Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Double Weave, is it double the trouble or double the fun?

Please note that the below post in orange was written by Ms. Valerie Streck, I am so grateful to this fabulous woman for letting me quote her quick comment to a post on an ArtFire forum about a possible Double Weave study group. I have found someone who I am bound and determined to get back into weaving (in some form or another.) So here is Vall, and she has some shops on Ebay and ArtFire that you may be familiar with and I feel that her description of Double Weave deserves its very own blog post. As with others before, you bet your ass, I will give Vall a gratuitous Wefty Woman plug, so y'all be sure to visit her sites, and dammit buy something!

Thank you,
Wefty Woman
One Warped Bitch

**This post is sort of a Part 2 to this one: Primitive Looms and Complex Weave Structures


Hello guys. I’m an ex weaver. I still own a tapestry loom and a small 4 harness table loom, but used to have a beautiful 8 shaft massive colonial Leclerc loom. Had to give it up due to my back not liking it as much as I do. Double weave is actually very easy. It is weaving a folded piece of cloth. It allows for simple, or complex designs (depends on how may harnesses you use) that can be made in widths 2x as wide as your loom.

There is a great book out there called Double Weave Plain and Patterned by Harriet Tidball and I got my copy at

To try and explain it (ok, I am not the best at this) in a plain over and under simple weave you use a repeat of 2 warp threads. (Warp is the threads on the loom under tension; weft is the thread that you weave in and out) Simple weave: over 1 under 2 over 1 under 2 repeat... I hope your following me here. A double weave uses 4 warp threads for a simple over and under. Threads 1&3 are the top layer and 2&4 are the bottom. Basically, you’re dividing your warp threads into 2 single layers. This is much more easily done on a harness loom (you need 4 harnesses) but with a bit of skill, a bit of swearing, head scratching and possible the help of string headles you can pull on, it can be accomplished in a rigid heddle and other simple looms.

I’m not sure if that helped at all.. I wonder if there a you tube video.. off to go see..

Just forgot to add.. Double weave is also used to make tapestries that show up on both sides of the cloth. In that instance you use two different colors for your warp threads 1&3 are one color and 2&4 are another. By picking up the design with sticks (I used to use knitting needles), you can bring the bottom layer up and the upper layer down. In this method, you can use any charted pattern. There’s three main types of tapestry double thread pick up. Single thread, double thread (Mexican) or Finnweave. Finnweave isn’t reversible.

I really miss weaving now.

Basically, most double weave pick up methods form an x. I would have to see a diagram or something. There are lots of forms of DWPU (double weave pick up). Some also use more than 2 layers.

In Toronto, there’s a textile museum that has some historical examples of different dwpu's and I believe the V&A in London does too. I believe the Cooper Union Museum NY has some pieces too.

In the book Double Weave Plain and Patterned, she has pictures of primitive Peruvian looms using the dwpu method. From the picture, it looks like they have simply used 4 sticks as harnesses and have used string headles. By simply pulling up on the harness sticks, you make the shed. Primitive genius.

There’s a good 7 pages of the history and methods of DWPU in the book.

If you have a loom, you really should try it... at least once. It is a lot of fun! I still have a few rugs, table runners and purses I made in DWPU.

-Vall Steck


Is this not a fabulous explanation, and to think the woman wrote this on the fly in a damn forum post...imagine that!!!! I love this woman!

And now for the gratuitous plugging....

Vall's shop is called Chivalry Beads and she sells on ArtFire.

(Dang if it does not have "val" in the shop name, very clever!)

She also has a blog, so be sure to do your best and follow what she has to say!

The following are links to her blog and sites, and thank you warped bitch ya!


PB::JJ::WW said...

Vall, Please post a comment about your experience with Peter Collingwood...I think many would be interested in reading about it. Thanks!

(See, I told you I was going to become a pest!)

-Wefty Woman:P

vall said...

Hello all. Im a self taught weaver and read alot by Peter Collingwood. For any beginner weaver you really should check his stuff out and his son Jason Collingwoods stuff too. Although I still tapestry weave, I no longer have a large loom. I do miss it, but I found I was just using it as a tapesty loom lol. Happy Weaving everyone. Cheers, Vall

PB::JJ::WW said...

I just wanted to post this cause I am very excited. Wefty Woman
was mentioned on Syne Mitchell's ( http://
) She is
interviewing Pam Howard, the woman who taught me how to weave.

It is a very interesting WeaveCast they discuss tablet I suggest you do something constructive today and click on the link above and listen to learn!

This WeaveCast is an excellent format to learn about weaving. It is almost like a NPR radio show (Just in case any of you are new to the site.)

Thank you Syne...
This is very exciting for me, because I think it will increase the traffic to this Wefty Woman blog.

I am very happy because I have snagged a couple new people to become interested in learning to weave, which was and is the main mission of Wefty Woman!

So, I just had to shout it out.... I am "One Happy Warped Bitch"

-Wefty Woman

diane's mom said...

I am contemplating weaving a liturgical stole in doubleweave. I think I'll order that book Vall mentioned. I'm planning a summer study of doubleweave (maybe longer). I tried once many years ago but I was a new weaver and didn't do very well on a rigid heddle loom. I now have a 4-shaft Baby Wolf.


PB::JJ::WW said...

Nancy, that is wonderful. I am currently building a group to learn how to do a Double Weave (on simple looms, i.e. inkle) by using the warp faced technique described by Martha Stanley in her article "Saha Weave and it's Double Cloth Cousin" In Celebration of the Curious Mind, Interweave Press, 1983.

I think some people believe that Double Weave is sort of like a tube woven fabric, however I am not quite certain that this is actually the case. Anyone have some input as to various forms of the Double Weave structure and also information regarding the functional use of the Double Cloth?

-Wefty Woman

Tisserande said...

Double weave is a fascinating structure. I don't understand it fully but from my (limited) experience my understanding is that it can be tubular or open one side (so that you get double width when removed from the loom) or it can be interchanged so that the two layers alternate or it can be deflected so that parts of the weave are double and parts single. My "pupil" who I recently taught to weave is attemtpting double weave for the first time. We have been planning a blanket for her to try - it will be woven the full loom width (36") so she will finish up with a 72" wide blanket, magic!


PB::JJ::WW said...

Gill, so double weave can be a tube cloth, woven on the loom. A cloth that is twice the size of the width of the loom (sort of like a sheet folded in half down the length of the fabric) and also a cloth that has two fronts? By this I mean that both sides of the cloth look the same except that the colors are transposed.

Attention Warped Bitches. ;)

Hear this Call Out to all you Weave Gurus:

There has to be more to this structure...Wefty Woman readers please post a comment and help others understand the real "neat" effects that can be done with Double Weave!

-Wefty Woman

PB::JJ::WW said...

Karen Radcliff (she has posted some very enlightening comments on the Primitive Loom blog entry) Posted an interesting bit on her blog

that makes reference to a link on Double Weave:


I just thought I would post these here for more information. This guide is fabulous because it is a visual one.

-Wefty Woman