Weaving Large-Scale Patterns with Twill Blocks

Hello all,

I'm not sure if this is the most fitting group to start this conversation in, but it seemed like a good place to start!  I am working with a client who wants to create a diaper weave blanket, based on a 2X2 Herringbone (see draft).  

However, she is hoping to enlage this pattern, like this (although not chevron-- this is just to show the scale).  This seems like something that could only be achieved through double weave, possibly, but I am working with dobby looms that are not capable of doing double weave, as they are set up.  My question is-- is it possible to create a large scale design like this, using twill blocks?  I'd love to chew over this problem with people.  I appreciate any and all brainstorming!  I have 14 harnesses to work with.


Posted on Mon, 10/10/2016 - 23:02

I think I would investigate 1/3 twill blocks instead of the chevrons you have.  With 12 shafts, you can get 3 blocks.

Posted on Tue, 10/11/2016 - 15:44

As what you have essentially is a 4-shaft pattern, and you (if I understand correctly) want to base it on a 2/2 twill... how about just threading "more of the same"?

In the pic below, what you already have is shown in the red bottom square; the green square is more-or-less three times as large.

If what you are after is wider colour "bands", you could go up in shafts - below is a 4/4 twill (thus 8 shafts) - the "bands" are now double the size:

As you have 12 shafts... maybe 6 end floats are too long? Try adding some extra tiedowns - one example:

(To make it quicker, I changed your treadling to "tromp-as-writ", but I'm sure you can manipulate that later)

- if I have misunderstood your question, I apologize!

Posted on Tue, 10/11/2016 - 17:33

Hello!  Thank you both for your replies!  I think the twill bocks might be what I'm looking for.  My question is kind of a strange one, kerstinfroberg, so I applologize for it not being clear!  It was so nice of you to take the time to draft up some possibilities for me.  What I'm hoping to do is to create the herringbone-diamond pattern but blown up, using blocks, rather than just extending the weave across the fabric.  I did a rough concept sketch to show what I'd be hoping to achieve, going off of the 1/3 twill block idea:

Twill Block Sketch

This doesn't include the whole design (too time consuming!), but just the center part of the diamond area:

The sketch is just to better explain what I'm thinking...I appologize if it isn't technically correct in any way!  I've never done anything with blocks before and am still a fairly new weaver, but this seems exciting and promising.  Ultimately, the block design would repeat as it does in the original pattern-- obvisouly, the threading and treadling would be completely different.  Would something like this be possible?  I am going to read up on black patterns over the next few days...

Posted on Tue, 10/11/2016 - 18:56

It is getting late, here, but it looks like you have drafted a 6-block pattern (I may be wrong).

6 blocks of 4-end twill = 24 shafts.

Good luck!

(PS - maybe it is just 4 blocks - 4 x 4-end twill = 16 shafts. OTOH: 4 x 3-end twill = 12 shafts...)



Posted on Tue, 10/11/2016 - 19:01

Looks like you have the right idea. You can draw up a profile draft, which is kind of a short hand sketch. And each black square can be any number of ends and picks in a number of weave structures including 2-tied weaves. Your limited by shafts as to how many blocks you can achieve.

Posted on Wed, 10/12/2016 - 12:18

Great, this all helps...I am going to do some reading on this and try to draft something up.  I appreciate all the help!  I may run the draft by some of you when I have something...

Posted on Thu, 10/13/2016 - 18:27

I've done a lot of reading, and I feel like I understand the concept of unit weaves a little bit better...but I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around it!!  This is all very new to me.  I feel like I have a pretty good handle on profile drafts and understand how they work, but if you have a profile draft sketched out, how to you obtain the threading and the treadling sequences?  How do you know how many blocks your desired pattern requires?  I'm kind of working backwards...

Posted on Thu, 10/13/2016 - 18:41

If you need 4 shafts for a single block, thread shafts 1-4 in straight draw every time you need that block. Then 5-8 for the secone, 8-12 for the third and so on. By "tying" the blocks in the tieup square it is possible to have one or more blocks involved in a series of picks.

Often the simplest way to achieve such patterning is to use long eye heddles and half heddle pickup with a sword for each block. I have a Julia counterbalance set up right now to do a 3 block design on 4 shafts and 4 treadles - with help from pickup half heddle sticks (one for each block) and a sword. I have written a book that describes this way of achieving complex patterning - "When a Single Harness Simply Isn't Enough".

Posted on Thu, 10/13/2016 - 18:52

Thanks for your input, Sara.  This is the pattern I am ultimately hoping to achieve in 3/1 and 1/3 twills...but I'm not sure how to do that, or if it is possible:

Posted on Thu, 10/13/2016 - 20:06

Here is a draft that began on 4 shafts from "The Handweaver's Pattern Directory", by Anne Dixon. Star and Rose.

Then I wanted a deflected doubleweave design. What I did was for every warp thread and pick in the original overshot design, I expanded it to 4 ends and 4 picks and changed the tie-up for deflected doubleweave. This photo is a black and white model to show the similarities.

A much larger motif of the original. Then I added color to the design and this is what is on the loom now. Looks different, but exactly the same structure as the black and white.

 I could use a number of different weaves to enlarge the design.

Posted on Thu, 10/13/2016 - 20:21

From your original post, it looks like you have Fiberworks.  If you draw your design in the "sketchpad" part of the program, you can have it analyze it into a weaving draft for you.


Posted on Fri, 10/14/2016 - 11:30

I do have Fiberworks, danteen! That is very helpful, thank you!  I'll give it a shot.

Posted on Fri, 10/14/2016 - 20:09

Do you like the way the blocks add little steps to the design?

If you want a smoother diagonal line, advancing twill is the clear choice. Have you looked into this yet? In general, network drafting is a good way to express a design in a large scale (light areas and dark areas). I prefer advancing twills that follow the rules for network drafted twill, using an initial that is nice with the number of shafts on my loom. For example, a 5-end advancing twill works with network drafting, initial 4 (an underlying structure of a 4-shaft twill).

If you really want something more like your first draft, use all 14 shafts if that is your maximum and make a 14-shaft tie-up instead of using a 4-shaft tie-up as before.

Bonnie Inouye

Posted on Mon, 10/17/2016 - 14:23

It looks like sketchpad is only an option on the PC version - I am on a mac, and had not seen this option.  The manual says that eventual a similar application will be made for macs, but its not available yet.

Posted on Mon, 10/17/2016 - 14:27

Hmm, interesting.  The computer that has Fiberworks on it is a PC, so I've been working on plugging my design into sketchpad.  I'll post once I've finished.  It seems very fascinating.  I have no way of knowing how it will turn out, or if the program will recognize what I am trying to do.