The Unbearable Coolness of Weaving

IMG_3330Want to know something really cool about weaving?

You can do the hard work of setting up the loom once and get lots of very different- looking products out of it!

The long vertical, or warp, threads are set in one pattern of color and a base pattern that governs, to a certain extent, what you can do.

Just the warp threads

Just the warp threads

But depending on what you do with the horizontal, or weft, threads, you can get multiple looks, and they can be quite different from each other.

For instance, here’s the dishtowel I showed you a while ago. Green, brown and tan stripes in a herringbone pattern. Nice! The weft (horizontal) threads are all done in the tan thread.



I finished the length I wanted for that towel and then decided to switch the way I was pressing the treadles of the loom. My second dishtowel looks like this:


German Bird’s Eye

It still has the green, brown, and tan stripes running vertically. I’m still using the tan thread for the horizontal weft. But now I have a bird’s eye pattern! How cool is that?

In fact, if you look carefully, you can see that, in between the first pattern and the second, there’s another simpler variation. I wove that in as a section I can cut and hem when I’m done, but I think it’s attractive in its own right.

A third, ridged, pattern at the bottom of this photo

A third, ridged, pattern at the bottom of this photo

I should also point out that, if I changed the color of the warp (horizontal) thread from tan to, say, dark green, the look would change dramatically again!

All told, there are five different patterns that can be achieved this threading of the loom, called German Bird’s Eye. I expect to do at least one more of them for the third dishtowel on this warp. Maybe I’ll change the color of the warp thread, too!

I think you know that I won’t be able to resist showing them all to you when I’m done!


45 thoughts on “The Unbearable Coolness of Weaving

  1. Lovelylovelylovely!!! It is clear you are in your happy weaving place. I personally think you should frame your distowels and hang them on the wall…too pretty to use! Have a great Weekend, xo Johanna

    • Thanks, Joyce. The eye strain doesn’t seem to happen when ‘m actually weaving but, rather, when I’m “dressing” the loom–that’s the part where you put the vertical threads into the little wire heddles. I need to take a lot of breaks!

  2. Kerry, your color choices and weaving are lovely! Looking forward to seeing the towels when they come off the loom. A great resource for multiple patterns on the same warp is Marguerite Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book. A single threading can yield so many possibilities!

    • Thank you, Jean–that means a lot, coming from a more experienced weaver! And these very patterns came from Davison’s book–it, and Chandler’s book, are my bibles!

    • Thanks, Liz! I’ve been weaving for less than a year, after taking a class, at the local arts center, from a very good weaver. I’ve been very happy to see that it’s possible to weave credible items, even though I’m a beginner!

  3. Isn’t it exciting! So many possibilities! I really like the second pattern and look forward to seeing some more. Oh, and yes, please do change the colour of the weft, it would be great to see what then appears!

    • Yes, I think some of them are very old, although the book I have doesn’t always talk about the history. Maybe, at this point, no one knows who first came up with a design.

  4. Each pattern is amazing! I love how you are exploring “the what happens next” of weaving. Yes please share. I agree with Johanna, these should be framed or at least displayed for their incredible beauty! I can’t wait to see more – no pressure!

    • The “what happens next” is the best part about weaving, I think–the possibilities are literally endless and there’s this whole analytical component that appeals to me. But no framing for them–they have work to do!

  5. Beautiful. I have a silk woven scalf – which is very old now – and the pattern is like the second fabric you are weaving. The dyes are natural so very subtle. Someone said to me that they had hoped for a more ‘spectacular’ material but woven fabric often needs close inspection to see its true beauty.

  6. Pingback: Love Those "Hands at Home"

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