Shadow weave question

I am trying a shadow weave for the first time.  I know there are two shuttles used.  I had initially thought that both shuttles would start on the same side first use one, change the shed, then use the other.   However, if that is correct, then what do I do with the selvedge?  I usually go under from one side and over from the other.   Do I go (for example) under with the first pick from the left, and then under with the second pick?  Or should I start each from opposite sides?   Thanks in advance for your help.


Posted on Sun, 12/20/2009 - 13:47

Hi Tom,

Both shuttles may start on either side, they do not go in the same shed so it doesn't matter how you treat a floating selvedge.  If both were going in the same shed you would need to reverse the way you approach the selvedge. Check your draft and you will see what I mean.  In shadow weave, like log cabin, you are alternating colors and sheds each time. Here's an example of a shadow weave draft for you to see what I'm trying to explain:

The color bar is the top bar and you can see it alternates blue and white to create the pattern for shadow weave.

Hope this helps.


Posted on Mon, 12/21/2009 - 13:18

No problem Tom. I hope you are ready to pay the price for this advice. Nothing is ever free you know. <g> The cost is a picture of your weaving, during and after. So, pay up! Oh, please.

Shadow weave is one of my favorite structures. I have done tons of items with it. The only problem I have, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have a threading error. I missed one completely until the end of my piece last time I wove a scarf usinga shadow weave pattern. The pattern was pretty busy but one day I put on the light over my weaving and just as I was about to sit down at the loom, it caught my eye that something was off. I tracked it down but decided to leave it because the entire scarf was almost done.

Just a word of caution. Look carefully at the pattern when you start. It's easy to miss threading errors in shadow weave.

Happy weaving,


Posted on Mon, 12/21/2009 - 21:46

Well, here is the first payment for the advise.   I do see an error and have good and bad feelings about it.   The good news is I threaded it exactly as I wrote it.  No mistakes.   The bad news is, I had a "2" instead of a "3" in the sequence.  Since the pattern is repeated four times, I have four errors to correct.  I don't mind undoing what I have done.  It won't be the first time!

You can probably see the error in the photo. 

Posted on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 00:13

The project is finished and while there were some bumps along the way (lessons learned) this is the finished product.

Not the greatest picture, taken with a flash, but....   

Posted on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 01:26

Hi Tom,

You did a lovely job. I look forward to seeing it in your project notebook. I am curious to take a look at the draft.
I know it's a shadow weave but it looks like an undulating twill as well. Can it be both at the same time?
What distinguishes one from the other? I need to go do a little reading about both weave structures.
I think I found my New Year's resolution: learn more about weave structures.

Nice work, thanks for sharing it with all of us.


Posted on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 04:49

Claudia, one of the fun things about weaving is that I can decide on the design that I want and how big it should be. Then I create a draft to express that design in the weave structure that is best for my chosen project. An undulating design can be woven in any structure, especially if you have at least three blocks. The photo shows an undulating design in shadow weave. The design is an undulating line and the structure is shadow weave. It is not a twill. Shadow weave is mostly plain weave with a color-and-weave effect.

Bonnie Inouye

Posted on Thu, 01/28/2010 - 14:42

How come no one's comment on this page has an avatar? I have one and I know that Claudia does................

EDIT: Problem fixed

Posted on Thu, 01/28/2010 - 04:35

Mary, the two-shaft version of shadow weave is called Log Cabin in the USA and Canada.  I wonder if it has a different name in Europe?  You alternate dark/light warp threads for a while, then switch to light/dark alternating, switching back when you like. The weft also alternates dark and light for a while, etc. There are many examples in weaving books. The results are small horizontal lines in some parts of the cloth and small vertical lines in other parts. Search on "log cabin" to see if we already have some examples in the Projects area.

Bonnie Inouye

Posted on Thu, 01/28/2010 - 13:53

Thanks Bonnie!

 I have done Log Cabin and if you use a tabby you can change the color of the warp so a pattern can be created with it.  Guess if I want to do a more complicated weave I'll have to get a different loom.  I've been toying with the idea of a tapestry loom since I could get something in a smaller size that would fit into my living space:)  Starting to do some research on them.

I love the info you can get on Weavolution!!!

Posted on Thu, 01/28/2010 - 16:38


Here in Germany we call Log Cabin " Leinwandgewebe mit Farbeffekt" wich means something like "tabby weaving with colour effect". There is no other special term for it.

And checking our Weaving terms glossary, that you will find at the Language weaving forum

or following that link:

I saw that the danish people do desribe the technique as the Germans do. They call it:

lærred med farveeffekt.



Posted on Fri, 01/29/2010 - 05:05

Thank you, Kristina. I noticed that there is a photograph of a log cabin piece in the Projects folder, added quite recently.

I guess Leinwandgewebe means plain weave.  Gewebe is the "weave" part. What does Leinwand mean, please? I spent a few months in Austria in 1978 and learned a little German, so I know that Farb is color and effekt is effect.

I will look at the spreadsheet to learn more.

Bonnie I

Posted on Fri, 01/29/2010 - 05:33

 Leinwand gewebe or Lelinwandbindung are both German names for plain weave or tabby. Since the vast majority of linen fabric was plain weave for household purposes, "linenweave" became synonymous with plain weave.


Posted on Fri, 01/29/2010 - 19:52

Log Cabin is great fun to play with color as well.....below is a piece a student wove in one of my Rayon Chenille workshops...

              Student scarf from Rayon Chenille workshop in New Mexico    This students warp colors were chosen for her, but the weft is entirely her

choice.  I think the scarf came out very pretty! 

Posted on Fri, 01/29/2010 - 21:28

HI Mary....the warp was rayon chenille, sett at 16 epi.  The loom the student used was a 4 shaft loom, but this could just as well

have been wvoven on a two shaft loom.  Thread 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2 and determine the size of your blocks by the color order:

Block A:  Dark-light-dark-light

Block B: Light-dark-light-dark

Weave in plain weave using the color order from the two blocks above.....weave block A for a while with D-L-D-L then switch to

Block B weaving L-D-L-D

NOTE in the threading and the trealding whenever you change a block you have either two dark threads or two light threads

adjacent to one another.    That creates the color and weave effect that makes the patterning in this scarf.  As long as your dark

thread is Dark, it can be any color (hue) long as your light thread is light, it can be any color (hue).  High dark/light

contrast is what makes Log Cabin sing.....subtle designs can be woven as well with very nice effect, like Ellen's scarf in post #18


Su :-)


Posted on Fri, 01/29/2010 - 21:35

Hi Su,

Is the draft that Claudia put in post # 2 a variation of ''classic'' log cabin? or does log cabin fit into some larger category of ''shadow weaves''?

Laverne-just trying to get the names sorted out



Posted on Fri, 01/29/2010 - 23:17

HI Laverne......Log Cabin is just  American name for the 2 shaft color and weave effect cloth woven of two "blocks" of dark and light threads interlaced with two "blocks" of dark and light threads in plain weave order.  It could be referred to as the simplest of color and weave effect weaves, I suppose. 

A structural draft for Log Cabin is simply plain weave.  It can be woven on as few as two shafts.  The trealding for Log Cabin is also plain weave.  Two treadles or two shed are all that are needed.  The design element in Log Cabin is the color order.  You have two "blocks".....not structural blocks but design blocks.  One will be threaded Dark-light-dark-light and the other Light-dark-light-dark.  These threading and treadling design "blocks" can be any size you like as they are structually plain weave. 

The draft in Claudia's post is a Shadow Weave, also considered a color and weave effect weave, but not Log Cabin......Shadow weave is usually set up in some kind of twill progression, but is not woven as a twill, rather as a plain weave with occasional two thread floats.  The alternating colors create the "shadow" effect in the mostly plain weave sturcutre.  Log Cabin only creates a motis of horizontal lines and vertical lines. Because Shadow Weave is set up in twill progression, more patterning is possible.  Claudia's draft is set up on a straight twill progression with alternating colors of dark and light that change order with each pattern design "block".  Perhaps an easier way to understand shadow weave is as a parallel theading - one twill parallels another in the threading draft. 

Sorry, I'm in a  hurry.......Hope that helps clarify.....

Su :-)

Posted on Fri, 01/29/2010 - 23:33

Wow, I appreciate your taking the time for such a detailed response. I was just confused as this thread started off as shadow weave and then somehow got diverted to log cabin and so I was trying to figure the connection.

Thanks Su,


Posted on Sat, 01/30/2010 - 01:20

Hi Su,

Since I am self taught by experimenting on my loom my weaving language is minimal.  There are a few things I've done without knowing what they are called and I guess one of them is "Log Cabin".  Here is a picture of something I took off of my loom about a year ago.


The green is plain weave and the pink is log cabin?

Sorry for redirecting this thread, I really was impressed with the shadow weave it started with!

Mary C 

Posted on Sat, 01/30/2010 - 02:32

Hey, don't worry about redirecting the thread. We are  learning heaps here and are lucky to have such patient and generous experts about who are willing to explain things to us.

Posted on Sat, 01/30/2010 - 12:59

hi ,i have a sample from weaving class years ago: it is plaine weave and we used  to call it  "schijnpatroon" what would

translate as "fake pattern"; would that be the color and weave effect ?

the dots are the warptreads that come up;(teacher told us to do so for easy drawing,we made copies of the blancs and then played with color to create a pattern we liked


woven sample

all the different names in different languages lead sometimes to confusion. i would like to know if we are talking about the same?

kind regards


Posted on Sat, 01/30/2010 - 19:50

Mary.....your weaving looks more like Open REP to me ....and the pic on the right is definitely NOT Log Cabin....

Below are the Open REP drafts I made from your image - first the color draft, then the structural draft:

Green cloth color           




Greyish cloth draft



Grey cloth structure



It appears, from what I can see that you used one weft in the green cloth and a thick and thin weft in the greyish cloth.  You may

or may not have use these precise drafts, but the end result is still an open REP weave where the weft color shows a bit

in the final cloth.  Rep is not  a color and weave effect weave.  Blocks are theaded in specific color order to achieve the

patterning desired.  Each block in rep can show two faces - pattern or background and blocks can be all one color or more......

the use of thick and thin wefts allows changes in color within each block.  A single thickness weft will produce only both

possibilities in each block all the time.  You said you wove the green sample in plain weave, and the draft shows that is

entirely possible.  The greyish sample is not structurally plain weave.  Where the blocks change, there is a two thread float. 

Color and weave effect weaves do not look like the strcutre they are woven in.  As Jeannine points out, they are a kind of "fake

pattern".....caused by the color order of the threads.    Below is a Log Cabin draft in color, follwed by the structural draft.

Log cabin draft in color:


Log Cabin structure:



 Hope this helps claify!!

Su :-)



Posted on Sat, 01/30/2010 - 20:27

 This discussion about shadow weave and log cabin weave is pointing out a very important point--design vs. structure.  Su is addressing this quite well and I won't add to that.  However, I will say that once I learned the difference between the two--how they can sometimes relate and be dependent upon one another (design determined by the structure), yet how they can be visually different (design determined by color selection in warp or weft or warp AND weft)--it enhanced my ability to use the these as tools for weaving.

Madelyn van der Hoogt's book The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers is a very helpful guide to understanding the "skeleton" of weaving (as I like to think of structure).  The skeleton may be fleshed out in many ways and wear calm or flashy clothes as its design--yet it all still has to be supported by that skeleton!

Tommye Scanlin


Posted on Sun, 01/31/2010 - 22:42

HI Tommye......I agree it is very important to learn the difference between pattern, structure and motif or design......once you understand

how weaving works, you can create your own patterns and designs within the framework of the structures you like.......

Somewhere floating about on the net is a study group outline for using Madelyn's book for a study group to learn the various

structures...I would encourage all new weavers to take the time to study that book and others so they can fill their

weaving toolbox with knowledge that will allow them to express their creative selves.....

Su :-)

Posted on Mon, 02/01/2010 - 04:29

I really like this discussion. All of it is going onto the back burner of my brain where it'll stew until it's ready to be worked on.

Thank you for explaining.

Have a good day!

Franco Rios

Posted on Tue, 02/23/2010 - 21:57

I really like Margaret Windeknecht's books, "Color-and-Weave" and "Color-and-Weave II" and what I learned is that shadow weave and log cabin belong under the larger category of color-and-weave.  This larger category is often referred to as color-and-weave effects because it's how light and dark colors are placed next to one another that create the effects and therefore many weaves of different structures are under this category.  So, you could say that log cabin and shadow weave are mostly plain weave structures with color-and-weave effects. 

I wrote about my experience with "Shadow Weave and Log Cabin"  in the June '08 issue of the Complex Weavers Journal.  I also describe some of my color-and-weave experiments on my blog.  What I love the most about shadow weave is that you can create a plain weave cloth with incredible patterns.

Eva :)


Posted on Tue, 02/23/2010 - 22:25

Eva, what do you love about a plain weave cloth? I am curious. You can weave any design you want in any structure that you choose, as large as you want, pretty much. But it is not obvious how to make a design when your desired structure is plain weave. 

I can think of two reasons to choosing plain weave and the main structure.

1. It is the thinnest cloth you can make from any given warp and weft yarn, so you choose it when you want a thinner cloth.

2. It has very short floats. Shadow weave includes some 2-thread floats but those are still very small.

Other reasons? 

I knew Margaret Windeknecht and I miss her.  She was super intelligent and also very thoughtful and very well organized. I took a seminar from her at my first Convergence in 1984 and I bought my first weaving software from her that year on a floppy disk, the large size.  She and her husband developed software for their Apple II computer in order to study color-and-weave effects for those books.  


Posted on Wed, 02/24/2010 - 14:10


I hate to change the thread yet again.. but the drafts you have attached are beautiful.  What computer program did you use to generate them?  I have a Mac and am interested in purchasing a program to help with designing weave structures.  I recently downloaded a trial version of CrossOver to change the PC version to Mac and FiberWorks Bronze.  It worked well... but I'm wondering if now that I've figured out how to use PC software on my Mac (thanks for Syne at WeaveZine!) I should try something else. 


Posted on Wed, 02/24/2010 - 14:36

HI Suzy.....I use Fiberworks PCW Silver 4.1 for my weave drafting.  I like the intuitive nature of the program and it serves my purposes well.  That said, you should check out all the different software and see which works best for you.  If you go to Judie Eatough's website at   you can check out all the different software available and decide which will work for you.  As far as I I know Fiberworks is only available for PC platform.  I know several people who run it on Macs with PC emulator software. 

Su :-)

Posted on Wed, 02/24/2010 - 14:50

Thanks for that explanation Eva!

Shadow weave is going to be the next balanced weave I do on my backstrap loom but I am agonizing a bit over the colors. I can get a lot of colors here in my 35wpi cotton but not tones of the same color so I guess I have to go with a strong contrast.


Posted on Wed, 02/24/2010 - 15:50

I did my first shadow weave in a fuzzy acrylic knitting yarn, light grey and a variegated blues/greys/tans of the same value.  This was, needless to say, not a good choice!  All evidence of the intricate (and difficult) pattern disappeared.

For your first venture into shadow weave using a strong contrast in a smooth yarn is a good idea.  If you have a light and dark in both warp and weft,  the colors don't need to be the same as long as the values of the lights and values of the darks are similar.  For example, peach and royal purple in the warp and golden yellow with royal blue in the weft would be fine.  Sarah Fortin is doing some beautiful, complex color work with shadow weave.

Laurie Autio

Posted on Wed, 02/24/2010 - 17:50

Bonnie, I like all weaving structures but since you asked why I like plain weave, I suppose it's because it is such a basic, simple and yet beautiful structure.  It's the same reason why I love a circle or a square.  It's fascinating that you can make a simple structure appear complex without changing the structure itself.  I'm not a great pro about weaving structures and I don't always start out designing something in an orderly and logical manner.  These days I start with inspiration and curiosity and take it from there.    

Laverne,  take Laurie's advice!  I would just add that you need even more contrast when you start using finer yarns because the colors will appear to blend even more from close up and the pattern is harder to see.   I have some samples I did with very fine yarns where contrasting colors ended up looking gray or muddy.

Eva :)


Posted on Fri, 04/02/2010 - 20:39

This is where I am with the shadow weave for now...

This tiny sample woven with string heddles and an RH spacer on my backstrap loom and then made into this (just so it wouldn't go to waste!)...

and I have decided I really like this weave after having seen a couple more examples-one on curiousweaver blog and the other here by Claudia and I want to try it now with 4 colors as was suggested here in this thread.

What I would like to do is start collecting shadow weave drafts so if anyone has any that they would like to share here, that would be great.

I think I got the draft for my sample from Arizona archives.



Posted on Fri, 04/02/2010 - 23:11

I use proweave, it doesn't really think the way I do, but I can usually get it to work and it does have some handy features (like a huge twill database for example and blockweave substitutions)-- and it runs on a mac w/o emulator software.