Changing 2-shaft Weaves to 4 Shafts

Introduction:
All but two illustrations are from my book, Weaving for Beginners. The 2-shaft drafts come from the book shown in a previous post, Adventures in Weaving on a 2-harness loom. NOTE: harness is a common word used for shafts. Shaft is the more correct word and is used here and in my books.

The book, Adventures in Weaving on a 2-harness loom” shows the threading for 2 shafts like in the illustration. (Shafts are often called harnesses.) The two rows represent the 2 shafts. Dots show every other thread on the bottom line and the alternate threads on the top line. And, to show a different color of threads for a stripe, the squares of the graph paper are filled in. In other words, for one color area, both shafts are that color and for another area, both shafts are threaded with another color. The first shaft is always indicated on the bottom line and shaft #2 is on the line above it in American books.


To change from 2 shafts to 4 shafts we often think of odd and even numbers. With a threading on 2 shafts, you could think of shafts 1 & 2 alternating as “odd, even, odd, even, etc. rather than 1,2,1,2,1,2. You would use that idea to switch to 4 shafts. The odd shafts are 1 & 3 and evens are 2 & 4.  Then you would use the rows in the threading draft 1 & 3 instead of the bottom row (shaft #1) and 2 & 4 for shaft #2. In the illustration the sequence of 1,2,3,4 is shown for the threading.  When weaving, you would raise shafts 1 & 3 for a row and 2 & 4 for the alternate rows. Then you would be getting the same plain weave (or “tabby”) as though you were weaving on only 2 shafts, alternating rows with shafts 1 & 2.

In weaving drafts for more than 2 shafts, the American convention is always to show shaft #1 on the bottom line and each additional shaft on the lines going upwards from the bottom. The illustration shows how the threading for 4 shafts would work. If there were 8 shafts, shaft #1 would still be on the bottom line, but there would be 7 more lines above that to indicate 8 shafts. The same principle would be for 12, 16, or 32 shafts, etc.


In my previous post on January 27, 2021, Log Cabin patterns were the subject. That particular pattern depends on threading alternate threads in light and dark. The illustration shows an example of a threading and some patterns on 2 shafts. In the illustration, dots represent light threads and solid squares, dark threads. Note that in the area on the left the lights (dots) are on shaft #1 with darks on #2. In the right area of the draft, it is the reverse with darks on shaft #1 and lights on shaft #2.


To change from 2 shafts to 4 shafts, think again of odds and evens. What was shaft #1 becomes #1 & # 3 –both odd numbers. What was on shaft #2 becomes #2 & #4 –even numbers. And notice carefully that in the illustration, the lights are on the odd shafts on the 4 threads at the ends of the draft and the darks are on the odd shafts for the center 8 threads.


The illustration shows that by switching the placing of the lights and darks, the pattern changes. Note too, that the WEFTS also alternate dark and light to create the patterns and the changes. This is typical log cabin. Often the blocks are all the same size, but they don’t have to be. The widths in the threading determine the widths of the blocks. The height of the blocks is determined by the number of rows woven in a light/dark sequence.


This illustration shows a different way to think of 2-shaft weaves. With 4 shafts you can think of 2 looms: 2 shafts (1 and 2) for one loom. And shafts 3 & 4 can be thought of another 2-shaft loom. That means you could have two different things going on at once. For example, log cabin on shafts 1 & 2 and what every you might like on 3 & 4 for example solid areas or stripes. We call the different “looms” block A and Block B. With more shafts and different patterns, you can have more blocks, say C and D.


Another illustration of 2 blocks. This would be a good idea when using thick and thin WEFTS like in my post on January 29, 2021. You decide what you want to show in Block A, (e.g., lights) and in Block B: lights as well, or darks. Because the blocks are on different shafts they can act independently. See the next illustration.


Thick and thin wefts are woven in this variation of rep weave. Notice that the 2 blocks can be alike (at the top) or different when weaving. The threading can never change, but which shafts you choose to have showing at any one time is up to the weaver. More information about this weave is in Weaving for Beginners. Here I just want to show how 4 shafts can be thought of as 2 looms with 2 shafts each.


Here’s a draft showing an example of the shaft numbers for a two-block design: a center field with borders on the edges.


Log Cabin on Two Shafts

This book from 1950 was in my Two-Shaft file. It specializes in color placement in the warp and weft using Maysville yarns. I’m not sure if they exist anymore.


I like the weave structure, log cabin. There were interesting photos in the book.


Here is the draft from my book, Weaving for Beginners, which shows how the dark and light threads in the warp and weft create the pattern for 4 shafts. The next photo shows how this could be threaded on just 2 shafts.


Here is the threading draft in the Adventures in Weaving book. Dark and light threads alternate.


Of course the blocks don’t have to be all the same width in the warp. Or the same height in the weft, either. Another photo from the 2-shaft book.


Two-Shaft Threading Drafts Ideas

Rather than thread every other thread on shafts 1 and 2 or every 2 threads, you might try this variation of every 3 threads, or any number. Of course, you could do the same or something different in the treadling.


This could be an interesting threading variation. Think of how you could use different colors of threads as well in different areas.


Here’s a variation of the draft above.


Color Drafting

Introduction:

In this post I go through the process of color drafting the 2-shaft weave from the previous post. For those who are new at drafting, there’s a whole chapter on drafting in my book Weaving for Beginners. Note that I begin the threading on the right and work right-to-left.

Be sure to use pencil and have a good eraser. You’ll see that I had to use it. This was my 3rd start on this, it’s easier to start over when you find mistakes.


First draw the lines defining the part of a weave draft. The chapter on drafting in my book Weaving for Beginners explains the parts of a weave draft.


Put in what you can see on the cloth—both the warps and wefts.


Assign threading to those known. I saw the weft floats first, so I assigned them to Shaft #1. Remember, I work a draft from right to left here and in my books.


Assign what colors you know: the wefts are the horizonal lines.


Add the warp colors now, the vertical lines.


Then I looked for what I could find next: verticals for warps on top on either side of yellow weft areas. NOTE: the colors are not always in the same place! Assign them a shaft: see in the tie up that shaft #2 is lifted so all the lifted warps must be on shaft #2.


Now discover what the last warp threads will be. Now I need to look below to the rows below to discover those and I see the first is orange. Again, looking for vertical threads in the cloth.


Fill in the same way for the missing spaces: see that they are all shaft 1’s and watch out to get the colors right. I see below, a warp lifted in the first rows is followed by a weft every time.


We know the weft color from the photo of the cloth so fill in the wefts (horizontals).


We see on the cloth that each warp missing is orange. See that the single warps have 1 orange and one yellow since we know the yellows (wefts) already, so the rest must be orange.


 Now we know all the warps in the threading draft AND we know some of their colors, too. So fill in the colors we know. Then we can fill in the yellow wefts but that’s easy. We still have to determine the colors of some of the warps. Again, look for rows below for the clues needed. The vertical floats are easy to see.


Now put in the treadling 1 & 2.
What’s under the grey floats, check wefts so check the image and you can see shaft 1 should be up from the treadling and see the color from the photo or further down the draft. Notice I tried to erase grey in rows 5 & 7. They should be yellow wefts colored in the treadling draft.


What goes on under all the floats you can check out first in the treadling draft: what shaft is up. Then, fill in the blanks for the wefts (horizontals). Then clean up the draft and you’re done. (I hope I haven’t made any mistakes! Let me know if you find any.)


Two-Shaft (harness) Weaving: Part One

I discovered weavers with many shafts often become interested in weaves for just two shafts. I’ve kept a file, and these fabric samples were on top. The label on the sample card says Konwiser inc. When I looked them up on the web, I found they are on the MoMa website with two furnishing fabrics dated before 1955. I don’t think they are in business now.


There are 6 colorways in the collection: all the same weave.


The third in the stack of samples. So interesting how the different colors make such a difference.


These are 52% cotton and 48% wool upholstery fabrics.


The price on the label is $14.25 and the width, 54”.


The name given to this collection is “Bahia”. My next post will be about drafting these and color drafting. In the meantime, see if you can work out the draft and if we agree.


I Just Learned a Tip: A Threading to Catch the Outside Warp Thread for Twills

I love getting comments from my Post readers. And I love learning new things. A comment from Jon gave this threading to catch the outside warp thread. With it you don’t have to think and you don’t need a floating selvedge. I might not use it if I thought I would weave other structures besides twills in a piece, but it beats a floating selvedge if you plan a big twill project. Try to figure out how it works just from the threading.


Here is the regular 4-shaft twill tie-up. Can you see how a thread is always caught on each edge with every weft shot? Notice the circles in the tie-up. That’s because it’s showing shafts lifted. Remember that bubbles rise.


Now add the treadling. Can you figure out what the edges will look like from this information?


Here is the complete draft. The edges make a sort of plain weave. Perhaps you could thread more threads for the edges and make a border. Maybe an idea to ponder and worth trying? This is how my mind works—I’d want to do a sample first to see how the two weaves work. Now I’m thinking again…you could thread the edges: 22, 44 and 11, 33 to get a real basket weave on the edges and I think that should surely work with the twill. When I want bands of both twill and plain weave in a cloth, I often use basket weave instead of real plain weave because they both draw in the same.  (If you use plain weave bands, they will turn out to be wider than the twill areas.)