Laverne, have you done twill weaves? Do you use 4 heddle groups, or 3 + shed stick?




Posted on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 18:26

This is the only twill-like thing I have done. I learned this structure here in Bolivia and this is a traditional design. In books I have seen it called ''complementary warp with uneven twill'' and I do it with just one set of string heddles and a shed stick picking up every single row.

I am sure you could set up a twill easily with several heddles-three and a shed stick would be better. I find having a shed stick in the warp helps spread the warps and makes it easier to keep the width even rather than just having 4 heddles flopping about alone. At the moment I am doing a weave with 4 heddles and I installed a shed stick which I don't even need just to help with this problem of keeping the warps spread.

You can see the 4 heddle sticks here and the shed stick behind. In fact I even put another stick in behind the shed stick because that really stabilizes the whole thing.


Posted on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 20:26

Well, Jenadina made me curious with this ''twill talk'' so I had a go today. I only made a narrow sample band which wasn't hard to set up with 3 heddles and a shed stick. I must go and read that thread about the floating selvedges as I think all that will make a whole lot more sense to me now-the weft doesn't go all the way out to the last warp all the time and you have to be manipulating those end warps-i don't like the way it looks. Any tips on this welcome!

I got the warps spread by wrapping a doubled length of the warp yarn between each pair of warps and it seems to have worked-well, at least so far. I really like this! Must try something wider.


The two sticks behind the shed stick are holding the original warp cross. I just left them in their because they help tp stabilize the shed stick and spread the warps out.

 EDIT........I think I am beating the weft in too hard-what do you think?

Posted on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 22:26

Pretty! Is that a 2/1 twill? I did a small needle-woven sample to let my son choose between a reg. 2/2 or a 2/1 twill, and I did notice that I had to pack in the weft quite a bit to get a truly balanced weave (24 epi and 24 ppi with my 8/2 cotton). Maybe you could treat this as a pure sample, leave a small space (or a weft shot of another color), then try another square with a lighter beat to see which you prefer? It would have an impact on the angle of the twill.

I'm still running warp for Adam's scarf, and I warped extra so I can experiment ;)



Posted on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 22:47

Oh great. We can both do twill together and compare .Hey! Weave along alert! Who else wants to join in?

It's 2/2 twill. I think it's too ''squished'' and will take your advice and go on experimenting. I really want to see if I can maintain a constant width.You know I have never done this before-just pick up, pick up and more pick up so this is fun. I have a book with weave classifications-Irene Emery's which is not a how-to but it has wonderful detailed photos so I am just trying to figure it out from there.

Did you find your camera cable?

Posted on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 01:33

Oh good!

I just unpicked the whole lot and have spread the warps out more and am trying a lighter beat on the weft and have installed what I believe to be (from having read the thread in ''weaving'') a floating selvedge. so let's see what happens.

Posted on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 02:25

Here's where I am stopping for the night. I spread it all out and loosened up-I am so used to slamming away at my warp- faced pieces! The floating selvedge seems to be doing the trick-took me a while to figure it out though. The beginning (out of camera shot) is not too good.

Posted on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 03:08

That left selvedge looks good! If the fabric feels a bit sleazy and without body compared to your warp-faced weaving, you have probably got it about right! The test comes when its fulled - that is given a gentle wash then dried. It binds the fabric together.

Did you use 3 heddles and a pick-up stick or 4 sheds? What was the lift order?

You can make plain weave by lifting heddles 1 + 3 together, then 2 + 4 together.


I've just got to the stage of putting the warp on the loom so hopefully tomorrow, your time, I will have something to show.

Posted on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 03:30

I have 2 pieces of 2 x 4 with bits of dowel sticking out of them, and I clamp this to something handy. One bit of 2 x 4 has 5 dowels, the other 6, so I can make my cross and also run up a fairly long warp in a small space. My longest was 7 metres for the multi-shaft table loom. This one is 2 metres and was clamped to a wooden tray.

I am keeping the cross with a plastic tong that I found, ideal for this sort of thing.

Posted on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 04:00

I  have just come here after packing it ll away! But I can tell you for now that the yarn is 4/2 and I ended up using a doubled length of this same yarn wrapped twice between each pair of warps on the loom bar to spread the warps and that seems about right. In the first photo above you can see the black wraps-there I only wrapped once.

Tomorrow I will tell you the epi-if I can figure it out-caroline knows this stuff better than me-we can fugure it out.


Posted on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 13:07

I have 3 sets of warps in string heddles and the 4th set is over the shed stick. I have only done 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 so far-nothing fancy! Yes it does feel a bit ''sleazy'' (this one is new to me!) but I get what you mean. Can't wait to see how it looks with all those colours.

See you in about 8 hours! 

Posted on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 13:05

Is your piece somewhat narrow? My son has asked for a scarf 7 or 8 inches wide...I'm using 8/2 cotton set at 24 epi, and it's taking me forever to make my warp! I've got 3 inches worth chained off.

Posted on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 13:16

Mine is tiny! Just a sample. 15 inches long and 20 warp revolutions. I was thinking I could sew it up into coin purses but it's even too narrow for that. Now that I have sorted out this selvedge issue I might warp up a wider piece.

Posted on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 23:25

I didn't actually calculate width size at all, I just wound it on and made sure the pattern was symmetrical - very slack I know! I've just counted 64 warps with 4 ply cotton. Its probably going to be about 4 to 5 inches wide. Its just a little over 2 metres long. I don't know how much take up there will be.

Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 00:23

OK for the curious, here are my 4 sheds ready for the string heddles - I will use string heddles for all four rather than 3 and a shed stick for this time.

I have preserved the cross separately and will keep it preserved, though not by the plastic tongs.

My 4 to 5 inches assessment looks to be about right.

Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 01:22

I've just posted a link to the weaving forum, but will post it here as well as its an ideal site for backstrappers.

Mary Black wrote a book variously known as (New) Key to Weaving, depending on which version you have. Its basically a DIY weaving course, and very thorough with a lot of illustrations, unfortunately black and white as they were at that time. It also serves as an encyclopedia of weaves, and she concentrates mainly on 4 shaft weaves, most of which are within the reach of the backstrap loom.

This site has colour photos of  sample weaves, along with the page and diagram numbers from her book, and you can get a real close-up view of the fabric construction. You can do a search of weave types, such as Twill, Honeysuckle, Boundweave, etc.  Its well worth book-marking and referring back to. You do not need to have her book to make use of this.

Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 01:48

Thanks Caroline!  I have certainly heard of this book as one of the ''weaving bibles''.

Well I am about to take this sample piece off the loom but first I am going to try to do a hem on the loom-first time for everything. I just did the same twill the whole way along as I think I will sew it up into something. I am wondering if it will make a good cell phone pouch-although the colour is totally impractical. I am supposed to wash it now, right? EEEEK! I have never washed one of my weavings!!


Have to figure out what to do with all the weft ends where I ran out of weft. In warp- faced I just snip them off.

This was fun!

 EDIT..........Caroline, I just checked out the boundweave on Mary Black's page because you mentioned it.:-) :-) :-)

Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 03:05

It looks good!

Hemstitching is easy. I believe there are directions on the handwoven website.

I don't know what to tell you about your weft ends...I snip them off too, but always inside the weaving, not at the edges. Maybe you should wash it first, then snip.

Are you going to do another piece?

Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 08:37

Never wash? That's funny, when you are doing plainweave the fabric is actually only done when it is washed. Because then you really only see the true features of the binding and the yarn. Actually  you are doing twill( "Köper "in German), as a classic plain weave pattern, there you have short weft floats, witch make the fabric thick but not as strong as the plain pattern( Leinwand) or the backstrap warp faced patterns. 

Then you can see, then after the wash, as the yarn unfolds. ( My photos are showing the same fabric before and after washing)That's always a bit exciting, because most of the tissue does not retain its original size, particularly depending on the yarn shrinks about 10%. I'm curious about, Laverne, how your fabric looks like  after washing. Maybe you ever compare the size before and after washing.


Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 09:23

Kristina, the weaving tradition that Laverne is talking about is quite different from our western one. She mainly makes bags and belts in a very stiff warp-faced weave quite unlike our soft drapey fabrics, so washing to full the fabric never comes into it; its not part of the South American weaving process.

What we are doing at the moment is attempting twill on a South American backstrap loom. This is regularly done on the backstrap loom in Asia, but they have a totally different loom set up, and have treadles like our western looms. We use string heddles supported by dowel on top of the warp as well as shed sticks,  and manually lift the sheds we need. It might seem slow, but there are many instances where we are discovering that we do not need to use as many sheds as on a 4 shaft loom, and that we can do something more efficiently - its a great learning experience that we are sharing and welcome anyone who would like to travel this path with us.

There are several tutorials describing the backstrap loom and technique in our forum, as well as links to videos and tutorials elsewhere, so please have a browse, and come and join us!

Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 10:22

 Hei Caroline, thanks for your note.

 Maybe you know I have some language problems, but I just mentioned ,that is was interesting to compair  the methods of other weaving techniques to backstrap ( I know how it works:).  So this was the motive of my comment.  With this strong warp faced weavings you never had the need of washing, but with twill the structure it is different , and maybe backstrappers  get a new experience  with washing it..  I´m curious what happens next.



Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 14:08

hi Kristina, we are a truly international group here! Laverne is in Bolivia, I am in Australia, and we have members from Belgium and other European countries as well as the UK, and of course the States. This makes for a lively group and a lot of different ideas. Many of the links we provide go through to non-English sites, and I, for one, have installed a translator program on my computer so I can more appreciate what I am seeing.

Your English is excellent! My attempts at a foreign language are not as fluent as yours.

I have just about got my 4 sheds warped up, and of course I have just found 1 thread that somehow missed out on its heddle, grrrrr! Tomorrow - its not going anywhere, and its my bedtime, just as everyone else wakes up!

Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 14:22

Well, as Caroline said, all my weavings have been warped faced fabrics for bags and wall hangings. This is the first time I have done something like this (except for the finnweave which was balanced). Let me get it hemstitched first-thanks Franco for the above link -and then I shall ponder the washing issue.........Thanks to everyone for all the tips and info.

Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 15:30

Actually what I want to do is sew all the end warps back into the fabric and end up with a smooth rather than fringed finish. Hem stitch was the wrong term. I watched that video anyway-good to know. Thanks.



Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 17:52

Hi caroline, it's great and very inspiring in the group. We two are probably the night talker, it is also equal to my bed time and now is the turn of the other weavers. Greetings to down under!


Posted on Sun, 10/11/2009 - 18:32

 that looks so good!

Plan to go to our diy shop on Wed (when I can get a discount) to get some bits so that I can start too. Is this a good idea? Or just another distraction from things I have to do!!

Posted on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 16:17


   i have been following weaver/instructor Robyn Spady as she explores the world of decorative bandweaving, with gimp, galoons and bullion.  As in the machine manufactured trim in this site. Robyn is putting out a monograph which is due out this month on the subject.  Can't wait to get my copy.  I'm just wondering if this type of work is common as folk art anywhere.  (Actually, Robyn says it isn't, but I still wonder, since some of the folk art is very decorative.)  Do you or any of our members know of any tradition that makes this kind of trim?

   I know this isn't about twill, but didn't know where to post it.  I thought maybe you twillers would know if anybody did.

Aunt Janet

Posted on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 16:38

I don't know anything about it but I did enjoy looking at those images and thank you for posting that link here. Wouldn't you just love to be able to make lace!!

Posted on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 22:55

Uzbek nomadic weavings do use some small bands and trims, some of which are highly decorative. As far as I can tell from photos, these are warp-faced  plain weave pick-ups, using similar techniques to the ones used in this forum. There is a forum for rug and tribal weaving:

so it might be worth checking out any links posted there. Virag has also  been trying to re-create one of these bands on a backstrap, if you check the pick-up thread in this forum I think she posted photos there.

Many of these bands, or similar, are added on to South East Asian fabrics during the weaving of the main fabric:

If you check some of the links on the above web page there are some wonderful photos of tablet weaving, and Lao, Thai and Cambodian weaving. Happy browsing!

Then there are strong European traditions too, many of the links for this are German or Swedish but Google Translator tackles this without too many problems.

Posted on Sat, 11/09/2013 - 14:58

Gimp is used in upholstery trim, so if your into hand made furniture and hand woven coverings and trims, then there you go. But it's not traditional if you go back before the Industrial Revolution. Just look in 100 year old books, showing even older furniture.