Looking at Log Cabin Again

Log cabin weave has been mentioned in previous texts: 5/15/2019, 1/27/2021, 1/29/21, and 2/8/2021 and. You can search for them by clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper right area of this home page and typing in “log cabin”. Be sure to use the quote marks. Then hit Enter and the posts should show up. You can search for your own ideas in the same manner.

The simplicity of the design of this shawl makes it truly beautiful and very wearable. In a previous post (Dec. 2, 2021) I mentioned a quote I found from Anni Albers: “It’s the middle color that’s important/interesting.” This very large supple shawl is a fine example. Here we see sections of dark, medium, and light values.

The dark areas in the corners stand out. The mixture of black and white form the middle value on the bottom and sides. The light value area is in the middle.   

The main part of the shawl is the pattern that weavers call “log cabin”. Its mysterious pattern intrigued me so much that I wove it in my beginning weaving class project.  This can be woven on a rigid heddle loom with 2. Go to the post dated 1/27/2021 .

In my book, “Weaving for Beginners” I say: “This is a weave with vertical and horizontal lines appearing in the cloth. It is actually plain weave but looks like an entirely different structure. When the structure is disguised by the colors of the yarns, we call this phenomenon, “color and weave effect.” These weave effects are based on dark and light threads in the warp and/or the weft.”

Here is how the dark and light threads are threaded in the heddles. You can modify this threading to make vertical as well as horizontal lines. Look at the threading closely at the next illustration. Under the letter “A” note that the dark and light yarns are threaded (reading right to left) dark, light, dark, light, etc. Now inspect the threading in the area at “B”. The colors are threaded LIGHT, DARK, LIGHT, DARK, etc. The same principle works for the rigid heddle loom’s 2 shafts.

You will need two shuttles: one shuttle with dark yarn and the other with light. Vertical and horizontal lines will appear as you weave along when you use the appropriate weft color with the appropriate lifted shafts. Read on.

Throw the shuttle with the dark yarn when you lift shafts 1 and 3.
Thrown the shuttle with the light yarn when you lift shafts 2 and 4. You should see vertical and horizontal lines appearing. This is shown in the illustration for the top section of weaving.

When you weave the reverse of what you did in the first section: by throwing the light shuttle when shafts 1 and 3 are lifted, and the dark shuttle when shafts 2 and 4 are raised. You will get the opposite result with the vertical lines being where the horizontal lines were and vice versa.

Again, the same principle applies for weaving on a rigid heddle loom. When you throw the dark shuttle on the front shaft, lines will appear. When you throw the dark weft on the back shaft, the vertical and horizontal lines will reverse.

Look at the illustration and notice that the horizontal margins of the blocks are more distinct where two dark wefts are shown woven one after the other at the second section change. You can make both the horizontal and vertical margins of the blocks solid colors (outlined) if you make both the warp and the weft changes with the dark threads together. In the threading, have two dark threads together at the edges of the sections to make the vertical margins. Weave two dark wefts together at the section changes for the horizontal margins.
If you want the blocks to float, use two light colors as above, instead.

6 thoughts on “Looking at Log Cabin Again”

  1. I love this technique and the look of the shawl. Can you share the yarn you used? It looks like linen, but what is its weight? Many thanks

    • This is a shawl I bought and is beautiful. The yarns look in the photo like handspun. They were preety fine and probably silk. I’m sure you can invest a gorgeous shaw using the photo in your planning.Use a fine size yarn that you are comfortable weaving with and I think it will be beautiful.
      PS I sold the shawl in my big sale in 2022

  2. Oh so this is a shawl you bought? It looks like linen. And fine yarns. I will try to recreate the draft on fiberworks. Thanks for your help

  3. Hi Peggy
    I’m so glad I found your blog! I’ve been trying to wrap my head around log cabin pattern. I want to make sure I understand your illustration correctly…… For example, I love the shawl you bought in log cabin but I want a more distinct dark color around each square. So when I warp should I warp two dark colored threads in a row each time the square changes? And the same when I weave with the weft?
    And at the start of the warping, should I start with two bark threads?
    Thank you so much for your consideration,

    • I think you should Google log cabin weave and see for sure what you should do. I think you are on the right track. I suggest when warping stay the same order dark and light, but take what is needed when threading. It’s been too long ago for me to be sharp enough for your grand plan I’m afraid.

  4. Thank you for educating and inspiring us!

    The thick/thin nature of yarn used–at least the natural one appears that way–softens the lines just a tad and add another dimension. Dreaming…..


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