A Wonder Year of Weaving - An Assessment with Answers

Marcy Petrini

June, 2021

Last month for the May 2021 blog, I posed a set of 8 questions that the study group I am leading used as a review of the first 4 months.

For these months, here are the answers. If you haven’t looked at the questions yet, you can do that now (in the May Blog, click here) and then check how well you know Emery’s “simple weave.”

Here are the 8 questions, 2 per month, that I posed to the group. The instructions are to try to answer as many as possible from knowledge, but then to look up what they don’t know, have forgotten or need to check.

How well did you answer these questions?

1.  What is the difference between tabby and plain weave?

Plain weave is a fabric with the most interlacements which range from warp to weft faced.



Tabby is a perfectly balanced plain weave, 50% warp, 50% weft on both sides of the fabric, wpi = ppi. For a given yarn, the wpi is not fixed; we would sett the tabby ground for an overshot more openly than for a plain weave tabby cloth.



2.  How would you adjust the warp sett to weave a weft-faced fabric?

To cover the warp and produce a weft-faced fabric, we open the sett to as low as 5 epi, depending on the size of the weft.




3.  What is the best option for nice selvages on a straight twill woven as a straight draw?


Enter the shuttle on the side of the warp where the first thread is down. Every warp thread on both sides will be caught. If you forget this and you don’t catch the warp ends on both sides, reverse the entering side of the shuttle. This expects the threading to start at shaft 1 and be complete (end on an even shed).

No floating selvages are needed!



Here is how to tell on paper:

The figure below shows that when entering the shuttle from the right, there is no warp to catch the weft at the other end.



This figure below shows that when entering the shuttle from the left, there is a warp to catch with each shot.



4.  What is the most efficient way to tie-up a 6-treadle, 4 shaft loom for a pointed twill to be woven tromp as writ?

There is not an absolute answer to this, it does depend on the ergonomics related to the loom and your preferences, but you should always disconnect treadles that are not in use to minimize errors.

Here are two possible ways for the tie-up.

The standard way is shown in blue below (only 4 treadles in use, two are disconnected, generally one on the right, one on the left). The aqua section shows what happens if you forget the location of your repeat. You just wove 3 & 4 – what’s next, 1 & 4 or 2 & 3?



The second way to tie-up is what I prefer shown in the pink drawdown below. I use the extra 2 treadles to double tie for 4 & 3 and for 2 & 3 which are used twice. Then the treadling is across the 6 treadles.



Let’s take a detour. In the drawdowns, which of course are identical, the pattern starts in the middle of the repeat. Patterns are written for convenience, but they are not necessarily how we want to weave them.



Compare the original pink drawdown on the left with the green drawdown on the right. The pattern is the same, but the threading has been adjusted so that the repeat starts with the beginning of the pattern.

Does this pattern needs floating selvages? Yes! No matter where we start, the weft won’t be caught at the selvages.



5.  What is the most important difference between twills and satins?

Using Emery’s classification, twills are defined as progressive successions of floats in diagonal alignment (pink weft).

Satins are intermittent progressions of floats and suppression of the appearance of diagonals (yellow weft). The apparent diagonal is not formed by adjacent threads.



6.  How would you weave plain weave across the width of a 7-shaft satin fabric?

The straight draw in the drawdown below is a 7-shaft satin.



To weave plain weave, we need to activate two sets of alternating threads in succession.

The pink threads in the threading below show that it is not possible to alternate. No plain weave across the fabric is possible.



This method works with any threading.

But the original question asked “How would you weave plain weave across the width of a 7-shaft fabric?

It depends on the fabric. First example is huck:

Huck has blocks that alternate shafts 1 and 2 as the delimiter. It is possible to weave a 7-shaft huck, but block using shaft 1 must alternate with those using shaft 2.

Below is one example: block E (2, 7) is followed by block D (1, 6).

Plain weave is woven 2 & 4 & 6 vs. 1 & 3 & 5 & 7.



The next example is Bronson Lace, drawdown below.

In Bronson Lace every block uses shaft 1, which alternates with other shafts depending on the block.

Plain weave across the fabric then will be 1 vs. all other shafts.

In this case 1 vs. 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7.



Below is an example of summer and winter, a tied weave.

The tied weaves have various shafts for ties and the rest of the shafts for blocks.

Ties vs. shafts in  many cases form plain weave for the ground.

Our summer & winter uses shafts 1 & 2 for ties and, in this example shafts 3-7 for blocks, one shaft per block;

S & W plain weave is 1 & 2 vs. 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7.



7.  What is the difference between Huck and Huck Lace?

In huck (blue & pink weft in the drawdown below) when one block weaves floats, the other weaves plain weave.

In huck lace (yellow weft), one block weaves weft floats, the other warp floats.

With more than 4 shafts, the two are often combined.




8.  Why is the unique difference between Huck and Bronson? (Bronson-Atwater)

In Bronson lace (the drawdown below) blocks can be combined, no matter the number of shafts.



On 4 shafts, in huck (the drawdown below) blocks cannot be combined with the same float (huck lace combines weft and warp floats as we saw above).

In huck with more than 4 shafts, blocks with the same tie-down thread can be combined.



I hope this exercise helped you in the understanding of these structures.

Happy Weaving!