The Trick to Avoiding Disfiguring Floats


Susie Kelly loves to learn new things and works until she is a master. She’s well known in our area for her excellent photographs. She has also greatly mastered kumihimo, beading, pottery, cake decorating, quilting, embroidery, sewing and more  that I can’t remember just now. It was a miracle that I got to know her. She met my photography teacher and blog guy at a photography show where  they were exhibiting,  and she mentioned she was taking a beginning weaving class. My friend mentioned that I was a weaver, and the rest is history. We  have an arrangement now: I teach her weaving and she began to teach me how to process my photos on the computer and now all manner of things on the computer and off! It’s a relationship made in heaven.  

This piece is fresh off the loom woven by Susie with only 1 ½ semesters in weaving classes and a few months studying with me . Four shafts weren’t enough for her right away and she borrowed my 8-shaft table loom. She has been cruising through the book, “A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns from the Friends of Handwoven” commonly known as “The Strickler Book”.  This was her first attempt at block weaves.

Turns out that Susie chose patterns #247 and #248. Her teacher explained the threading and weaving  of these straight and broken twills in warp and weft faced squares and off she went.

Success! Lovely squares with clean, straight vertical and horizontal edges—for the most part. Stay tuned.

Some blocks did not have clean edges on the squares. Being Susie, she quickly used her needle and thread skills and made most of the edges look perfect. I convinced her to photograph one of the places that the flaw was not so noticeable. Notice there are 4 white warp threads going out of the all-white square into the square with the black twill wefts. There were  longer “bad” floats in the sampler before her repairs. But we did find a place with shorter warp floats to show the problem. (not clean edges).

Here is the simple trick to getting all the edges clean with no threads floating across the edges. Where there is a change in warp face and weft face, the tie -down threads at the edges must look like the illustration. In other words, a weft tie-down thread on an edge must meet a warp  tie-down in the adjacent square. If you want to weave more rows than a complete repeat, that’s fine, just in the new square (or rectangle),  begin with the row that has the opposite tie-down thread.

Here is a tie up showing a warp thread opposing a weft thread at the vertical and horizontal edges of the squares. Again, you can weave a square as long as you like, just remember  If you want to weave more rows than a complete repeat, that’s fine, just in the new “square”, begin with the row that has the opposite tie-down thread.

Other weave structures use the same trick. Notice that all the vertical warps are stopped by a horizontal weft where the blocks change. This is an example of a “damask diaper: A self-patterned weave; a simple form of damask with rectilinear pattern formed by the contrast of warp and weft faces of a satin weave; much used for simple table linens.” From Warp & Weft A dictionary of textile terms” by Dorothy K. Burnham. Royal Ontario Museum. 1980. Burnham also lists a twill diaper which is the same idea as the twill weave similar to Susie’s pattern.

Dorothy Burnham chose twill blocks for the cover of her book. Notice not all the blocks are the same size or square but they all have beautiful clean edges.

5 thoughts on “The Trick to Avoiding Disfiguring Floats”

  1. Dear Peggy,
    What a delightful post.
    Thank you for sharing the joys of creating.

    I was planning on a twill block weave and your information about clean edges is timely and welcome.
    Even if no weaves are planned, your generous sharing of tips n tricks are fun to read. Learning from you is easy and playful.
    Thank you once again for all your posts.

    Does Susie have a blog or website too?
    Would love to see her creations too.

    Lots of love,

  2. Thank you for this! I wove some twill gamp dishtowels recently, and was dismayed by those floats when I changed treadling. I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it! I’m going to have to try another set of dishtowels to put this information to good use.


Leave a Comment