PLEASE NOTE that this is an intermediate level technique…not for beginners! I suggest that beginners start out with the Warp Substitution tutorial here which will allow you weave motifs on a solid color background without having to deal with the extra manipulations required for double weave.
There are additional instructions for the inkle loom at the end of this tutorial.
The band at left is an example of one woven in one-weft double weave technique.
This technique will allow you to weave motifs on a solid plain-weave background without having long floats on the reverse. The motifs on the back side of the weaving look exactly the same except that they have their colors reversed.
The band is warp-faced and has two layers-hence the name “double” weave. One weft weaves both the upper and lower layers and a thick sturdy band is produced. Here, in Bolivia, it is quite often used to make belts. My example above is the strap for a Bolivian charango.
THE PATTERN CHART.
Patterns for this weave are charted on ”diamond” paper, each diamond representing one warp.
Charted above at left are the first rows of the ”star” pattern on the woven band pictured above on the right. Count the diamonds on the chart. The first 7 have been counted for you. There are 17 diamonds and, therefore, 17 warps in this design. The first row has four brown warps, represented by the four black spots, forming the pattern on a background of white warps.
This is the kind of chart we will be using for this weave but our pattern will be simpler. You will see that the star is made up basically of triangles. We will be weaving triangles, diamonds and diagonals gradually building up our designs on a sample band.
PATTERN CHART FOR A ONE-WEFT DOUBLE WEAVE SAMPLER.
THERE ARE 15 WARPS IN THIS PATTERN CHART.
This is my suggestion for a sampler band in this new technique. This will help you learn to make basic shapes while practicing the double weave technique. You can make and print out your own ”diamond” charts using this site.
You will be weaving triangles and a variety of diamonds, gradually putting shapes together to make a sextagon. You can also weave horizontals and verticals. After finishing the sample shapes, draw some of your own designs on a chart and continue experimenting. You can easily weave letters with this technique.
WARPING FOR ONE-WEFT DOUBLE WEAVE.
Here is a short video showing how I set up to warp a double weave keyfob (pictured below) with brown borders and a red and gold design. I wind 3 revolutions for the brown borders for this particular piece and 16 for the red and gold pattern area.
THE TUTORIAL PROJECT – a sample band.
I suggest using 3 colors for this project – one color for the border and two colors for the pattern area. In the pattern area, one color will be for the background and one for the motif. Make sure that there is a good contrast between the two colors you choose for the pattern area.
The weft is usually the same color as the borders.
Divide your border color into TWO balls as you need to wind two strands together. I recommend winding two revolutions for the border of your sample band.
Cut the border color at the start warp stake and tie on the two pattern colors. These will be wound together for 15 complete revolutions for the pattern chart we are working on in this tutorial.
STEP 3- Cut the pattern colors at the start stake and tie on both strands of the border color. Wind two complete revolutions of the border color.
Since writing this tutorial, I have done some experiments trying to improve the appearance of the borders in one-weft double weave and have found that if I start and end my warp with a single strand of my border color, the edges of my bands are neater.
Wind one revolution with a single strand of the border color and then continue winding doubled strands as per the above instructions. Finish with one revolution with a single strand.
This helps bridge the gap between the upper and lower layers of the double weave and stops the outer edge warp from kind of “rolling off” the side of the band as you pass the weft from upper to lower layer.
It is this tendency to “roll off” that sometimes makes the edges of the double weave bands look a little untidy.
I love the way this little trick so improves the edges of my double weave bands!
I have chosen my three colors for my sample band…beige for the borders, with red and white for the pattern area. I will be able to weave white motifs on a red background and then change to red motifs on white, if I want, as my weaving progresses.
This is what your warp will look like once it is off the warping board. I am using very thick (12wpi) cotton yarn for this band as it photographs well.
At left you can see what your warp will look like once it is off the warping board. My cross sticks are in place and taped together for security.
In the picture on the right you can clearly see the arrangement of the warps in pairs across each stick. The warp is just lying on the floor and is not under tension so the strands are crossed and not looking so tidy!
All the warps passing over the lower cross stick will be enclosed in your continuous string heddles. Each heddle will enclose a PAIR of warps – one red and one white in the pattern area and two beiges on the border.
All the warps passing over the upper cross stick will be enclosed in a shed loop or, if you prefer, controlled with a shed stick. Just replace the upper cross stick with a thicker stick. Don’t forget to tie a piece of string or yarn from one end of the stick to the other so that if it falls out of the shed you won’t lose the shed!!
Here is a short video if you need extra clarification of which warps need to go into heddles. In this video clip I am working with a warp that has a three-revolution border of brown threads with sixteen revolutions of red and gold for the pattern. All the warps which are passing over the orange stick will go into helddles. The blue stick will then be replaced with a thicker dowel which will serve as the shed stick.
ABOVE LEFT: Install your heddles and shed loop or shed stick. ABOVE RIGHT: Straighten out the warps on the loom bars. In my instructions I will call the two sheds – HEDDLE SHED and STICK SHED. As you have wound your warp in pairs, the warp at this moment looks much wider than your woven band will be.
WEAVING THE BACKGROUND COLOR.
(I have chosen to have a white background so white will show on the upper face of the band and red will show on the reverse.)
1. THE BORDERS….
ABOVE LEFT: I have opened the heddle shed and have my hand in the shed. ABOVE RIGHT: I am going to pick and keep one of the beige warps from the first pair of border warps. The warp on the index finger of my right hand will be kept. The one lying across the fingers of my left hand will be discarded. I do the same with the other border pair.
2. THE PATTERN AREA.
Now I am going to pick and keep all the white warps in the pattern area and discard all the reds.
ABOVE LEFT: Here I am holding the two picked beige border warps in my right hand and am working with the first pair of pattern warps. The white warp on my index finger will be kept and the red will be discarded. ABOVE RIGHT: Working my way across to the left, I have picked 6 white warps. The discarded reds can be seen below. As I pick the whites I pass them to my right hand.
ABOVE LEFT: Once all the white warps have been picked along with the two beige borders, I place my beater/sword within, beat, prop open the shed and pass my weft from right to left. ABOVE RIGHT: Now I place a stick within this shed (the shed through which I just passed the weft).
I HAVE NOW WOVEN THE UPPER LAYER OF MY DOUBLE WEAVE BAND.
WEAVING THE LOWER LAYER…
There are two steps to weaving one ”row”. First you weave the upper layer and then the lower one. I have just picked all the white warps in the pattern area to weave the upper layer. Now we will weave the lower one. I need to create a NEW shed in order to do this.
ABOVE LEFT: I have just passed the weft and placed a stick within the shed. ABOVE RIGHT: Now I open the stick shed, place my beater within and draw it down toward the weaving line. Holding the stick and the beater together in both hands I lift them up.
ABOVE LEFT: I have the stick and beater grasped in my left hand. I am tilting the warp so you can see the NEW shed that has been created. You can clearly see the red warps and the borders that will form the lower layer of this double weave. Place your hand within this new shed. ABOVE RIGHT: Now I can remove the stick and beater and place the beater within the NEW shed. Beat.
You have now completed the first ”row” having woven a white layer with beige borders for the upper surface of the weave and a red layer with beige borders for the lower surface. You can now weave the next row. Once again you will pick one beige warp from each pair of beige border warps and then proceed picking all the white warps and discarding their red partners but this time you will be working in the stick shed..
ALWAYS TRY TO ALIGN THE TWO COLORS IN YOUR PATTERN AREA PAIRS OF WARPS IN A CONSISTENT ORDER.
IN THE SAMPLE BAND ABOVE, I HAVE TRIED TO ALWAYS KEEP THE WHITE WARP ON THE RIGHT OF ITS RED PARTNER. SO, I PICK THE WHITE AND THEN DROP THE RED, PICK THE NEXT WHITE AND THEN DROP THE RED. MAINTAIN THE ORDER WHITE, RED, WHITE, RED ETC…….. If you don’t do this you will end up with your warps spiralling around each other. Keep an eye on what is going on with your warps up beyond the shed stick. Some spiralling will occur but it shouldn’t be excessive.
Keep weaving background and get accustomed to the sequence of moves.
WEAVING THE MOTIFS…
ABOVE LEFT: Here is the first triangle motif on its chart. In the first row, the warps have been numbered counting from right to left. First there are three background color warps, then nine motif color warps followed by another three background color warps. ABOVE RIGHT: This is how it looks woven.
On the pattern chart you will see a heavy black zig zag line on the left and right of the motifs. The zig zag line points to the RIGHT in the FIRST row and then points to the LEFT in the second row (labeled on the above chart).
This means that you need to begin in the shed which has the first pair of red and white warps on the right. Look at the picture above.
Here I have the shed stick shed open and the first pair of red and white warps is ON THE EXTREME RIGHT. I am holding this pair in my right hand. The first pair of red and white warps in the heddle shed, which I am holding in my left hand, is on the left of this pair. So I need to start my pattern in the stick shed.
ABOVE LEFT: First, I pick one warp from each pair of border warps. Then I pick the first three white background warps according to the motif chart. The red partners are dropped. The picked whites are passed to my right hand. ABOVE RIGHT: Now I have to pick 9 red warps. I am going to first drop the white warp in this pair and then pass the red warp to my right hand.
Now I just need to pick the 3 remaining white warps for the background.
First pass a white warp to the right hand and then drop its red partner.
The picture below left shows the completed picked shed.
ABOVE LEFT: Place your sword in this shed and pass your weft from right to left. You have woven the upper layer and now need to create the NEW shed to weave the lower layer. Create the NEW shed as you did when you were weaving plain background…
- -place a stick in the shed
- -open the opposite shed and place the sword within
- -lift the stick and sword and locate the NEW shed below
- -place your sword in this NEW shed, beat
- -pass the weft
- -reopen the opposite shed, place the sword within and beat.
Now you are ready to weave the second row. The second row comprises (reading right to left)…………..3 background warps, 8 pattern warps, 4 background warps. Above right, you can see what your triangle motif will look like on the back of the band.
HAVE FUN WITH THIS!!
I have used this technique to make straps for guitars and charangos as well as bookmarks (in fine yarns), mug rugs and hotpads. A few examples follow…
nks to more pattern cahrts for this technique can be found here on my blog.
Here are two videos showing me using this technique to weave a Mexican motif mug rug. The weaving method is exactly the same as that described above except that I am inserting the sticks in a slighty different way and order which I find a bit more efficient particularly on wider warps.
VIDEO PART ONE…
VIDEO PART TWO…
My weaving teachers in Potosi, Bolivia taught me this technique using only two sheds. However, weavers in other areas often set up as a four-shed method using extra string heddles. The combined dark and light threads from one shed are separated into two sheds…one all light and one all dark. The same is done for the other shed. I always use these extra heddles when I am working with very fine thread or with lots of threads…
In the example above, I am using 60/2 silk…way too fine to be picking up threads by hand. Using extra heddles means that I can raise the dark and light sheds and place swords within those sheds to form a cross. Then I can just scoop up groups of colors with a pick-up stick. This also prevents having to watch out for the spiraling that happens when you use only two sheds.
Here’s the silk bookmark I made for my nephew with the 60/2 silk warp. It has one of his favorite inspirational quotes (he is a triathlete)…
In this piece there were LOTS of ends of 20/2 cotton and so using four sets of heddles made sense here.
If I am weaving narrow bands I keep things simple and just stick with my two sheds.
WHAT ABOUT THE INKLE LOOM?
Here are some pictures showing what double weave looks like on the inkle loom. I will call the inkle loom sheds the Heddle Shed and the Open Shed to differentiate between the two.
Open the open shed, place the beater within and beat. Now you are back to the beginning except that this time you will pick all the blue warps in the open shed.