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Basic Weave Structures

Supplies:

  • Frame for weaving (can be cardboard with slits cut, or wooden stretcher bars for embroidery) warped with sturdy string or yarn
  • Tapestry needle threaded with about a yard of sturdy string or yarn
  • Popsicle sticks for holding sheds open
  • Fork for beating wefts into place

For this class, we won't use heddles to create a shed; we'll just pick out the shed with the needle. 

Anchoring the first weft thread: For your first row, use the needle to pick out the shed. Put your finger in the shed (on the side where the tail will be) and pull the weft through until only a few inches are sticking out. Now wrap that tail around the outermost warp thread and stick it into the shed you're holding open with your finger.

Starting new weft threads: Keep weaving until you run out of weft, but when you get to the end, put a popsicle stick into the shed to hold it open. Thread a new weft onto your needle and continue weaving, allowing the two threads to overlap for an inch or more. If you are using very bulky yarn and get too much of a bulge, you can unspin the overlapping ends and pull out one or more strands of yarn. 

In the directions below, I will assume you are weaving from the top down because it's easiest to show the order of the wefts starting with the first weft at the top of the list. Be aware that if you weave from the bottom up you will still get the correct weave, but for Twills S and Z will be reversed.

U= Go Under one weft thread

O= Go Over one weft thread

For each numbered weft, repeat the pattern all the way across the warp. Make sure you read the U's and O's from right to left for rows where the thread goes right to left! After you do one row for each numbered weft, start over at weft #1.

Tabby - also known as plain weave, linen weave. The simplest of weaves, and the strongest because it has the maximum possible number of interlacements.

  1. O   U
  2. U   O

 

Basketweave - Like tabby, only with two threads in each direction

  1. O   O   U   U
  2. O   O   U   U
  3. U   U   O   O
  4. U   U   O   O

Twill - Each weft thread goes in the same over/under pattern, but is offset by one thread from the previous weft thread. 

The under/over pattern of the twill is usually noted by two numbers with a slash between them, like 3/1. The number before the slash is how many threads a warp thread goes over, and the number after the slash is how many threads a warp thread goes under. Note that the back face of the fabric will show the opposite pattern of the front, so once you take the fabric off the loom, you can't tell whether it was originally a 3/1 or a 1/3.

Twills have a wale. Wales can be S or Z. Again, the back face of the fabric shows the reverse wale.

2/2 Twill, Z-wale

  1. O   O   U   U
  2. O   U   U   O
  3. U   U   O   O
  4. U   O   O   U

2/2 Twill, S-wale

  1. U   U   O   O
  2. O   U   U   O
  3. O   O   U   U
  4. U   O   O   U

1/3 Twill, Z-wale

  1. O   O   O   U
  2. O   O   U   O
  3. O   U   O   O
  4. U   O   O   O

1/2 Twill, Z-wale

  1. O   O   U
  2. O   U   O
  3. U   O   O

Satin

Satin is a weave that emphasizes the continuous warp yarn, with as few interruptions of weft as possible. Weft tie-downs are staggered, so it requires 5 or more shafts to weave.

5-end Satin

  1. U   U   U   U   O
  2. U   O   U   U   U
  3. U   U   U   O   U
  4. O   U   U   U   U
  5. U   U   O   U   U

Sateen

Sateen is a weave that emphasizes the continuous weft yarn, with as few interruptions of warp as possible. Warp tie-downs are staggered, so it requires 5 or more shafts to weave. You'll notice that this structure is the reverse side of a satin.

5-end Sateen

  1. O   O   O   O   U
  2. O   U   O   O   O
  3. O   O   O   U   O
  4. U   O   O   O   O
  5. O   O   U   O   O

All content copyright the author, Jennifer Munson munson.jennifer@gmail.com The author makes no guarantees for instructions and recipes on this site; neither does she accept responsibility for their outcomes. Verbatim copies may be made for educational purposes only provided they contain original copyright marking.

This page created February 4, 2002

Last updated February 23, 2005