This tutorial also covers double weave but combines double weave with plain weave borders. This means that you can weave a wide piece in plain weave and decorate it with strips of double woven motifs. In the photo above, the apricot colored area is plain weave and the strip of brown and white motifs is double weave.

The main difference is that in this technique you will be using two wefts.


This project is for those who already know how to make string heddles and set up the loom. If you need those instructions, look in the Beignner tutorilas or on the ''getting started''and ''heddle making'' pages-or just ask!!!!



You'll have to forgive me with the yarn recommendations here as I am in Bolivia and we are not exactly spoiled for choice. I generally DEMO with a very heavy wieght cotton as it photographs well -it wraps only 12 times to the inch.(pictured at left on the ruler)

For my own projects, I use 8/2 weight cotton which you an see on the right. Your yarns need to be firm and smooth-nothing loosely twisted or fluffy in any way.

Something BETWEEN the 2 weights would be good for a first project. The heavy weight is good for sample bands and for getting used to handling the loom but for most projects IT REALLY IS A BIT TOO CHUNKY.


Tiia (not verified)

 Lovely!! Right now I´m trying to find some suitable yarn. I only have linen singles or white cotton.Can´t make up my mind wether to dye the cotton or to ply the linen. 

bolivian warmi

WARPING...............warping for double weave made with only two sheds


This pattern is made up of thirteen warps-count the diamonds between the heavy black zig zag lines-each one represents a warp. So, to weave this pattern you would make thirteen revolutions with the two pattern colors.

I f you just want to make a narrow band, a border of four warps-four revolutions with your border color- is nice.

Woven this way, TWO wefts are required. One weft, which I will call the MAIN weft will run across th entire width of the band- from one edge  to the other- weaving the upper layer of the double woven pattern area and the borders.

The SECONDARY weft weaves only the lower layer of the double weave pattern area and runs from one edge of the pattern area to the other.



bolivian warmi

here is the cross as it comes off the warping stakes.

and now with heddles installed..................

Remember- if you are weaving with a new yarn it is unlikely that you will get the width right first go when you start weaving-treat this as a test.


bolivian warmi





I am working in the stick shed. You can see that the warps are in pairs-each white warp has its black partner.

     I am keeping the whites and dropping each black partner-passing the whites to my right hand as I do so.



All the whites have been selected,and my sword is in the     I pass the main tan weft through this shed right to left.



Now I need to form the shed for the lower layer of black           Then I open the heddle shed and lift only the black and white

warps. First step-- I place a stick under the selected                 pattern warps-not the borders.

white warps(the same ones under which I just passed

the tan weft.)


I place the beater under these pattern warps from the          I am tipping the warp sideways to show the new shed that has 

heddle shed and draw them down to the  stick. I lift up          been created underneath. There you can see the black warps

the stick and beater together.                                                       and borders that form the lower layer. 

Place the beater in the NEW shed, beat and pass the white secondary weft from right to left.

THIS COMPLETES ONE ''CYCLE''. The process is now repeated using the pairs of warps in the heddle shed-selecting the whites and discarding the blacks.

You can view video of this procss on my Flikr page................


bolivian warmi

Hi guys,

Above are step-by-step photos for weaving a plain white base on which I can later form my black pattern.

You can see that I am using TWO wefts. The tan weft is the MAIN weft which passes under the borders and the pattern area. THe white weft is the SECONDARY weft which passes only under the pattern area and is, in fact weaving the bottom layer of this double weave. THe reverse of the weaving will show plain black with tan borders and the upper layer, plain white with tan borders.

The photos show one complete cycle in the stick shed. I have opened the stick shed and drawn the warps down to the weaving line. Then the process starts in the first photo.

After the last photo, you wil open up the heddle shed, draw the warps down to the weaving line and the whole process will start again-picking the whites and dropping the blacks. Look down at the weaving line as you pick and drop and check that you are not twisting the whites and blacks.

Let me know by PM if anything is unclear.I will post photos of forming the black pattern on the white background tomorrow.


You can view video of this process on my Flikr page.................



dteaj (not verified)

Woo hoo! Where did you find that diamond shaped graph paper? It's perfect for describing how the threads overlay.

And thanks for doing all this. You are being wonderfully generous in sharing it all with us.

Debbie (who may be doing this if she can find enough time...)

Caroline (not verified)

hi Debbie, there is a graph paper generator here that does a diamond shape. I set it to .75 cm as .75 of an inch is way to big.

just select the options you want, then tell it to download pdf, and there you have it! I'm sure there are a few other suitable ones around elsewhere too.

bolivian warmi

A WORD ABOUT WIDTH.............

This is a warp-faced weave so you need to push your warps together so that they are just touching each other before you pass the first weft. Judging the width of your piece-especially if you are using a yarn which you are not familiar with-is very hard.

The weaving will settle into the width IT wants to be once you have woven a few inches so you will probably have a start that is either too narrow or too wide.

You have two options....take note of the width once it has settled, pick it all undone and start again!!

OR....................take note of the width for your next project and consider this one a sample. You may find some clever way to use this piece so that width variation is not noticeable-sew it into a small coin purse or something like that.

Consider yourself lucky if you get the width correct right from the start!!

I started this one too narrow-didn't want to pick it undone!

bolivian warmi

Wove some white background and am weaving the design-one block of black design on white and vice versa. Will give specific pick by pick instructions when someone gets up to this part.

Am using the super thick cotton and it weaves up really fast-am almost halfway up my band!

Virag (not verified)

Oh, this is wonderfully striking as a design.  Way to go!

bolivian warmi


Before you start to weave your black design on the white background you need to take a look at how your warps are aligned in the two sheds.

Looking at the photo, you will see that on alternate rows of whites the last white warp on the right extends out to the RIGHT. On every other row the last warp on the right sits in to the left.

You need to see which shed is weaving the row in which the last warp extends out to the right because this is the row in which you need to start picking your pattern.

On MY loom set up, when I open the STICK SHED, the last pair of warps on the RIGHT are to the right of the last pair of warps in the heddle shed. So when I am ready to pick my FIRST row of pattern,  I need to be working in the STICK SHED.


In the pattern chart below, the heavy zig zag line on the right represents the edges of your white warps. When the zig zag points to the right, it indicates that the last warp is extending out to the right.


 Reading the chart....I need to select 1 white, 4 blacks, 3 whites,4 blacks and 1 white-each diamond represents one warp that needs to be selected from each pair of warps in the shed.

Please note that I am right handed.



 I have selected the first white and have passed it to my      I have selected the next 4 blacks and passed them to my

right hand. Its black partner is on my left finger tips and       right hand. The 4 white partners on my left finger tips will

will be dropped.                                                                             will be dropped.

CONTINUES BELOW-RAN OUT OF ROOM.....................

JJWalts (not verified)

Marking to come back and read! Fabulous

bolivian warmi

All the warps have been selected for the first row and I       

am passing the main tan weft which weaves the upper      

layer of the double weave.                                                          



I have placed a stick under all those warps that I just selected,

opened the heddle shed and placed the beater under the

pattern warps-not the borders. Now I am ready to lift both the

beater and the stick in order to locate the NEW shed below.

I have placed the beater in this NEW shed and am passing the white secondary weft which weaves the lower layer of the double weave.

That completes the first row of the pattern. Now I will open the hedddle shed and draw the border and patterns warps down to the weaving line in order to select the warps for the second row.

There is video on my Flikr page showing this process.


dteaj (not verified)

Does it matter if the blacks are dropped on the same side of the whites at all times and vice versa? For example, you've been doing the base pattern of just whites. On the first pattern row, does it matter if the whites are dropped to the left or to the right of their selected black partners?


bolivian warmi

It's good to decide on which sides you want to keep your blacks and whites. For example, you may decide that you will aways have your whites on the right of their respective black partners. Once you have decided that, try to stick to it and keep an eye on what is happening down at the weaving line so that you won't be twisting the warps. If you have twisted them you will notice straight away when you put your beater into the shed-no problem just untwist the two offending warps.

The warps will get twisted sometimes even though they are all straightened out at the weaving line and you will see the twists in the warps up above your heddles and shed rod. This doesn't really matter as when you cut your warps to take the weaving off the loom , the twists will just fall out. Just try to keep an eye on what's going on so that there isn't excessive twisting.  

let me know if this doesn't make sense. The only way to avoid this problem is to have FOUR sheds with one color in each for each layer of the double weave.

bolivian warmi

Hi Debbie,

The roll up wouldn't work for you here as it seems that you are not using a loom bar But here are some pictures in case you decide to move on to a wider piece. It is good that you wove a good length of plain waiting for the width to settle down and to get your edges nice and straight. Looks like you have a nice place to weave outdoors as well.


                               (1)                                                                        (2)                                                              (3)

(1) I put a steel needle through the warp end loops and lash that onto a loom bar so that my band has a neat smooth finish. OR I put the warp ends directly onto the bar for a fringed or braided finish. Regardless of which method I choose, I roll up the warp as I progress.

(2) Place the roll up stick under the finished work and next to the loom bar.

(3) Roll the two sticks together and place the end of the backstrap as shown. The straps go OVER the nearest stick and around the farthest one .

If you are weaving with a really long warp, you can apply this roll up method to the far end and then go unravelling it as you progress.


dteaj (not verified)

Thanks so much. Your instructions are really very clear. Your going to make a great author. :-)

Yes, it's pretty in the yard and the weather is really fine right now. No flash problems outside, either.

Hmm. Looking at your example, it looks much more compact than mine lengthwise. Any idea why?

bolivian warmi

Hi Debbie,

I think the fact that I put extra warp pairs in the pattern area may give my design a more squat appearance-I used 17 pairs instead of 13-you can see that the design is sititing on a wider white background whereas your design goes all the way to the edge.

My yarn is 8/2 cotton-wraps about 37 times to the inch.

The main reason why a design comes out elongated is because the weaver is putting a lot of tension on the warp and, therefore, the warps are not able to easily''bend'' over and under the wefts-they are being pulled very straight and flat making it difficult to beat the weft in.

Another reason could be that the weaver just isn't beating hard enough.

Yet another...the warps have been pushed too close together to start out with. This will cause the warps to be bunching together at the weaving line-often imperceptibly but enough to make it difficult to beat the weft in well.

Your band widened as it grew and settled into its ideal width-where the warps are ''comfortably'' positioned next to each other while at the same time giving you good weft coverage- that is probably why that first motif is so long.

I hope you are planning a wider piece with this technique and can put my roll-up instructions to use! Well done with your band. It is coming out beautifully.



bolivian warmi

Here are a couple more charted patterns for those who would like to go on and incorporate double weave in other projects.


                           (1)                                                                                                                            (2)

(1) Using 16 warps-this is copied from a belt                                                 (2) Using 12 warps-this I adapted from a belt

      from Potosi, Bolivia.                                                                                               and made into a continuous repeating design.


I have plenty of geometric and bird motifs using up to 40 warps if anyone is interested-also some beautiful geometric designs of the Mapuche people of Chile and Argentina.

Have fun with these.


Virag (not verified)

These are just lovely.  THank you for charting them out and posting them.

jeannine (not verified)

thank you. i have saved them for later use.this could be used as inlay motif on plain color also is that right?

bolivian warmi

Absolutely! Here in Bolivia the weavers use inlay technique for bands to decorate their hats. Except for one village where everyone used exactly the same design on their hats, I have never seen two bands alike. I have lots of designs for these too and they are charted in exactly the same way as the double weave ones above. Good idea!




hi to all, I couldn't wait no longer and wanted to try double weave; but my stripes are not finished yet. then i saw Francos pencils and thought i had some small sticks laying around from a cardweaving in I quickly set up and made a counting error .Now i feel sorry because i can not weave that beautiful pattern and i had to invent my own instantly.After consulting the intructions twice I finnally understood how it works.the width setteld and i think the whole length will weave smootly now.

bolivian warmi

Hi Jeannine-so glad that you have joined us.  Yes, I am being undisciplined and weaving three projects at once!......

Peering at your photo it looks like you have 8 warps in the pattern area rather than 13. Here is an 8-warp pattern that you can try...........although I like your improvisations too. You can weave it as shown and then reverse it. I will look for some others in the meantime. This is a popular pattern here in Bolivia. They weave a lot of them all joined across in a row.

You need to start the double weave technique straight away from the very first row otherwise your piece will start very wide as yours has. This is because you have twice as many warps in the pattern area as will be seen on the weaving surface-one set goes to upper layer and the other set to the bottom one.

I love these colors-I always end up doing white or off white with a darker color. It is nice to think about other colors that give a good contrast.

jeannine (not verified)

thank you are amazingly kind.the wide beginning was because I had not pulled enough on the weft and i was uncertain about the weaving technic.I also had some twisted treads. now I take care to  select the dark and the light always from the same side to avoid twisting. I have learned so much by making  this .It even gave me more insight on how double weave pickup works on a 4shaft-loom.

don't tell me about more then one project going on:)I have two backstrap projects, one Saori-scarf,and now also a urgent rug project  to be finished 27-10 for a local business opendoors day. our local artguild is asked to put some art on display.

tomorrow we go to a "day of the natural fibers" in the Netherlands .I hope to buy some plantdye which are hard to get overhere.I always end up with yellow, brown and green from our local plants.

bolivian warmi

All your projects sound great. Looking forward to lots of photos in our members' gallery. Let us know what kind of dye plants you get tomorrow too.


Kristina (not verified)

Hei Laverne, you are so good!! The whole day today I started to follow the double weave weavealong. With your new video I had really good understood the technique. I took me still a lot of time, but in the evening it worked. Now my back hurts an I have to continue tomorrow. Tomorrow I will post a photo of my first doubleweave on backstrap.


bolivian warmi

i am so happy to hear that Kristina. I still have one more video to make showing how to avoid getting twisted warps. I have written about it here but I would also like to make a video and maybe I will make one to show the warping too.

We are looking forward to seeing your photos too. Let me know if you would like some more designs.


Aquinnah (not verified)

 All this is so interesting! I will give it  a try. But first I will try this double weave thingie with my rigid heddle. I have set up extra heddles on it, on chop sticks, so I could try krokbragda. But this method of double weaving may be easier, particularly as my chop sticks narrow down from one end to the other, so the heddles are difficult to shift (or they slide off, depending on which way you try to move them) so it's all become rather uneven and unwieldy. As for the two methods suggested here, I have got my head around one, Laverne's , I think, the other I will leave for another time. 

Aquinnah (not verified)

 Didn't say, but all the samples shown here by various people look fantastic! I am envious and can't wait (but I will a bit longer) to get my fingers into it!


 Here are comming pictures of my learning hies weekend. It was a lot of fun. Fortunatly autum comes to Germany and it was cold and windy outside. Good weather for weaving.



You can see the pattern I tried, but I recognized that I was easier to follow the diamand Pattern.

 I `m asking me if it it possible to do the doubleweave with four colours an two heddle sticks?

 I have a long planed Project to weave a pattern of Marijke van Epens book. But it is so unpractible to turn about 100 tablets, and the second shed is no time o.k., because its  on the backside. I´will put some pictures to the " Projects " and to flickr.

Maybe someone tried something like this before on backstrap. I think it would be easier without cards, but I´m not sure.


bolivian warmi

Hey Kristina,

Well done! Your edges are looking really good and you are having a nice time exploring different things. The Peruvian weave that Marijke does is pebble weave which is woven on backstrap here in South America.


These designs are done in pebble weave. Pebble weave is characterized by the little dots that appear at intervals across the design. It is not a double weave but, rather, double faced. Marijke has figured out a way to do this with cards. On the backstrap loom it uses two sets of heddles and pick up every second row.

I have seen double weave with three colors but never four. Even with three colors, the three colors are never used at the same time. The designs are woven as a combination of only two colors at any one time.One color gets hidden between the two layers while the other two are in use. This makes the fabric REALLY thick and clumsy.

So the charts in Marijke's book are meant for pebble weave-it will be a lot easier to chart anything you want to try on the diamond chart paper. Just copy the main outline of the design onto the chart and don't include all the litle spots between.

If you like I can try to chart a design in Marijke's book on the diamond paper for you. Send me a message and I will email you.


Aunt Janet (not verified)

I've been studying the double weave pages.  I'll be warping a small band with my handwoven wool today to take the plunge.  Here goes....

Aunt Janet

bolivian warmi

Great! I imagine you saw the links to the videos too. The videos show a slightly more efficient  way to open the ''new'' shed using your fingers rather than the sword/beater.

i am looking forward to seeing the results with your handspun wool.

Aunt Janet (not verified)

I just noticed your socks in this photo.  Did you make them?  The photo is a little fuzzy, but maybe the socks are too.  Very pretty pattern.  It could be a backstrap pattern.

Aunt Janet

Aunt Janet (not verified)

I'm sure I've looked at this link.  I've been "cheating" a bit anyway.  I use a shuttle with a sword edge that I also use for inkle weaving.  I have been opening sheds with my hands instinctively.  The shuttle doubles as beater.  I especially like my shuttles for their very slick surface.  I still have a problem with the sound and feel of rough wood against cotton.  Gives me the creeps.  I would also like to improve my sticks which are a bit rough still.  I use a double pointed knitting needle for pick-up.  I also have used a size 13 double pointed needle for string heddle stick.  Once again the needle for pick-up is nice and smooth, so none of that stickyness that sounds creepy.

I'm still pretty slow at the double weave.  I keep stopping and checking that I'm doing everything right.  Looking forward to that rhythem. 

Off to weave.

Aunt Janet

bolivian warmi

Hi Aunt janet,

So you used your handspun on your first doube woven band-are you using cotton this time? It takes a while to get into a rhythm and if it is a complicated pattern you often never do as you have to slow right down to count and pick up the threads. Thta's why it is uasually better to start with some simple shapes like triangles and diamonds raher than the scroll pattern.

Looking forward to seeing pictures!



 Hi Aunt Janet,

sorry I didn`t notice yor sock question. But with new weavolution I saw your comment. Yes I knitted this socks. The Idea came from a great book called " Simply socks" and in this book are a interesting sock knitting techniques from Turkey. You start with the toe and do the heel like the Toe end. A lot of fun while knitting. The Patterns a mostly folkloristical.

Greetings !


Aunt Janet (not verified)

Um, would you believe I've jumped up to 10/2 cotton, not handspun.  It is unmercerized, which doesn't seem to be making much difference in the warp, but I have broken the weft a couple of times.  I just have to know the limits of this thread.  I'm sticking to diamonds and triangles, on this band.  My first bit of patterning is a bit wonky, but I am getting it into line.  Mostly I am in need of a nice long block of time to dedicate to getting the double weave down. 

bolivian warmi

my goodness, what have you been doing to that weft! :-) That's a new one for me!

I am glad you are doing the triangles-less time counting warps and more time to get the steps down. I hope you will try the one-weft double weave too. That way you won't have to be messing about with two wefts-one less thing to have to deal with.

Yes, you really need to sit down to this. I am sure that constantly picking it up and putting it down isn't helping.

Have fun with it!



bolivian warmi

Darn! Makes me wish I lived in  place where I could wear socks-honestly, I can't remember the last time I wore a pair!! I bet the Turkish designs would look great woven up.

Laverne is your handspun experiment going?

Aunt Janet (not verified)

This unmercerized cotton is pretty weak, so it doesn't take much of a tug to break it.  It doesn't break in the warp because all the treads take the tension together, while in the weft I'm tugging on just one thread.  I have to tug it just so. 

I will do the one-weft double weave after this one.  I'm resisting warping up more than one project at a time, though I am tempted.  After progressing one step at a time on back strap weaving, I don't want to try jumping around.  Steady progress has been fun. 


Aunt Janet (not verified)

Thanks for the sock photo, Kristina.  Those are beautiful!  I have made Turkish socks but this is a particurlaly nice pattern.  I might have that book in my shelf, I'll check it out. 

I knit at a concert last night.  "Zappa does Zappa".  I was wishing for earplugs.  It was hard to knit when I had to hold my fingers in my ears.  I had to quit knitting when the bass did a very loud solo.  I actually had to leave the room for that solo.  The rest of the concert was too loud to knit.  DH didn't think I could knit at a Zappa concert.  I never knew it could be too loud to knit.  Would have taken my backstrap, but I don't think there was enough light, or that the guy in the seat in front of me would have appreciated me tying up to his seat.  I got more than an inch knit on DH's hat.  ;>}.

bolivian warmi

Aunt Janet! This story had my boyfriend and I ROFL :-) :-) I LOVE it! Knitting at a Zappa crack me up!


Aunt Janet (not verified)

above is my SAMPLE band in double weave with my hadspun Romney.  This was a fun band to weave.

Aunt Janet

I'll post a couple of my other attempts at double weave.   The one here is 8/10 cotton.  I'll provbably go back and finish this one.  It is weaving fine, just slowly.

Aunt Janet

And this one woven with handspun alpaca.  This is the one with impossibly sticky sheds, hairy yarn.  I am thinking of braiding off the rest and not finishing the weaving.  Anyway lesson learned.  My yarns are now much tighter, and less hairy.

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