Saturday, May 15, 2021

Perfectly Wonderful Plain Weave! And some first thoughts on color and pattern too.

 This post is a work in progress.  Beginning with just a list of starting points for weavers, and hope to add written details, photos, and maybe links as time goes on.

The list:

1.  Let the yarn do the work - 

  • Warp and weft are both a self-patterning yarn.
  • Warp is a fancy/self-patterning yarn and weft is a plain yarn
  • Warp is a plain yarn and weft is a fancy/self-patterning yarn

2.  Let the yarn work, but add some stripes - planned or random, symmetrical or asymmetrical
  • Warp has stripes but weft is plain
  • Warp is plain but weft has stripes 
  • Warp and weft are both striped!  (Think checks and plaids, or just borders on top/bottom/sides, or a grid on a plain field)

3.  Color and weave effects - plain yarn in a dark/light pattern in warp and weft
  • Houndstooth
  • Log Cabin

4.  Yarn special effects - in warp or weft or both, regular pattern or random
  • Use a thicker yarn, or thick and thin yarn, or structured yarn (eyelash, boucle, beehive, ribbon, etc.).  If using for warp, remember to test for strength and stretch and stickiness and abrasion resistance (rubbing off in the holes/slots).  And most important - will it fit through the space in the heddle reed (slots are bigger but not infinite!).  Some flashy textured yarns are best as weft only.
  • Use thin strips of fabric (light weigh for drape or heavy weight for placemats, rugs, etc)(probably best as a weft)
  • Use thrums (small lengths of leftover yarn) and overhand knot them together as you wind onto bobbin or stick.  Let the knots and tails become a textural design element.

5.  And more!  Is there more?  What am I forgetting?

  • Try some fulling (washing more vigorously for thickness) or even hard-fulling/felting
  • Leave a gap (use a cardboard spacer in the weft)(skip slots/holes in the warp) and let the yarns shift (or lightly felt them to hold the openings in place). 

Part Two - Colors

My main advice on this is to look everywhere and steal like an artist.  

If you see a great color pattern somewhere - can you get similar color yarns and translate that to plain weave on your Rigid Heddle?

If you see a great pattern somewhere but don't like the colors - can you use that pattern in plain weave and translate it to colors that you love?

I'll be back later.


  1. Thanks Nancy, these are great suggestions!

  2. Thanks Nancy. Just read through this. Kate