Friday, 1 March 2019

Bath mats in double weave 2

This wonderful illustrated book is an inspiration for any weaver to try double weave. It is a timeless classic.

Double weave on Four to Eight Shafts by Ursina Arn-Grischott.
Published by Interweave Press in 1999.  ISBN 1-883010-74-8

Using a double weave pattern with two blocks gives more flexibility to design.

Bath Mats

Warp and Weft: 2/3 cotton set at 10 epi for each layer

A double warp is used therefore sett at 20 epi.
Twelve shafts are needed for this pattern. There are three blocks


Black   16   60   12   60   12   60   16
White   16   60   12   60   12   60   16

Here is the drawdown. I simplified the drawdown so that you can see the blocks clearly.  For each square the number of threads is 60 white and 60 black so 120 heddles are needed. In the diagram only 24 warp ends are shown.  For the space in between each block 32 heddles are needed but only only 4 are shown. This makes the diagram smaller so that it will fit onto the page and you can see the threading and treadling clearly.

From the diagram you can work out which treadling to use for different effects.  If you want all white on the surface and black on the reverse use treadling 1 - 4.

If you want all black on the front and all white on the reverse use treadling 13 - 16.

For each of the two blocks you can use the correct four treadles to place the block.

Drawdown showing possible treadling order to produce different effects. 

 You can vary the pattern in many ways.


When making the warp, use a strand of white and a strand of black for each group.  The white and black ends are threaded as shown. The black ends are threaded through the odd numbered shafts and the white ends are on the even numbered shafts.


Note that the weft is alternately white and black. Two shuttles are required.

I wove two mats.  The width was 23.6 however with double weave and cotton this will shrink considerably.

Generous allowances were made for take up and ends of the mats.

Two mats 

Here is a closer look at one of the mats.

Here you can see the two sides of the mats. I deliberately varied the height of the 'squares' as it is difficult to end up with an exact square in double weave. I counted how many weft throws for each square. You can alter this to  make your own variation. The  warp and weft shrink when off the loom and washed.

To start and end the mats I used a thinner cotton yarn to weave 12 picks in plain weave in the same colour as the warp.  This ensured that I could turn in the hem to the inside of the mat without adding too much extra thickness.

Here is a close up of the hem. I think that it is neat.

The second mat is shorter and I used a different size of square in the pattern.

Black dominant

As you can see at the selvedges, it is difficult to keep the black and white from showing. The two wefts should be twisted around each other so that the edge is as neat as possible. 

White dominant

I enjoy double weave but it is time consuming both the warp and weave. I have only used thicker threads. One day I will try a pattern with fine silk.

Happy Weaving

Susan J Foulkes  March 2019

Friday, 1 February 2019

Sienna: City of Art

Last September we spent a week in Sienna.  It is a beautiful city and there is so much to see and do I feel sure that we will go back.

Wandering around Sienna, I found two shops that had a working loom.  In one shop,  the loom was in use so naturally I stopped to have a chat. On my Facebook page there is a short video of a weaver in a shop.  It was wonderful to see and to talk to a handweaver. If you go to Sienna do remember to visit this lovely shop.

The shop

Weaver at work

Inside the shop were two looms, one of which was in use.

See my Facebook page for a short video of her weaving on her large loom in her shop.

The Pinacoteca Nazionale is a wonderful art gallery.  We spent two afternoons there as there is so much to see. The web site can give a you a short tour of some of the paintings.

I am taking a part time MA in Art history and art and architecture have always been important when we go on holiday. The Pinacoteca Nazionale is a national museum in Siena. One exhibition was particularly interesting. The theme of the exhibition display was how paintings can inform us about   contemporary life in Sienna at the time they were painted.

One aspect that I noticed was the bed covers in lovely check patterns.There were several lovely patterns.  Here is one of them. The painting showed a miracle.  An infant had fallen out of a cot and had died. He was brought back to life by the Blessed Agostino Novello who flew to the rescue. The painting is by Simone Martini and dates from the early 1320's.

 The bedspread is on the left hand side of the painting.

I thought that it would make a handsome check for a tea towel. Looking through my stash of yarn I found a selection of colours that I thought would be suitable.


Cottolin in four shades for the warp and the weft.

Weave Structure

Plain weave.

Warp colour order

Orange             20         20
pale orange              8
off white                               30      30
white                                           8

Add 4 ends in orange to each side.
Total number of warp ends=  510


Here is the pattern.

There are five orange stripes and four wider off-white stripes across the width of the cloth.

Drawdown for the tea towels

Ends per inch for the warp.

There are 20 ends per inch
In a 10 dent reed thread 2 ends per dent.

Width in reed = 26 inches.

The weft is woven at about 20 epi.
Follow the colour order for the warp.

How I finish the towels

  • Cut the towels off the loom.
  • Iron, then cut off the waste thread

  • Now iron the first turn down.  The first turn down is the 10 rows of 16/2 cotton and a couple of rows of the cottolin. The finer thread at the beginning makes the hem less bulky.

Ready for ironing. 

  • Iron the first turn-down.
  • Now turn down again to the depth of hem that you want. Iron the turn-down. Then place pins to hold the hem in place.

Now run tacking stitches along the hem to hold it in place. Iron once again and the towel is now ready to hem on the sewing machine.

                            before washing                                 after washing

width                             63 cm                                           58.5 cm

length                             69 cm                                          66 cm

I was amazed that both tea towels turned out to be exactly the same length and width. Usually I find that one tea towel is longer than the other!

Hanging tag for the dish towels.

I wove three different tags.  The first tag I wove using a new type of heddle which I had seen on a YouTube video.

I bought the heddle from Stephan and tried it at home. It is very simple to warp. I placed it in a holder so that it would be upright when threading. I tried it with a backstrap. It is not quite as firm as a conventional heddle and does bend slightly in use. It is more stable when used in a loom like the one on the video.

Here are the tags that I wove.

The warp and weft are cottolin in the same colours as the tea towels.

Tape 1. 

Tag 1 woven on new heddle. 


Orange   4      4               4      4
White         2           2          2
Beige                  4      4

Total number of warp ends = 30

I made two variations of this pattern. For one pattern I swapped the white and beige colours.

Tape 2.

The two tape variations. I only used one of these for the towels.

Patterns 2 and 3


Beige                     8      1     8
White                         1     1
Orange                                       8      1    8
pale orange                                     1    1

total number of warp ends = 38

My band weaving book 

Designing your own tags is fun.

My book The Art of Simple Band Weaving not only has many designs but also shows you how to create your own variations.

It is available through

It is also available as an e-book for an IPad.


Once the tea towels had been hemmed I put them into a washing machine for a normal wash cycle.

                      Before washing              After washing

Length                   69 cm                                 68 cm
Width                     65 cm                                 63 cm

Two finished tea towels

I am very pleased with the finished tea towels.

There were of course many other interesting textiles on the paintings.  I will be making more tea towels later.

Here is a link to a painting we saw by Lorenzetti called the Birth of the Virgin .

The bed spread is interesting but look at the lovely towels held by the servants on the right panel.

Susan J Foulkes February 2019

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

The New Year and Welldoing

The New Year is a time for reflection.

In these turbulent times, it is important that we find a calm space.

Last September there was a lovely article in the Guardian newspaper in the UK

Craft has the power to save us all - a wooden spoon at a time.

Here is an extract from the article by Rhik Sammader

It doesn’t even matter if you’re good or not. There is something about making things that many of us are missing out on. An inherent mindfulness, a state of flow. It needn’t be solitary – the emphasis at Make More is on group workshops and skill sharing. It’s an essential way to un-knit our current crisis of mental health. There’s a word doing the rounds, “welldoing”, which points to why craft is great. Creative expression provides a tangible reminder that we are more than our use to advertisers, more than data to be sold. Making connects us to our species’ essence: we are Team Thumb.

What’s more exciting is that the philosophy behind all this could have a deeper impact than simply therapeutic benefit. “Engaging with our products, repairing and maintaining them, rather than expecting to get things cheaper, from further away … at a systems level, that’s a different economic paradigm,” explains Tom Mansfield, who runs the talks here, and is involved with a number of social enterprises, including the League of Pragmatic Optimists, which bills itself as “a club of doers, committed to making the world a better place”. He cites community-owned energy projects: selling renewable energy to the grid, using the profits to fund community gardens, apprenticeships, and more energy projects.

I love the term:   Welldoing

  • Don't use all your precious free time just for passive entertainment. 

             Do and create something using your own hands, heart and head. It  is so satisfying. 

  • Don't just click and buy. 

                                  Do and make something yourselves. Express your own creativity however humble the result might be. This creative expression 'provides a tangible reminder that we are more than our use to advertisers, more than data to be sold.'

  • Don't just throw away.

                                   Do and repair and maintain.

Some inspirational quotes for the New Year.

Theo Moorman's book 'Weaving as an Art Form' was written in the 1970s.  She had noted how young people were turning to crafts.

'As Noah, hearing and seeing the waters rising, must have recognised the power put into his hands in the form of the simplest possible tools and materials, the hammers, nails and planks of wood which were to save the living world, so perhaps spinners and weaver today treasure and revere their spinning wheels, loom, and fleeces when they hear the daily news that pours from radio and television.'

'What dark, or melancholy passions can overshadow his heart, whose senses are always full of so many various productions, of which the least progress, and success will affect him with an innocent joy?'   a quote from 1669

Last year I read a fascinating book  called Finding Flow: the psychology of engagement with everyday life.  by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  (published in 1997). Although I thought that there was not enough about craft work in the book,  this quote was particularly penetrating.

He reminds us that:

'All folk art - the songs, the fabrics, the pottery and carvings that give each culture its particular identity and renown - is the result of common people striving to express their best skill in the time left free from work.'                  

I have taken this to heart and wondered what am I going to create this year? Where will my interest in weaving take me?

I  want to share my love of weaving in my blog so do follow my creative journey and find your own space for the creative activities that you love.

Happy New Year to everyone. 

Here is a link to a fascinating article in the Observer magazine  20th January 2019.

As one of the weavers says, '

'Each stool takes two to three hours to weave. “It’s pretty laborious sometimes,” she admits, “but as long as there aren’t any tangles, you get into it. That’s what I’m aiming for – that elusive flow,” she continues. “I guess that’s why anyone does anything labour intensive and complicated, because that’s the reward: that state of mind.”'

Here is a link to my previous January 1st blogs.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Weaving for Christmas

This year I decided to weave some designs to make my own Christmas cards.

Drawdown without tabby

This design is an overshot pattern.  This drawdown does not show the tabby.

Christmas tree design

Here is the drawn down with tabby inserted.

Drawdown with tabby
This pattern uses 8 shafts. Use a floating selvedge to catch in the threads at the side.


I used 2/20 cotton for the background and tabby

The green is three strands of embroidery cotton and the yellow is some gold yarn I found in my sewing box.

On the drawdown,  the blue indicates the white tabby. If I had used white on the drawdown, it would have been difficult to see the pattern.

On the loom.

Here is the weaving on the loom.

I also wove some snowflakes in silver.

Snowflake design

Here is the drawdown with the tabby inserted.

Drawdown with the tabby weft

The drawdown shows the snowflake in yellow and the tabby and background in blue.

snowflake on the loom

I wove each design in groups of two. The plain weave section before and after enabled a hem to be sewn to keep the weaving from unravelling.  I left space of unwoven warp in between each piece.

Off the loom, the strip of weaving showed reed marks.  These did become less after a day or two but I decided to wash some of the pieces.  The loom marks disappeared.

I hemmed each piece of weaving at the top and bottom.

Christmas Cards

Here are 6 of the Christmas cards on display. I cut two slits into the front of the card and threaded the weaving through top and bottom. For the inside of the card I printed messages on plain white paper.

Yes, they did take a long time to plan and weave.

Decorations for the Christmas Tree

If you  want a quicker project for Christmas, what about weaving some Christmas decorations for your tree.

My friend Nancy in the States sent me some lovely woven hangings for my tree.

Christmas tree decoration
Here is one of them. It is just under 4 inches in length and sparkles in the Christmas lights.
Thank you Nancy for a lovely present.

There was a lovely article in the Guardian recently about Advent Calendars.

'In simpler times, the thrill of Advent calendars involved finding a picture of a Christmas tree or holly sprig hidden behind the cardboard door. But then the tradition was hijacked by upmarket retailers, and you came to expect a craft gin miniature, artisan cheese or mindfulness tips. This year, though, traditionalists are fighting back.'

The article was about crafting your own calendar.  A kit is available but it would be so easy to make your own; for example, a  hanging mobile of little bags each with a number and containing simple things. It does not have to be expensive or complicated.

It is so easy to click and buy but so much more satisfying to make and give.

with very best wishes to everyone for this festive time. 

Susan J Foulkes December 2018


I belong to Durham Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers.  One of our wonderful members has just written this blog for the web site.  I would like to share it.

Craft is a wonderful way to bring people together - old and young - experienced and learners.  Soo reflects on two Guild events.  Do read it - and share. 

'It was simply the happiest of days'. 

I have just been reading Theo Moorman's book 'Weaving as an Art Form'. She has a lovely quote at the beginning.

'..what constitutes the dignity of a craft is that it creates a fellowship, that it binds men together...'

Another Postscript

This year I taught two workshops at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford about Sami band weaving.  Sharon attended one of the workshops and sent me this lovely photograph of bands she has woven.

Coffee bags made by Sharon with handwoven ties. 

She makes coffee bags out of leather and wove the beautiful straps to tie the top.  She tells me that she really enjoyed the workshop. The look of these wonderful woven bands shows that she has learned all the skills needed. They are so colourful.
Thank you Sharon for letting me share this photograph.

Happy Weaving

Susan J Foulkes December 2018

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Hakata-ori textiles


19 November 2018 – 31 January 2019

In November I went to see an exhibition at the Embassy of Japan in London. There is one room filled with beautiful examples of weaving. I had not heard of the Hakata-ori before and I was delighted to be introduced to another woven belt design.

Two handweavers were mentioned. Ogawa Zenzaburo and his son Kisaburo Zenzaburo.

If you have time, do go and visit this lovely exhibition.

'Protecting the heritage and customs of the past whilst preparing for the future is essential for any traditional craft to prosper in modern times.'

Unfortunately, photography was not allowed but I have searched the web so that you can see some of these lovely woven pieces.

The stripes separating the pattern stripes are also important. There are two main designs; nakagomochi and ryogomochi

Hakata-ori are wide warp faced belts woven in a very fine silk thread. The colours and patterns are traditional and have particular meanings. Go-shiki Kenjo   go-shiki means five colours and Kenjo means a gift for the emperor.
Righteousness: purple is a noble colour and represents repose and grace.
Benevolence: green is the colours of spring and represents calmness, tranquillity and peace.
Courtesy: red represents true sincerity and symbolises happiness and wealth
Wisdom: navy is a powerful and dignified colour and represents confidence.
Trust: yellow is the colour of earth.
Here is an example of the Go-shiko Kenjo design.

Go-shiki Kenjo: A close up of a belt showing the traditional patterns and stripes.

This foundation promotes Japanese traditional culture and has an interesting page about this type of weaving.

Two YouTube videos

Here is a YouTube video with more information.

This video shows hakata-ori being woven in a college.

Susan J Foulkes December 2018

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Weaving bands with 9 pattern threads

The Sunna double slotted heddle with 9 pattern slots.

The Sunna double slotted heddle with 9 pattern slots.

Threading Chart

Here is the treading chart for 9 pattern threads. You can have up to 12 border threads on each side.

Threading chart for 9 pattern threads.

A pattern for a bookmark

This pattern is for 9 pattern threads and makes a lovely bookmark. There are 46 picks in the pattern repeat.

There are 43 patterns in my book for 9 pattern threads. This pattern is not in my book. Now you have an additional pattern to try.

I made many bookmarks in this pattern and distributed them to outlets selling my book.

Here is a picture of some of the bookmarks that I wove.

Using different colours for the pattern threads and the border threads makes lovely variations.

Here are six further ideas for making different effects.

6 colour combinations
The top band uses 16/2 linen for the background and border threads. The pattern thread is red double knitting wool.

The next band uses 16/2 cotton used double for the background and border threads. The pattern thread is red four ply knitting wool.

The third band uses 4 ply sock yarn for the background and border threads. The pattern thread is a double four ply sock yarn.

The fourth band uses 4 ply sock yarn for the background and border threads. The pattern thread is a double four ply sock yarn.

The fifth band uses red 6/2 cotton for the background and border threads. The pattern thread is a double black 6/2 cotton yarn.

The sixth band uses 4 ply sock yarn for the background and border threads. The pattern thread is a double four ply sock yarn.

Coloured borders can enhance the design.

Remember there is plenty of help on line. here is the link to my YouTube video Weaving bands with 5 pattern threads.

A traditional pattern. 

Here is a lovely traditional pattern. This lovely pattern is not in my book.  

A Lithuanian pattern

I saw this pattern when I was on holiday in Lithuania last year. There are 9 pattern threads.

close up of woven band.
My workshop for the Braid Society in October used this pattern as an example of how to transfer a pattern to a pattern chart. If you look at the pattern you should be able to transfer it to a weaving chart. 

Using a Sunna double slotted heddle with 9 pattern threads.

The double slotted heddle is available in smaller sizes of 5, 7 and 9 shorter slots for patterns threads. These heddles can be used with a back strap, in a box loom or on a larger inkle loom.

I have used the Sunna double slotted heddle for 9 pattern threads on my inkle loom.

Using an inkle loom with a 9 pattern slot heddle.

Using the 9 pattern slot Sunna heddle on an inkle loom.

To use the heddle on an inkle loom, you will need to check that it will fit.  The 9 Sunna heddle is 7 inches wide and 5.5 inches in height. (17.5 x 14 cm).

  1. First measure the length of the warp that you want by winding a thread around the path it will take on the inkle loom.  Add on about 4 inches for tying it on.
  2. Make the warp and thread it through the double slotted heddle.
  3. The warp should then be wound around the inkle loom with the two ends of the warp at the front of the loom. It is important that the warp is spread evenly when wrapping it around the inkle loom pegs.
  4. The warp ends need to be tied together so that it can move freely around the loom.  It is important the the tension is even across the warp ends.
  5. Adjust the final tension on the inkle loom.  You are now ready to start weaving.

Knot the two ends of the warp.

     Here is a close up of the knot tying the two ends of the warp together.

Here is the pattern draft for 9 pattern threads.  The coloured squares show the pattern threads that should appear on the surface of the woven band. 

When raising or lowering the heddle, the pattern threads remain in a line in the centre of the shed.  The tip of the shuttle is used to pick up the correct pattern threads to appear on the surface of the band. 

The heddle should be raised on the even numbered picks and lowered on the odd numbered picks. There are 22 picks for the pattern repeat.

Here is the woven band showing the two sides.  

The weaving side of the band.

The underside of the band.

Using a standard heddle or an inkle loom.

Here is the threading chart for a standard heddle or an inkle loom and 9 pattern threads.

Threading for a standard heddle or inkle loom.

For an inkle loom, the heddled threads are indicated by the hole and the unheddled threads by the slot. Note that the centre pattern thread is always threaded through the centre hole in the heddle.
When you raise the heddle, the centre pattern thread (and pattern threads 1, 3 and 9) will appear on the surface.  When using the pattern draft, you may have to bring up a pattern thread from the bottom layer or push down a pattern thread from the top layer to weave the pattern.  See my YouTube video: Weaving narrow warp faced bands.

Threading a 13 slot heddle for weaving a 9 pattern band

I have been asked to show the threading for weaving a 9 pattern thread band on a 13 Sunna heddle. i would not recommend using fewer than 9 pattern threads on the 13 pattern slot heddle.  It becomes harder to keep an even width.

 P indicates the pattern threads which are always at least double the thickness of the background and border threads. B indicates a border or background thread.

The background threads in the centre of the band are threaded in two slots then two holes.  The weave structure is half basket weave.
The border threads are threaded alternately in long slots and holes. The weave structure is plain weave.

Now look at the how the 13 pattern slots can be used for 9 pattern threads.

Threading a 13 pattern slot heddle for 9 pattern threads.

Look at the threading for the 13 Sunna double slotted heddle. Only half the threading is given.
Pattern thread 5 is the centre of the band and is threaded into the centre pattern slot.  The threading needs to be completed on the right side.  Two pattern slots on each side are empty: four in all.

The background threads in the centre of the band are threaded in two slots then two holes.  The weave structure is half basket weave.

The border threads are threaded alternately in long slots and holes. The weave structure is plain weave. However, a couple of long slots and holes must be left empty.  It is important to keep the border threading as plain weave.  The border threads must go alternately into a long slot and hole. Look at the threading diagram above and you can see that the border threads are in the correct order. To do this, a long slot and a hole must be left empty.

Weaving the band.

Using a 13 double slot heddle to weave a band with 9 pattern threads means that the threads are not as close together in the heddle on the border as they would normally be. When weaving pay particular attention to the band and make sure that the weft is pulled in tightly enough.  The warp threads have a tendency to pull the band open where there are gaps in the threading.

So, it is possible, but a little more care needs to be taken in the weaving and, of course the threading should be correct.

Happy weaving.

Using a Four Shaft Loom

You can also weave patterned bands on a four shaft loom.

Here is the threading for a 9 pattern thread band.

threading for a four shaft loom
Note that the centre pattern thread is on shaft four.  The background and border threads are threaded alternately through shafts 1 and 2. the border can be as wide as you like.

The order is important. In the centre of the band the background threads will weave half basket weave. In the border area the threads will weave plain weave.

The sett will depend upon the threads that you use. Sampling is the only way to find out what sett is correct.

In order to make the pick up you will need to view my YouTube video: The Lielvārde belt: weaving motifs. Here is the link.

This remarkable belt has 33 pattern threads.  If you have never woven a patterned band on a loom before, do start with something simple like using 9 pattern threads. Once you have understood the technique, you can use more pattern threads.

My book has many patterns for you to try.

My latest book has been published by Schiffer and is available from bookshops and Amazon.

'Narrow bands woven in colorful patterns are a centuries-old part of Baltic craft tradition. The double slotted heddle makes patterned band weaving quicker to learn and easier to do, and this is the first book that offers beginners instructions for using it. The craft doesn't involve bulky equipment―all you need can be stored in a shoe box! Learn how to weave these beautiful bands step by step, from the simple 5 pattern threads to the more complex 7 and 9 patterns. Color photographs illustrate the instructions for learning to weave.

More than 140 patterns are included, along with principles for planning your own unique designs for contemporary uses such as straps, belts, bracelets, and even handfasting bands. The breathtaking range of colorful bands woven in Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Norway are explored and offer additional inspiration.'

You can order this book on Amazon and from the Book Depository UK.

In the USA, it is available from The Woolery who are based in Frankfort, Kentucky:

I was asked by the team at Woolery to write a blog. Here it is.

The Braid Society is an excellent forum for sharing ideas and getting help with techniques.  Do check out their web site for information on how to join.

Happy Weaving

Susan J Foulkes November 2018