Zoom to Satins and False Satins

Marcy Petrini

April, 2021


When the pandemic lock-down took place, I was in the middle of teaching an in-person twill class at the Craft Center. At first, we were on hold, but as the pandemic continued, I was reminded of how much I missed teaching.

Enter zoom: I had read pros and cons of using it and how some things can only be taught in person. Maybe. We finished the twill class with successful projects and we embarked in a lacey weave class for the rest of 2020, again with successful projects. Using e-mails, phone calls and sending photos all helped. Well, we can’t touch the fiber or finished project, that’s true, but that’s also true for books, magazines, and the rest of the internet.

Talks, seminars, an interview, and now a study group on zoom all followed. In some ways it’s magical. I meet with people from all over the country; I have given seminars in the US as well to a wonderful guild in Canada; more seminars are scheduled – all from the comfort of my studio.

And even more important, my learning continues, not only from my own researching to teach and present, but also from students and participants. In the diverse group that comprises our study group, the breadth of knowledge is impressive.

For the study group month on satins and false satins I was reminded that sometimes I have forgotten to tell weavers that we cannot just duplicate the reverse of the tie-up to alternate the treadling between sateen (weft-dominant side) and satin (warp-dominant side). (See May and June 2017 blogs).

Let’s look at a 5-shaft satin:



The 5-shaft satin should have floats over 4 threads. In the drawdown above, at the joints between satin and sateen, the floats are longer, 5 threads.

This problem occurs regardless of the number of shafts used and also for false satins, shown below, where the float length should be 3 threads, but it’s 4 at the joints.



When we have blocks, whether of false satin as shown below, or true satin, the longer floats appear in both directions.



This may not be very obvious in the fabric, but it does break the rule of the satins and false satins, so it is worth to find an alternative.

Recently, I have been showing a way around the floats which is not standard. It is to stagger or offset the second section of the tie-up from the first. Here is an example for the 5-shft satin where the tie-up for the satin is offset from the sateen tie-up by one shaft:



This actually works as the floats in the above example are never more than 4-threads long. However, there is a much better and elegant solution: using the mirror image.

I learned about mirror images from books by Doramay Keasbey, but I had totally forgotten about it until Debbie Cummings came to the rescue! In researching satins, she found this true-and-tried method. It works for satins and false satins, for switching from sateen to satin and for blocks.

Below is the drawdown for the sateen and satin treadling for a 5-shaft satin.



The drawdown for the mirrored false satin for the two treadlings is below:



When weaving false satin blocks, all quadrants of the tie-up are mirrored as shown in the drawdown below:



Once we are comfortable with the concept of satins and false satins, it is actually easier to weave them by threading a straight draw and using the satin rules for the tie-up, mirrored for the sateen and the satin. This is shown in the drawdown below.


I am grateful for the opportunity that Zoom offers to carry on the teaching – and the learning.


Happy Weaving!