DONE! The next one will be better.
Just in case anyone has forgotten, here is the box I am trying to duplicate. It is in Kay SekimachiI’s show. I see I first posted about it on June 21st! (see it here). I knew it was months ago that I got smitten with it. The post shows other pieces in the show. It closes in October. Information is in the post.
The open box shows the inside black layer. Making the top and bottom in double weave is what makes weaving it need 4 layers. She had some simpler plans, but I hope I can accomplish the 4-layer plan.
Here is my mock-up.
Here with the box open.
Here is how it is to be woven: flat, of course, and in one piece.
Here is an update of my mirror installation. I need it to be close to the shed. I don’t want any mistakes that will prevent the layers from separating. That means every shed must be clear. I didn’t have very many mistakes in the sample I cut off, thank goodness. Controlling the shuttles is a big issue as well so the layers stay separated. I see Kay only had 3 layers in places in one plan, so I’m trying new tie-ups to try it. It will be weeks given that I don’t work on it all day, every day. I’m enjoying the process and telling myself that there’s no hurry. Maybe I’m procrastinating just a little.
Four layers and the warp is divided in half besides. I wound 4 shuttles, 2 black and 2 white, then realized I needed 2 more, then 2 more than that! A good rule helped a lot. “Wherever the weft changes from one layer to another, we get a fold: wherever the weft weaves back in the same layer, we get a selvedge.” Since I want the layers separate and not joined, I needed to have 2 shuttles for each layer. The layers are divided in the middle at this point which requires more shuttles. “Double Weave on Four to Eight Shafts” by Ursina Arn-Grischott has been a big help.
I realized there would be a lot of tie-ups required for the box so was glad I could tie-up the treadles sitting on a stool. Even that was a chore. However, I’m glad my loom can give good, clean sheds even when 7 shafts are lifted, the 8th will stay down.
I soon realized I needed too many treadles even though I have 10. I made a skeleton tie-up, and it is easy to treadle. I don’t use a computer program, so I listed the lifts for each shed on adding machine paper and pinned it where I could see it.
I’d heard of using a rear-view mirror to see if the sheds are clear so went to Amazon and found these very cheap ones with a sticky back.
I even installed it myself! Just stuck it onto the loom by the shuttle race. It can even be adjusted up and down and sideways!
Here’s the mirror showing a clean shed.
For the top and bottom of the box the warp is further divided. It was a big exercise for me to figure out both the tie-up and the sequence of shuttles and colors.
I put colored threads in where the divisions are so when a shuttle dives in and out of the warp it goes in the same place each time.
The colored threads are at the back of the loom and can advance as needed and I don’t have to worry about them.
Note: the treading for this series of posts is a straight draw: 1,2,3,4. Etc.
The sequence for weaving two separate layers is this:
- Weave the two sheds for the top layer with one shuttle. See below.
- Weave the two sheds for the bottom layer with the other shuttle. See below.
The sequence for weaving two separate layers can be written this way:
To weave the top layer:
You will weave two sheds for the top layer with one of the shuttles.
- Lift one of the shafts assigned to the top layer—in this case, lift shaft 1. Throw the shuttle that matches the color of the warps lifted.
- Change to the other shaft (shaft 3) designated for the top layer and throw the same shuttle in that shed.
To weave the bottom layer:
This is the principle of weaving all double weaves—you’ll use this principle for all the double weave variations.
To weave the bottom layer, first lift the shafts for the top layer (shafts 1 and 3). Add to those shafts one of the shafts designated for the bottom layer (your choice, lift shaft 2 or 4)—a total of three shafts will be lifted to create the first shed for the bottom layer. Throw the second shuttle. The second shed for the bottom layer uses the same principle: Lift the shafts for the top layer and also lift the remaining shaft for the bottom layer (either 2 or 4—the one you didn’t lift first.) Throw the second shuttle again.
Note that with a floor loom the shafts all fall down when you take your foot off the pedals, but with a table loom you have to raise and lower each shaft individually—and that means lowering shafts when you change to a new shed.
To weave a tube, you’ll use only one shuttle, and it will go from the top layer to the bottom layer in a different sequence, which will close the layers at the edges of the warp, forming the tube.
It’s the sequence of sheds that makes the edges join as well as using only one shuttle.
Visualize how the shuttle will go from the top layer to the bottom to the top again and to the bottom, which will form a tube as shown in the illustration.
Again, the principle for weaving the top and bottom layers doesn’t change. This time, it’s the path the weft takes that joins one edge of the warp so that the cloth can be opened out to twice as wide as the warp. Only one shuttle is used for double width.
To weave double width:
Try to visualize the path of the shuttle in the illustration. Use the principle that the shuttle weaves one top shed, then one bottom shed, then the other bottom shed and lastly, the remaining to shed. The fold will form on the edge opposite from where you entered your shuttle to begin the sequence. There are many techniques to make the fold less visible on page 256 of Weaving for Beginners.
The part 1 post was published on April 30, 2021. You can read it HERE.
The threading for this series of posts is a straight draw: 1,2,3,4, etc.
There are three basic variations of double weave.
1. Weaving two separate layers at once.
2. Weaving a tube.
3. Weaving double width. (You can weave a cloth twice as wide as it is on your loom!)
I like to have students practice writing the sequence of sheds on paper before weaving a sampler. I’ll give three examples to practice for each concept before suggesting that one go to the loom and begin to weave. That way you get plenty of practice and understand what to do. I write the sequence of sheds using “T” to indicate the top layer and “B” to indicate the bottom.
Make a Key
Start with a key to plan the sequence of sheds for a particular variation of double weave (weaving two separate layers, a tube, or double width).
The key will indicate which shafts you have determined will be for each layer. I have given three keys to work with in my sampler. More keys could be made, but these three will give you a start to understanding the principles of double weave. In making a key, you may arbitrarily decide which shafts to use for the layers. On the other hand, the colors in the warp may make the determination, depending on which shafts each color is threaded.
This key determines which shafts to use to form the top and bottom layers. For this key, let the top layer be woven with shafts 1 and 3, and the bottom layer with shafts 2 and 4.
This key indicates that shafts 2 and 4 are to be used to form the top layer, with shafts 1 and 3 forming the bottom layer.
In this key, shafts 1 and 2 are to be used to weave the top layer, and shafts 3 and 4 for the bottom layer.
The sequence of sheds can be worked out once you know which shafts will be forming which layers. (They key) The sequences change depending on which variation of double weave you want to weave (two separate layers, a tube, double width).
The part 3 post will be about the sequences for the variations of double weave: two separate layers, a tube or double width.
I love this box. One day when I was naïve and in a workshop with Kay Sekimachi, she told us how she wove it. Now it is in a fantastic solo show, and I want to weave it. I must not have thought it was very tricky at the time, because I cannot find her instructions.
The top and bottom add to the mystery. We know she had 8 shafts.
Also in the exhibition is this book. Looks simple. Maybe it is and maybe not. It needs some thinking about.
She made several of these “books” and I have one. This is a painting that she did that she transferred to the warp for the design for a book similar to mine.
Another box with another treatment for the top.
Another box which looks like warp ikat. I think maybe she transferred the black onto the warp rather than regular ikat. Similar to the books.
There are several of these magnificent beauties in the show. This is called Amiyose III. To get the black monofilament, Kay used Rit dye. I’ve gone twice with weavers and there is a lot to ponder and wonder about.
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) ends October 24. Don’t miss it! Plan a trip to San Francisco and take a day in Berkeley. $10 each. Reservations required AHEAD OF TIME.
I think these veils came after my ruffles in the previous post. I thought I should make something large so these are long. The warp is the same high twist silk from my stash. (Same threads as the ruffles.) Since then, I have shortened them by rolling up the bottoms a bit.
I was wanting to weave sheer cloth. I wove double weave to dense up the warp a bit so the wefts wouldn’t beat down too close to keep the cloth open, sheer, and still have integrity (not sleezy). And weaving tubes meant I only needed one shuttle.
A friend with a little farm gave me some of her cow’s tail. I’m not sure it’s the right thing but it is what it is.
The two layers made moire! I was thrilled. When I tried to repeat it, I didn’t get the moire which provoked me no end. But I love this success.
Here is a blue one. I sold this one to a woman whose husband had just died. It reminded her of his last breaths.
A detail of Blue Veil. I had some fine silk on a skein that I gave up on putting on a spool. I just cut the skein and then had nice, long silky threads to lay in.
More of the silk fringe on one of the other veils.
While in the throes of getting my entry ready for the China exhibition, I thought I would continue with some double weave projects and ideas.
I made these ruffles several years ago and had post cards made to give out on a trip to Japan. They came about by surprise but then I made a few. They hung in the windows of two galleries. The Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and a Gallery in Mill Valley. I was very proud of them.
The first ruffle began as a tube woven in very fine silk. Probably around 95 threads per inch in the warp. I was after moire. The moire didn’t work so I thought about turning the tube inside out to see if it would make moire then. About half-way through turning it inside out (like turning pants inside out) when it was all ruffled up I stopped dead. I thought this is something!
Here I was fussing with one during the photo shoot. I put tiny stitches here and there to keep the ruffles in place.
Here is the bottom of one of them.
I’m thinking of posting interesting double woven pieces for some future posts. Interspersed might be my dye project progress. I feel swamped thinking about the June 16 deadline.
I wove this piece quite a few years ago out of cotton sewing thread. It began at the top with weaving the warp in a single layer. Then I opened it up to 3 layers, then to 2 layers. Then I decided to make as many layers as I could given the width and density of the warp. This was based on the idea of weaving double weave like a “Kleenex box” with an opening in the center of the warp and the edges like the edges of a tube.
Here is what the warp looked like when woven as a single layer. I put the red stripe in so I would know where the opening would be.
Weaving tubes and double width and blocks will probably be in future posts. This post is about the underlying principles for all double woven textiles. There is a large section on double weave in my book, Weaving for Beginners.
You might like to print out the principles to hang on a wall in your studio.
I like to teach double weave by using words to describe what to do instead of giving a weave draft because a draft doesn’t really show what the cloth will be like. It does show both layers being intermingled, which is not useful at all for actual weaving. Drafts are in my book, but I like to use words for the threading, tie-ups and treadlings.
Seven Principles for Weaving Double Cloth
- The cloth to be on top at any given time is determined by you.
- The cloth to be woven on the bottom at any given time is determined by you.
- The two layers are woven simultaneously.
- You determine which shafts will weave the cloth that is on the top and which shafts will form the bottom cloth.
- The order; or sequence, that you use to lift the shafts to make the sheds is what makes the two cloths weave simultaneously and determines which variation of double weave as well. (eg. separate layers, tube, or double width.)
- Usually, in double weave cloth the layers exchange positions frequently to make the design or pattern—(what was on top at one time becomes the bottom and vice-versa).
- If there were only one set of shafts used for all the top layer, you would end up with two completely separate cloths instead of one cloth double thick—it’s the exchanging of the layers that holds the cloth together as one piece. If there were no exchanging of the layers, the two cloths would fall apart from one another.
Now that life is getting busier, I’m planning to post less often. Maybe weekly or so. I want to get to my looms and experiment and do some fine weaving again. And I have a dye project I want to start. If you still need something to have breakfast with, try reading the posts I began a year ago when the pandemic began. I still love getting comments.
This is my 125 ends per inch silk weaving. I had big plans, but it was almost a “dog on the loom”. I wanted sheer fabric and I didn’t want to beat in the wefts too hard. I wove a double weave tube so there would be more resistance on the beater to prevent beating too hard and still be sheer. A tube meant only one shuttle, of course. I made so many threading errors, I thought I had lost my mind! It’s really not hard to thread so many ends when the cross is right there to guide you. Sometimes I crossed threads and sometimes it was in the heddles. I already had made several fine silk tubes before at 96 epi. This shouldn’t have been so difficult. I’ve got more fine silk threads from Junco Sato Pollack so am eager to weave them up.
The weaving went terribly with a huge number of stops and starts to correct broken or mis-threaded ends. I properly repaired many threads and replaced many warp threads with colored sewing threads so I could see what I was doing. I had to throw away a lot but managed to get 40” woven as a tube.
After the 40” I decided to just weave off what I had left and not bother with corrections. I managed to get a hanging out of it. It hangs in front of an ikat hanging I got in Okinawa.
In the end, I gave up weaving the sheer cloth and decided to just weave off whatever I had left of the warp. Probably the warp was on the loom a few months before I made up my mind to get it off. I wove the layers separately.
I used the handspun cotton from Bhutan for the weft.
I couldn’t snug up the wefts at the selvedges so just let the wefts all hang out.
The handspun cotton on the fine silk. I think it looks OK. I do like where the cloth splits into the two layers and divides to hang on either side of the “single layer” the tube.
Double weave is on the top of my brain because I’m teaching a small group the basics with the idea of moving on to bloocks. The reason most people start thinking about double weave is because you can get solid colors that way–rather than plaids. Then one needs also to think about different weft colors as well. Often the “back” side isn’t clear when different colors are needed. [click photos to enlarge]
Often the blocks of color are not so obvious. My mentor, Helen Pope wove this sample for one of her many afghans, always using the same threading but way different colors.
Here is a sampler I wove to show the separate layers. Also see below for the Weaving Tip I did using diagrams from my book, “Weaving for Beginners”.
I’ve been wracking my brain to be able to show graphically weaving the layers in different blocks. I dreamed up this today–not sure if it will do the job or not.
I was playing with layers and opening them out like Paul O’Conner suggested when I wove “Blue Descending a Staricase”.
Here is the width it was when threaded on the loom before being opened out to the 7 “layers”.
Peggy’s Weaving Tips > Introducing Double Weave
This is taken from my new book, “Weaving for Beginners” on page 245. How double weave works and making a sampler follows on pages 246 through257.
Double weave is one of my favorite weaves, and most of my students love it, too.
It seems like magic that you can weave two layers of cloth simultaneously—
but that is what happens.
The cloth will be double thickness with a pattern or design happening when the layers exchange places
—going from top to bottom and vice versa.
I like to be the one to introduce weavers to this technique, because once they understand the concept, they feel so capable and proud.
There is a lot more to learn about double weave than the basics given here.
Read more in weaving books. Some special techniques and considerations are given in my third book, Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth, beginning on
There are three basic variations of double weave:
1. Weaving two separate layers at once: See Figure 481.
2 Weaving a tube: See Figure 482.
3. Weaving double width: (You can weave a cloth twice as wide as your loom!) See Figure 483.