Let's use this tgread to discuss our goals.

Does 1 chapter per month sound feasible? How many samples per chapter do you think you will weave? Is there anything else we should discuss before we get started?




I really would not know. I am such a newbie (new to Weavolution, new to spinning, new to online groups and chats, new to my xmas present table loom, new to a structured study - and not a hmm, I wonder what would happen if... approach), I will be stumbling around for a while.

I guess, as long as we (I) stick to samples and not large projects, we (I)can manage the one chapter a month goal. It does mean a whole year's worth of instruction and sampling. We are bound to learn quite a bit.

And how about fibres? Should we stick to one type or should we use, say, 3 different fibres throughout -for example, samples in wool, cotton and silk for each chapter?


I read parts of this book last year, and found there was so much useful information.  I also thought that working through it would give me so much more weaving experience.  I love it that you've been thinking along the same line.

For the past week, I've been weaving at least 10-minute per day.  Some days I only have 10 minutes, but other days have stretched to hours.  My kitchen remodel is finally done and I am starting to move my looms and supplies into a newly painted and furnished room that also has lots of light. 

I think 1 chapter a month is good, though it might be tough.  However, if it were 1 chapter every 2 months, that might let us procrastinate.  Hmmmm. 

Thanks Erica, for starting this!


I think one chapter a month is good. I think each weaver needs to decide what fibers she/he is going to use for each chapter. Part of the issue will be what loom(s) each has and how often each can put a warp on. Also, how much of a stash each of us has.  I think I want more than one warp for plain weave.

JennieHawkey (not verified)

One chapter a month sounds good to me, too. Do we also want to do a voluntary swatch exchange?




I agree that we need to decide this - as it affects warp lengths, etc.  I could go either way.


Sounds really reasonable to me.  I will be on the road for the next month or so, but will make sure I have the book with me and I can catch up with the samples, or something anyway, when I get back to my loom!!  Looking forward to reading the book from the start rather than flipping pages for references!

DesertDreamer (not verified)

I would like to join this group.  I've been learning to weave for about 18 months.  I have two floor looms, a 4h and an 8h.  I have had this book for about a year I haven't gotten past the introduction.

I have to admit that I do not weave samples.  I have tried, I just can't. Maybe this study group will pull me out of my comfort zone so I can weave samples, plus go beyond tabby and also learn to use the 8h instead of only weaving on the 4h loom.  Forcing myself to do something different each month will help tremendously.

I also think 1 chapter per month would be best.


Hi Desert Dreamer -- you just might learn to love preparing samples.  When I first was learning (self taught), I hated the idea of wasting yarn on samples.  But now I find I like the samples most of all, and the process of improving on one's initial idea.  It is super rewarding when your final project reflects the testing of several ideas.   

I still have my first weaving project -- no sample, intended as a dish towel -- but it shrunk to be only about 7 inches wide.  I was so dismayed!  Ha ha, I know laugh at myself when I reach the bottom of the dishtowel drawer!

JennieHawkey (not verified)

Hi, AudreyO!

The book is Mastering Weave Structures by Sharon Alderman. Sharon is a brilliant weaver and author that I have had the priviledge of meeting several times. Our guild was fortunate enough to have her travel to Central Illinois to give a workshop.

Erica J

Desert Weaver, I think every weaver has been at the stage where we under value sampling. I did for ghe first 10 years are so, right up until I went for my first private tutorial here. The very first thjng my me tor taught me was the value of samplong and how it prevents you from wasting yarn. Sampling takes out al, the guesswork in your projects/production weaving. What sett snould I use? If you sampled with a variety of setts, you know exactly which one to choose. How much shrinkage shoudl i account for? Samples tell you, which means you know how wide and long to warp for the width you want. You can tes how sett and finisning techniques effect the drape of your final cloth, exactly how well warp and weft work together, and a few things I'm sure I'm forgetting. You can make not of most of these thungs, but when it comes to c olor interactions, drape, and the difference between structures there is nothung like a good library of samples!

In the end we arecall individuals and we do our own thing. This is just a list of reasons I nkw value sampling!





I had a few questions about sampling.  How exactly do you sample?  Do you wind extra warp and weave some samples on that or do you do a smaller warp and practice on that? to later do your project on a new warp?  I have been weaving for a few years.  But I am basically a "recipe weaver" not being very creative.  I feel I have a good understanding of basic weaving and want to take it a step further now.  Any advice on the sampling with be greatly appreciated. 


I usually put on an extra foot, weave it, cut it off the loom, then cut it in half warpwise so I have two identical pieces. I wash one and not the other so I have a comparison.  Sometimes I wash the whole thing and just take measurments. Either way I get an idea of what it's going to do. If it's material I'm familiar with and don't need to check shrinkage and sett, only color, I may not take it off the loom. Depends on what I'm needing.



This sounds great to me. Just joined. I believe I have the book = will need to check later today. Curious is those out there with more experience can guestimate the length of warp we are looking at. I will likely go with cotton, but perhaps this is an opportunity to play with a new fiber......lots to think about.


For me, I'm not good at guessing how some colors will interact in the final cloth, and I'm not very good at deciding the scale of pattern elements (stripes, etc).  So I usually make a warp just for sampling, with maybe two or three stripe widths, and maybe 3 feet of weaving length so I can test a variety of different wefts.

For the chapter 1 sample, my warp will probably be about 7 inches wide (more if I find I'm in the mood for measuring warp), and have 3 feet of weaving length.  I will use unmercerized cotton, 14/2, because I have a lot of that on hand.  Its not the prettiest colors, but it will work.  Or if I'm really ambitious I will get out the dyes.


I think it was Sally Orgeron, who wrote about sampling in Complex Weavers. When she samples for color interaction, she warps 2" of each color and weaves 2" with each weft she wants to sample. This has proved a great method for color sampling.

As for sampling in general, I wind enough length to do all of the following on one warp:

  1. Weave a good sized sample (at least 8" x 10") at the sett I think will work.
  2. Weave the same length sample at a finer sett (i.e. higher number of ends per inch).
  3. Weave the same length sample at a wider sett (i.e. fewer number of ends per inch).

I also like to keep at least 3 or 4 variations of each sample, one off loom, one slightly wet finished (when talking of wool hot water and a bit of aggitation), one run through the wash with hot water on the delicate cylce, and one run through the wash with hot water on a normal cycle. Depending on the sample, I may weave different sections for the wet finishing, or I may cut the sample up and wet finish different sections differently. this really makes sampling very useful.


Hello everyone ! I am Barbara and I would like to join your group.I´m not quite sure, if this is the right place , to introduce myself ? I am a weaver since about ten years . I love to work with wool and silk , cottolin too, but I have little experience in linen etc. I love experimenting with new drafts and new materials.I love the book and I used already some drafts out of it . I think, it will be very interesting and great fun , to go through the book together with other weavers ! Happy New Year to all of you !  Barbara


I think this will be a great adventure - welcome to the study group. I'm looking forward to getting started, which means I've got to weave off the warp that is on the loom now. 

Erica J

Thank you for intoducing yourself. I shouod probably make a place for intoductions!

Welcome to the group. I have been weaving for 20 years, but have only serious bern  wesving cloth for 10 years. In college and just after I onky nad room for tablet weaving!

We are planning or prepping our plain weave warps now and there is a seperate discussion for our work in plain weave.


Hello, all.

Before deciding on a warp I wanted to know what all the fabrics Sharon Alderman placed at the begining of the chapter. I have made a short glossary. Many of the definitions did not help much, but others did. Feel free to add and improve the list. 

(I have not found how to add a Word doc, so this is a cut and paste):



(textileglossary.com; fabric.com; Fairchild’s Dictionary of Textiles)

Percale – a thread count of 200 or over (thread count: number of warps and weft per square inch). Firm, smooth, crisp. Balanced weave.

Ottoman - Originated in Turkey, this is a tightly woven, plain weave, ribbed fabric with a hard, slightly shiny surface. The ribbed effect is created by weaving a finer silk or manufactured warp yarn with a heavier filler yarn, usually made of cotton, wool, rayon or waste yarn that is completely covered by the warp yarn, thus creating the ribbed effect. It is characterized by horizontal ribs and is heavier in weight and with a larger rib than both faille and bengaline. It has very pronounced flat ribs in the filling direction. Ribs are made by a cotton, worsted, silk, or rayon filling which does not show on either the face or the back, because the warp covers the filling entirely. It is called Ottoman Cord or Ottoman rib when a warp rib is employed. Fabric is stiff and cannot be gathered or shirred. Like other ribbed fabrics, it has a tendency to slip at the seams and crack, so it cannot be fitted too tightly. Another type of Ottoman with heavy ribbing is also found in Satin Weave. Heavy in weight - larger rib than both faille and bengaline.

Faille – a. A fine, soft fabric woven from filament yarn made in a plain weave with weft-way ribs formed by the intersection of a fine close-set warp with a coarser weft. Faille belongs to a group of fabrics having ribs in the weft direction.
b. A glossy, soft, finely-ribbed, silk-like woven fabric made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, especially rayon. It has a crosswise rib weave and the soft material drapes well. It is finer than grosgrain and with flatter ribs. It is difficult to launder but will give good wear if handled properly. Has a lustrous finish.

Bengaline - A sturdy warp-faced fabric with pronounced crosswise ribs formed by bulky, coarse, plied yarns or rubber thread. Filling is not discernible on back or face of goods. Originating in Bengal, India it is used mainly in coatings, swimsuits, mourning ensembles, and women’s headwear. When cut to ribbon widths is called grosgrain.
Fibre: Silk, wool, rayon, synthetics, cotton.

Lawn - A light, fine cloth made using carded or combed linen or cotton yarns in a plain weave. The fabric has a crease-resistant, crisp finish. The name derived from Laon, a city in France, where linen lawn was manufactured extensively. It is light weight, sheer, soft, and washable. It is crispier than voile but not as crisp as organdy. When made with fine high count yarns, it has asilky feel. Comes in white or may be dyed or printed. When made with combed yarns with a soft feel and slight luster, it is called nainsook.

Poplin - A cotton or wool fabric made using a crosswise rib variation of the plain weave. The construction is characterized by having a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling. The filling is cylindrical with two or three times as many warp as weft per inch. Has a more pronounced filling effect than broadcloth. It is mercerized and has quite a high luster. It may be bleached, or dyed (usually vat dyes are used) or printed. Heavy poplin is given a water-repellent finish for outdoor use. Poplin was originally made with silk warp and a heavier wool filling. American cotton broadcloth shirting is known as poplin in Great Britain.

Voile - Lightweight open-weave fabric made of tightly twisted combed yarns that give it a grainy feel and a crisp hand.

Pongee - Silk, cotton, or rayon in a plain weave that was woven 'in the gum'. Originally from China and woven on hand looms in the home. It is light or medium weight and tan or ecru in color. Some is dyed, but color is not quite uniform. The warp is finer and more even than filling. The nubs or irregular cross ribs are produced by uneven yarns. It is woven from wild tussah silk and it is a 'raw silk'.

Taffeta - It is a silk fabric woven in plain construction. The fabric is closely sett using a coarse weft and finer warp.

Chambray - A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns. Typically has a plain weave or dobby designs on a plain-weave ground and is made with a dyed warp and a white or unbleached filling. Both carded and combed yarns used. Has a white selvedge. Some chambray is woven with alternating white and colored warp. Naturally has a 'faded' look and very soft coloring. Some is made with stripes, checks or embroidered. Smooth, strong, closely woven, soft and has a slight luster.

Limbric - It is a cotton fabric made of fine warp and coarse weft (soft spun and lustrous).The pick density is usually more than the warp thread density.

Broadcloth - This is an old type of woolen cloth, made from fine merino wool in plain weave. It is heavily milled and finished so as to make it suitable as a dress fabric.

Chiffon - a lightweight, balanced plain-woven sheer fabric woven of alternate S- and Z-twist crepe (high-twist) yarns. The twist in the crepe yarns puckers the fabric slightly in both directions after weaving, giving it some stretch and a slightly rough feel.
Chiffon is made from cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers. Under a magnifying glass it resembles a fine net or mesh which gives chiffon some see-through properties

Cretonne - Cretonne was originally a strong, white fabric with a hempen warp and linen weft.
The word is now applied to a strong, printed cotton cloth, which is stouter than chintz but used for very much the same purposes.

Lingette – Trade name for shadow-stripped, cotton, five-harness warp satin weave fabric.

Muslin - An inexpensive, medium weight, plain weave, low count (less than 160 threads per square inch) cotton sheeting fabric.

Sheeting - A plain weave fabric with even or close to even thread counts in warp and weft. Often of cotton. Carded yarn versions are used for inexpensive apparel, furniture covers and as a base for laminates. Finer yarns and higher counts may be used for bed sheets.

Organdy - Organdy or organdie is the sheerest cotton cloth made. Combed yarns contribute to its appearance. Its sheerness and crispness are the result of an acid finish on greige (unbleached) lawn goods. Because of its stiffness and fiber content, it is very prone to wrinkling.

Gingham - A medium-weight, plain-weave fabric with a plaid or check pattern made from cotton or synthetics fibers. The word is derived from Italian 'Ging-gang' meaning 'striped'. Medium or fine yarns of varying quality are used to obtain the checks, plaids, stripes, and plain effects. The cloth is yarn dyed or printed. The warp and the filling are usually balanced and if checks of two colors, usually same sequence in both the warp and the filling. It is strong, substantial, and serviceable. It launders well but low textured, cheap fabric may shrink considerably unless preshrunk. Has a soft, dull luster surface that wrinkles easily. Tissue or zephyr ginghams are sheer being woven with finer yarns and a higher thread count.

Flannel – A light to medium weight woven fabric with a soft, slightly napped surface. Expensive flannels of wool and wool blends are usually napped and fulled whereas less expensive flannels of cotton and other fibers are usually just napped.

Calico - Usually a plain, closely woven inexpensive cloth made in solid colors on a white or contrasting background. Often one, two, or three colors are seen on the face of the goods which are usually discharge or resist printed, frequently in a small floral pattern. Used mainly for aprons, dresses, crazy quilts, sportswear. Often interchangeable with percale - which is 80-square cotton.

Cambric - Soft, closely woven, light. Either bleached or piece dyed. Highly mercerized, lint free. Calendered on the right side with a slight gloss. Lower qualities have a smooth bright finish. Similar to batiste but is stiffer and fewer slubs.

Grosgrain - It is a blended fabric composed of fine silk warp threads and coarser silk, cotton or worsted weft. The weave is a warp rib with a high density of warp threads and low pick density of weft threads

Dimity - Cotton fabric made of combed yarn that comes in a plain weave with a crosswise or lengthwise spaced rib or crossbar effect. A thin sheer with corded spaced stripes that could be single, double or triple grouping. Has a crisp texture which remains fairly well after washing.

China silk - Originally hand woven in China of silk from the Bonabyx mori. China silk is very soft and extremely lightweight but fairly strong. Irregularities of threads caused by the extreme lightness and softness are characteristic of the fabric.

Crepe de chine - Silk warp and crepe twist silk filling with more ends than picks per inch. Has a soft hand, considerable luster, launders well, and is fairly sheer. Made of raw silk or rayon, it is easy to manipulate and handle and very long wearing. Could be piece dyed or printed. Has a slight rippled texture. Heavy crepe de chine is called 'Canton crepe' which is slightly ribbed and now mostly made in rayon.

Callis - A lightweight, plain weave, this fabric traditionally of all worsted or of silk warp and worsted filling. Sometimes made with a woven pattern but more often printed with designs after weaving.

Madras - A lightweight plain weave cotton fabric with a striped, plaid, or checked pattern. A true madras will bleed when washed. This type of fabric is usually imported from India. Generally cotton although can also be made from rayon and silk. Plain weave or can be a dobby or jacquard weave used for designs. Much of it has a plain colored background with stripes, plaid, checks, or designs on it. Has a high thread count. Madras is made with combed or carded yarns depending on the quality. Some is mercerized to make it lustrous and durable.

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Several people have asked about exchanging swatches. I have posted a poll to the group. Please vote yes or no. I'm happy to go with the group. I think if this is a deal breaker for anyone, we can just exchange amoung those who are happy to do so.


I recently ordered the book and it is on its way to me. I would like to join the group also.


For anyone having trouble finding the poll, this is how I found it:

On the main "Groups and Forums" page,

Click on Mastering Weave Structures Study Group in the groups/forums column

This takes one to a page with all the different topics we have going. The poll is one of the topics.





I said no to a swatch exchange because I do not want to get bogged down by the mailing step.  That said, I would still be willing to do it.  Just saying...  there was no "I'm wishy-washy" choice on the poll.


Thanks  a lot for your warm welcome , I think , this group will be great !

I am german , I live in Hamburg, Northern Germany. First of all I must apologize for my English. I can read english books , but talking or writing myself often is a big challenge. 

About sampling : I love it ! When I have a certain project , I usually make the warp 1-2 meters longer than necessary, so I have the freedom to try out different yarns , treadlings etc. This is really a source of discoveries and experience! To study a certain draft , I love to work with the little "Klik"-table-loom ( of Louet / Netherlands ) ,mostly with a warp of ca. 30 cm width and about 2 m length.Working with the Klik, you have no treadling, you have to lift every shaft by hand.This is slow and sometimes boring, but it makes you understand very clearly what happens. I think , samples should measure at least 20 x 20 cm ( thats about 8 x 8 inches, I believe ) in the end , that means after washing, shrinking etc. So, depending on what material you choose, you might have a warp of ca. 30-40 cm ( = 12-18 inches ) width on the loom.I think , exchanging samples would be super , but probably not reasonable because of the big distances ( you mostly live in USA ? ).


I am a non-sampler.  It is just something that I have never gotten into the habit of doing.  I guess I kind of plow my way through my projects, get them on the loom and get them woven and hope they work out.  I have had mostly good fortune doing it this way.  I understand the value of sampling, I just do not tend to do it:-)  Hopefully working with this study group will make me a better sampler.