Bumberet Family

Marcy Petrini

August 2019

My friend Gio Chinchar gave me one of her beautiful towels as a present and she said it was woven as a bumberet – bumberet, where did I come across that structure before?

As it turned out, there had been an article by Alice Schlein (Weavers 14: 10-13, 1991) that covered four structures that use the same pointed twill threading, but have different treadlings: bumberet, velveret, thickset, and ducape. It had been flagged in my magazine as something to try. More recently Madelyn Van der Hoogt (Handwoven Jan/Feb 2017, 14-15) described the first three of these structures, all of which originally came from Weaver John Hargrove who published 52 weaves in 1792 in The Weavers Draft Book and Clothiers Assistant (available for download from handweaving.net).

I had woven a vest in velveret a long time ago, (before Alice’s article) not really understanding much about the structure and thought that, from the name, it may be related to velvet. No, as a linguist may say, “false friends”, not related.

Since the threading is that of a pointed twill, it makes me think of the structures as treadling methods; interestingly, they are woven in blocks: 2-1-2 and 3-4-3.

Finally, I got to the weaving. Below is the drawdown showing all four possibilities. The first 6 threading repeats (starting from the right) are in four colors, to match the warp of the first three samples; the reason for this choice will become apparent soon. The next 5 threading repeats are in two colors, red and purple.

The treadling colors match the samples below (rising shed loom): the bumberet is treadled in red, thickset in green, the velveret in blue, and the ducape in purple and blue. I have shown the treadling for ducape to be single in the purple section, in parallel to the other structures, but Alice shows it double, which is in blue in the drawdown, only one repeat.

From the drawdown we can see that it is not possible to weave all four structures on a 6-treadle loom, except with a direct tie-up.

The bumberet is the only structure that is balanced, two shafts are up and two down with every pick. The others all have some unbalanced picks which tend to make the weft pack, the fabric weft-dominant on one side and warp-dominant on the other, resulting in a sturdy cloth. Bumberet, thickset and ducape alternate treadling shots of plain weave; velveret uses on opposite treadling (1 & 2; 3 & 4).


Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)


Below are the photos of the fabrics, the left shows the front, the right the back, rising shed loom.

Bumberet with four color warp and red weft:



Thickset, also with the four color warp, and green weft:



Velveret with the four warp colors and blue weft:



Ducape with red and purple warp, and purple weft, single repeat




Ducape with red and purple warp and blue weft, double repeat:





 While I was studying these structures, I was intrigued by the little boxes that were formed in some cases, and I wondered whether I could make the boxes to be the same on both blocks at the same time. I experimented with the bumberet draft because I thought a balanced weave would be easier to change for boxes. The drawdown is below.

I thought I could use the draft to make a runner to match a bowl for a side table, so I picked the colors from the bowl, shown in the drawdown and fabric below, front on the left, back on the right; you can see that the two sides look the same.



 Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)






Use a structure from the bumberet family for one of your future projects!

The four structures are in the Pictionary individually.

 Happy weaving!

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