weaving are for 4 selvedge weaving and on your frame loom.

When you set up a loom for 4 selvedge weaving – the lark’s head knot is used around the bar to attach it to the frame. 

On a floor loom, this same knot is often used to attach the apron strings to the apron rod. It can also be used to attach the treadles to the lamms of certain floor looms. 

You can do the same thing around any object. In this step-by-step, I have done it around a tree branch.


How To Make A Lark’s Head Knot:


weaving knots - larks head

You will want 1 piece of yarn and something to attach it to.

Step 1: Fold your piece of yarn in half and lay it underneath your dowel rod, stick, or whatever you are attaching it too with the loop end up.

Step 2: Bring the open end of the yarn up, around, and through the loop above the stick.

Step 3: Pull the yarn all the way through the loop and position where you want it.

Step 4: Pull tight!


Embroidery weaving is a hybrid technique of embroidery and weaving! It is a fun and portable weaving technique that is perfect for beginner and advanced weavers alike. The Warped Fibers Embroidery Weaving Kit contains everything you need for at least 3 samples and a finished embroidery weaving. Plus, if you have never done this technique before – don’t worry! The kit also comes with a download that will walk you through the process.


Weaver’s Knot


The weaver’s knot is often used as a way to tie your new warp onto your existing warp.

This is a GREAT thing to do because it can cut down on your loom setup time.

If you are not a fan of the warping process and you already have some leftover warp/ loom waste still on your loom you can save yourself some time.

This is also a knot that you can use to attach 2 weft yarns together instead of dealing with tails.

That is not my preferred method, as a knot can be hard to hide – but it may be an option for you to try out. If you are using it for this technique then you will want to snip off the extra tails and trust the knot to do its job and hold it together.

Learn more about dealing with your weft tails here.


How To Make A Weaver’s Knot:



You will need 2 pieces of yarn.

Step 1: Yarn 1 should be straight and yarn 2 should be looped over at the end. Pull yarn 1 through the loop of yarn 2.

Step 2: Wrap yarn 1 under the longer part of yarn 2 at the base of the loop. It should go over the shorter part.

Step 3: Bring yarn 1 through the loop of yarn 2.

Step 4: Adjust yarn as necessary.

Step 5: Pull tight!




Half Bow


Just like the lark’s head knot, the half bow is used in both the 4 selvedge and floor loom process.

On a 4 selvedge weaving, you can use the half bow on the other end of the yarn that is using the lark’s head around the rod. The half bow will instead be around the frame.

On a floor loom, using a half bow is my favorite way to attach my warp to the apron rod.

This “knot” is ideal for this because it is both really strong and easy to undo.

Unlike the square knot that is hard to untie – the half bow comes off the rod easily. It is also stronger than a full bow because the size of the yarn around the loop is smaller and therefore holds tighter.


How To Make a Half Bow:

Pt. 1


weaving knots - half bow

You will need at least 1 piece of yarn and something to attach it to. In this case, I am using a frame and 1 piece of yarn that has been folded to have 2 ends. Your yarn will most likely be attached to a rod at the other end whether on a floor loom or warping 4 selvedge.

Step 1: Lay the yarn over your frame or rod with both ends together.

Step 2:  Next, bring your 2 ends around the frame and split them so there is one on each side.

Step 3: Bring 1 end over and around the other end (like the first step of the square knot.)

Step 4: Pull tight!


Pt. 2


weaving knots - half bow

Essentially, the second part of the half bow is just tying a bow (like you tie your shoes) and pulling out one of the loops.

Step 5: Create a loop with 1 end of the yarn.

Step 6: Wrap the other end of the yarn over and around the loop.

Step 7: Next, pull that same end through the other loop you created when you wrapped it around (this should now look like a bow.)

Step 8: Continue to pull that second end all the way through and tighten!

Knowing these weaving knots will help you out in a lot of different scenarios – both in and out of the studio!


Do you have a favorite weaving knot? One that I didn’t mention that you use all the time?

Let me know in the comments!


-Nicole


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The 3 Basic Weave Structures

The 3 Basic Weave Structures

There are so many different weave structures.

Like A LOT.

So I am not going to go over EVERY weave structure, but I am going to go over the basic three that every weaver should know!

These structures can actually play a big part in creating the basis for other weave structures that you will come across.

The basic three weave structures are plain weave, twill, and satin.

First, though, what do I mean by weaving structure?

The weaving structure is determined by how the warp and weft interact with each other. These different structures determine a lot of different aspects of the fabric including: how well it drapes, it’s strength, and the way it reflects light.

Beyond these main three patterns are many others that are built off of them. Think overshot, double weave, woven pile, manipulated laces and more. 


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The 3 basic weave structures


While most often, you would characterize twill and satin weave as types of pattern weave structures – technically speaking plain weave is also a pattern!

Just a really simple one

Not only are these three structures the basis for most weaving structures, but they are also the ones you are most likely to come across in the wild.

And of course by “in the wild” I mean the fabric making up your clothes and other common fabrics…

Obviously.


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.

There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!


The weave structure fraction


The first thing we need to talk about though is the structure fraction.

In order to understand how a fabric is woven it is often preceded by a fraction.

2/2 twill, 1/3 twill, and 7/1 satin are all examples of this.

The top number of your fraction denotes how many warps your weft is floating over and the bottom number is how many it goes under.


Plain weave


plain weave structure

This is the structure that most people think of when they think about weaving. It is also probably the first type of weaving that you ever did – as a kid with paper or while making potholders. 

You know what I’m talking about.

Plain weave, which is also called tabby, is simply weaving your weft over one warp and under one warp. The next line of weaving will then be the opposite in order to interlace your threads and create your fabric.

That is the whole pattern. 

Due to the simplicity of this pattern, the structure is the same on the front and back of the weaving. As long as it is not an image-based weaving it will look the same regardless of the side you are viewing.

The EPI that you choose for your weaving will help to determine if the plain weave is balanced or tapestry. Balanced weave is a plain weave pattern with a higher EPI so that you see equal amounts warp and weft (aka a balanced amount.)



Tapestry, on the other hand, is a little bit different.

While there is more to tapestry than the fact that it is plain weave – it is a big part. (make sure to click the link to read more about what makes tapestry tapestry as well as it’s history.)

The short answer is that tapestry is a weft-faced plain weave fabric that has discontinuous weft. You may be used to seeing tapestry as image-based wall hangings like The Unicorn Tapestries.

So how does plain weave behave?

Plain weave will be the most stable of the 3 structures because the warp and weft have the most contact with each other out of all of the weaving structures.

Plain weave is almost never preceded by a fraction, but if it was then it would be 1/1. Something to keep in mind: depending on the EPI, the gauge of your yarn, and the fiber content – plain weave has the potential to be the stiffest woven fabric. Especially if it is tapestry.


plain weave structure

Twill weave


twill weave structure

Twill is a weaving structure characterized by going over multiple warps and under multiple warps then shifting that pattern in the next shed. This creates a diagonal line across the surface of your weaving.

Depending on the size of the weft that you use it could actually create a tactile ridge on the surface or be almost purely visual.

The most common twill pattern is a 2/2 twill that can be pictured in the diagram above.

This means that your weft will go over 2 warps and under 2 warps all the way across your weaving. In the next line (pick) the pattern shifts over 1 warp and this continues with every line. The shift is what creates your diagonal pattern.

Twill is probably the second most common weave structure and one that I can ALMOST guarantee you see everyday and don’t even know it.

Denim.

Yep, denim is a twill weave structure!

Go ahead, take a look at your jeans and examine their structure.

Or just look at the pictures below.

Sometimes with denim, it is actually easier to see the pattern if you look at the underside. This is because denim is actually a warp-faced twill where the warp is normally dyed indigo and the weft is white. Of course, denim is not the only twill fabric, but it is definitely the most common.



Since twill contains floats (when a weft goes over more than one warp) it allows you to compress the weft more than you would on a plain weave fabric. With this denser weave, you get a durable fabric and with the floats you get a fabric that drapes better. This is what makes twill such a great choice for denim and other fabrics that need to be durable and easy to wear.

Using the twill pattern you can make many different variations.

Reverse twill, chevron, and herringbone are just 3.

You can create these patterns by changing the number of warps you float over and go under, changing directions, or skipping a line in the pattern.

What about tweed?

Tweed is often confused with twill because they have similar sounding names. Unlike twill, tweed is a fabric made in any weave structure with a rough wool yarn whereas twill could be made with any fiber. So you could have a twill tweed, but you could also have a plain weave tweed.


twill weave structure

Satin weave


satin weave structure

Satin is a weaving structure that is characterized by long warp floats that go under only 1 weft before continuing their pattern. That means that the structure fraction for satin will always have a 1 as the bottom number.

One of the most notable characteristics of satin is the sheen that it has!

The long warp floats let the light reflect off of the fabric creating a shiny surface. This does depend some on the type of fiber that is used to create the pattern, though. A wool satin weave just will not have quite the same luster as a silk satin weave.

This weave structure also drapes very well because there are less connections between the warp and weft. Unfortunately, this also means that it is prone to snagging. Therefore it is not a good choice for something you need to be durable.

Just like tweed is often confused for twill, silk and satin can be mixed up quite easily.

Silk is a fiber made from the cocoons of silk worms and satin is a weave structure.

You can have a silk satin which would be silk woven in a satin pattern, but you can also have polyester, nylon, and wool satins. This comes with the exception that cotton is almost always woven as a sateen and not a satin.

Sateen?!?

Yep! Another similar word to confuse you, but really it is pretty simple.

Beyond the cotton fiber content of sateen, you can also distinguish the 2 by the fact satin is warp-faced and sateen is weft-faced. Both of these will have long floats with a simple 1 point connection.




satin weave structure

Once you know about these 3 basic weave structures you will be better equipped to understand more complex patterns and structures.

Knowing what each structure is made for will help you better choose the one that you may need at any given weaving moment.


References


What I Wish I Knew When I Started Weaving

What I Wish I Knew When I Started Weaving

I’m pretty lucky that my weaving journey started in an academic setting. I learned how to weave as a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, which meant I was surrounded by those with common interests, an abundance of materials at my disposal, and a wealth of knowledge. This meant that I was a bit sheltered from what it was like to learn to weave as most people do (as you’re probably doing) – on your own. 

Just because I was able to get a degree in Craft/Material Studies with a concentration in Fibers, doesn’t necessarily mean I knew what I was getting myself into when I started! There are some things that I learned while I was in school and since I left that I wish I knew when I started weaving.

For the record – NONE of these things would have kept me from weaving or exploring fiber art, but I do think they are good to keep in mind for new weavers.

Also make sure to check out my post on what weaving can teach you!


Jump To:


Weaving Takes Time – Sometimes A Lot Of Time


I wish I knew when I started weaving - loom

I know that all art takes time and depending on the type of weaving that you are making, it might take more time than another. I promise that the first time you weave tapestry, you will be surprised at just how long it can take you to weave up only an inch of weaving! Especially if you have a lot of color changes or you are weaving an intricate design. This will take longer than a single continuous weft from selvedge to selvedge. Check out this post if you’re looking for tips to weave faster!

If you are weaving on a deadline, then keep this in mind! Weaving a sample might be a really great option to try to get an idea of how long your weaving will take.

Balanced weaving will take less time than tapestry, weaving on a floor loom may take less time than weaving on a frame loom, and taking your time can actually save you time. 

I’ll say that one again, just because it’s important.

Taking your time can actually save you time.

#weavinglifelessons


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.

There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!


Do not forget to account for set-up and finishing your weaving as well. Warping a floor loom is notorious for taking a lot of time and finishing your ends can be tedious, but set up and finishing are both essential parts of the weaving process. Just know that there are certain finishing techniques that take less time, it all just depends on what you want for your weaving.


Even Experienced Weavers Struggle With Selvedges


I wish I knew when I started weaving - selvedges

… and other aspects of weaving. I know that I have written blog posts about how to fix and/or avoid some of your weaving mistakes. That does not mean I always follow my own advice! I know firsthand how easy it can be to get caught up in the process, lose focus, and have my selvedges start to pull in or forget to weave in my weft tails. 

Learn how to get straighter selvedges here.

When you are looking at a finished weaving, sometimes it can be hard to understand how much went into the piece you are looking at that you can not really see.

What you do not see is every time the weaver got distracted by what they were watching on Netflix and pulled a little too hard on their weft.

You do not see all the times that they had to un-weave because they stepped on the wrong treadle and messed up their pattern.

Or maybe you do see those things, and they left them there on purpose.

Whether you see them or not though, I guarantee they happened.

It is important to remember that you will probably always have to pay attention to these things – even though it does get easier the longer you weave! Trust me – I still make plenty of mistakes, but as long as you can recognize and fix them then you will be fine.

Plus, mistakes make us better weavers (and people!) So embrace them, learn from them, and remember: we all make them!



Fiber Art Is Underappreciated


You do what

Yeah, I get that one sometimes.

When I first made the decision to study Craft and Textiles, even one of my professors from my previous school thought I was crazy. 

“You should study painting or sculpture.”

Suddenly those options were the safe choice. 

Fiber art is so often underrated and overlooked.

Yet it has an even stronger history than some of the other more popular art mediums.

You rarely even learn about textile history in school even though advancements in textiles directly led to the industrial revolution and other really important historical events.

Did you know that weavings tend to sell for less than other art of similar sizes and creation time? That was a really hard one for me, but luckily I did not become an artist to be rich.

Do not let this deter you if you love to weave, because you will find the right person to appreciate your art for what it is worth.

Learn about pricing your weavings and dealing with the haters here.

If you find yourself defending your choice to weave (or do anything really) just know that the only opinion that actually matters is yours. Fiber art is a fantastic choice with historical ties, practical uses, and the ability to create something incredibly beautiful and meaningful.


It Can Be Hard To Find Materials


I wish I knew when I started weaving - yarn

At least until you know where to look.

I wish that weaving yarn and tools were able to be purchased more places in person.

Maybe someday.

You might be lucky to have a local yarn store (LYS) near you that sells these weaving supplies, but if you are not then you will probably have to purchase them online.

There is nothing wrong with buying yarn online. It could even mean that you have access to more types of yarn and information about what you are buying. More options also means the ability to shop around for the best price! That being said, I am only a little jealous of those that can buy materials and not have to wait for shipping…

It also took a lot of looking around and researching to find the best places to buy online. That is why I put together an entire post about the best online stores you can order your yarn and other weaving supplies from.

You can also do a quick Google search in your area for local yarn stores. I was surprised when I moved across town that there was a LYS only 3 minutes from my house! They do not sell a lot of weaving yarns, but the knitting and crochet yarn they sell is beautiful! Maybe you can even convince them to order some yarn just for you.

Learn about the difference between weaving and knitting/ crochet yarns here.



I Wish I Knew More About Weaving


Yeah, I just wish I knew more.

This may seem like a silly one to include, because well obviously, but hear me out.

My first loom was a simple frame loom. From there I moved straight to an 8 harness jack-style floor loom.

These are my safe tools. The tools that I learned on and feel comfortable on. That does not make them bad! In fact, they really truly are some of my favorites! It just means that they are not the only option.

Until I branched out after leaving the safety of the University setting – I was not that interested in trying out other options.

I did not know anything about other types of frame looms or styles of floor looms. I had never even woven on a rigid heddle loom before, but I did not feel like I needed to. The same goes for different types of tapestry beaters and other tools.

(I actually really love my rigid heddle loom now! Read my review on the Schacht Flip Folding Rigid Heddle Loom)

I learned that you can make almost any loom weave what you want it to. Despite that, it does not mean that it is the easiest thing to do. Exploring these other options allowed me to more easily experiment and find new ways to fall in love with weaving all over again.

There is such a thing as the right tool for the job – and such a thing as making the tool you have work. 

You may have your own safe tools and there is nothing wrong with that.

Branching out and learning new tools and techniques, though, can be a great way to move forward as a weaver and an artist. I recommend starting a collection of weaving books and of course reading this blog every week!


I wish I knew when I started weaving - tools

There will always be something you do not know and that is ok! In fact, that is probably why you are here. So whether you are a new or experienced weaver, just know that there is always another step that can inspire you and move you forward.

Is there one thing that you wish you knew when you first started weaving? Let me know!


What Weaving Can Teach You – Life Lessons

What Weaving Can Teach You – Life Lessons

Most of you are probably here because you want to learn to weave, but have you ever thought about what weaving can teach you

Weaving requires not only learning the techniques but also appreciating it for what it is. It is so much more than just how to interact with your warp and weft.

There are things that you can do to bypass some of these things, but for the most part, they are a part of weaving no matter what.

And to be honest, you will learn these whether you like it or not.

That makes them sound bad.

They are not bad – I promise!

In fact, the things that weaving can teach you can be used in other parts of your art practice and your life.

I like to call these #weavinglifelessons.

Weaving is an adventure that starts with a spark of interest and never really ends. Along the way, you may start to realize that as you learn how to weave, you learn so much more.

This would not be the first time I have mentioned #weavinglifelessons. It is amazing how this art practice can teach you so much about yourself.

You didn’t know that weaving would change your life, did you?



Table of Contents


Patience


linen yarn weaving life lessons

If you have been weaving for any amount of time (or you read what I wish I knew before I started weaving post) then you know that weaving is pretty… slow.

It is not an “I have this idea and I want to get it out as quickly as possible” artform.

It also is not a source of instant gratification.

So what I’m trying to say is:


weaving takes time

Especially if you are weaving detailed tapestry, then your entire weaving will probably take longer than you think it will. 

Here is the thing though, it will be worth it.

All that time it takes you to weave up each shape, image, or pattern – once it comes together – it will be worth it.

You just have to have a little bit of patience to get that far. If there is anything that can teach you patience is a technique with such a big payout. 

If I am being honest – I am a generally impatient person. Weaving helps me to really appreciate the process, though. Since you can literally see it growing with each row of weft that is added, this definitely helps.



Here is a bonus tip: step back from your weaving on occasion. This is related to patience but takes it a step further. Sometimes it can be hard to see just how much progress you have made when you are so close. It takes stepping back and seeing the entire weaving from a different perspective to understand and appreciate your progress.

Do this in life too. Sometimes we are too close to something to understand how it is coming together. Step back to see the bigger picture.


Decision making / Problem solving


wool yarn what weaving can teach you

If you have read through my Weaving Shapes e-book then you know that one of the biggest parts of weaving shapes (or weaving in general) is making decisions.

I strongly believe that you can weave one thing one day, and the same thing another day and have it turn out differently. 

Actually, try that out! That is a fun project idea.

Since we are all affected by our lives and our surroundings. Different days produce different results.



When you are weaving something (specifically imagery) you have to decide how to make it work on a grid. Depending on what you are weaving, this could be simple or hard. You have to problem-solve in order to make the smoothest curves and most precise shapes that you can.

Each day you may weave a little differently, though.

One day you may beat a little harder which makes you add an extra weft or two. This will change your weaving. While you can try your best to weave the same every day – we are all human.

These little shifts in our day-to-day weaving are a part of what it means to weave by hand. It is what really makes it stand apart from that which is woven by machine.

Each time that you place a weft you are making a decision.

Learning how to weave and the problem-solving that it involves can be translated to your life. Sometimes you just have to make the decision to move forward and if it does not work out? No worries, fix it and try again.

If you sit and ponder about how to weave what you want to weave for too long, you will never actually get anywhere.


Forgiveness (yourself)


linen yarn weaving lessons

Sometimes things do not turn out exactly as you want. You did not weave enough wefts, it does not quite match your image, or anything in between. 

This is fine.

Weaving is an easy medium to fix. That is one of the reasons I like it so much. It is not like ceramics where if you drop it it will break or if you do not knead it well enough it will have bubbles and explode (can you tell I have not had the best experience with pottery…?)

If something does not work out then you will either have to un-weave it or live with it.

It helps to forgive yourself and not worry too much about the extra time spent (patience) or the change in your plans. Perhaps this situation taught you something, or maybe it just means that you get to spend some extra time weaving. Either way, no matter how careful you are, at some point you will have to fix something.

Even when you become an “expert” you will make mistakes. You will probably just make different mistakes.

So do not fret. It happens to all of us.

You learn to not spend too much time getting worried that it did not work out. Instead – you fix it, learn from it, and keep going. 

In the meantime, you can check out my post on the 5 most common new weaver mistakes.


Taking your time saves time


mercerized cotton yarn learn from weaving

Slow and steady wins the race.

Measure twice, cut once.

We have all heard these before, but weaving can really make them make sense.

It can be so tempting and so easy to speed forward and try to get to “the good stuff” aka the weaving, but that is not always almost never the best policy.

Sometimes you may not even be doing it on purpose as a means to get to the finish line and instead you are just getting lost in the process. This is incredibly easy to do, and arguably the ability to get lost in the process is one of the best things about weaving. Who doesn’t want to get lost in their artwork?

With all that, though, paying just a little more attention to your process will save you a lot of time in the long run. Taking your time to set up means you do not have to undo any mistakes. Not only does this save you time, but it can also save you some sanity.

Trust me, it is incredibly annoying to finish warping your loom only to notice you made a mistake at the very beginning! If you took a second to double-check your work then you would not have to waste time undoing and redoing the whole thing.

While I firmly believe that making mistakes is how you learn best, avoiding mistakes and knowing how to avoid mistakes also helps you learn.

Speeding through the process is not only not a good idea because you are bound to make mistakes, but because you are bound to miss the things about weaving that make it so amazing.

Take the time to really enjoy the process, because if you do not enjoy the process then what is the point?


Do you have a favorite thing that weaving has taught you? Let me know in the comments below!


-Nicole

Like the yarn in the photos?


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