A Weaver’s Weaver: Kay Sekimachi

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.

FINISHED! My entry to the China Exhibition

I sent in the photos and entry papers on Friday! What a relief to see everything DONE! The photos, the statement and finally, SEND. To see the mobile in motion, check out my Instagram video below. I’m happy with the colors. They are what I think of as “old Chinese colors”. I used old Chinese natural dye recipes and that was a challenge and a big journey. I had 48 bundles with 15 different silks in each. That’s 720 swatches. There are lots I didn’t select; available now for something else!

This is me at the photo shoot for scale. It is my entry for the Contemporary Art and Design Exhibition: Reconstitution of the Past Colors at the BoND Biennale of Natural Dyes in Hangzhou, China. I went last time but it’s not possible this time. I commissioned my tech guy, Bob Hemstock to make the mobile and be the photographer.

This is the mobile I sent 2 years ago with natural dyes. It got into the show and the China National Silk Museum bought it! Right now, I just want to get into the show. That year the mobile was Bob’s idea!

More Double Weave Tubes

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.

More Double Weave

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.

Five Dyes Selected

Here are the 6 dyes I have chosen for the entry for the BoND exhibition in China. I made hundreds more nice colors, too. Variations came from different silks, different mordants, and different post mordants. Working with old Chinese recipes, I had a great time figuring out what a bucket or a handful etc. meant.  And I learned that 2 ”loots” equal 1 ounce. The Art and Science of Natural Dyes by Boutrup and Ellis was a lifesaver.

I am already thinking about using the “extra” colors for future projects in different ways.

These are the reds. Probably cochineal. Now I’ve separated the bundles with their precious labels and grouped them according to which colors work together.

Here is the group from my woad vat. I had to order the woad from Scotland. Michele Garcia’s indigo Workshop At Home at Slow Fibers Studios explained the chemistry, so I knew what ingredients in the woad recipe related to his 1-2-3 indigo vat. The woad vat has indigo in it. You make dips in the vat like you do with an indigo vat.

The blue purples. There will be 6 groupings.

These all were from oak galls with iron and sumac additions. The undegummed silks took the dye much darker and make black for one of my groups. (these are stiff silks). The shiny silks make lovely greys and brown greys as they all were dyed the same as the blacks. Consistently the organzas, etc (undegummed silks) dyed significantly darker than the “regular” silks we are used to.

The red purples.

What’s the Matter with My Madder? – Dye Project Update

Here are swatches of dyes I had done before the weekend Indigo and Cochineal are what’s pretty much here. I was trying for two kinds of red: scarlet and crimson. I’m using old Chinese dyes as much as possible. One interesting set of silk bundles was dyed with various shades of indigo then overdyed with cochineal. For lavender and greys. I still had weld, woad, galls, and madder yet to do.

I worked all weekend on madder. There were several different mordants to be used. I had 3 pots soaking at a time.

This was taken Saturday night after a dye of mordanting. What I had to show for a day’s work. Still left to do were two bundles of iron mordant. (Mordanting is a process often done before actual dyeing.)

At the end of Sunday (2AM) I had these swatches of madder. I am disappointed but will try again. The reddish ones were with madder extract. The undegummed silks took the red, the regular silks were titty pink. The yellows were from roots I’d received as a gift in Japan. I guessed what type of madder the roots were, and I think I guessed wrong. Also, I realized a bit too late that madder could NOT be cooked above a certain temperature. Then I read that chalk would be good. Why wasn’t that said sooner? Anyhow, got the chalk and will re-do the madder this week and hope I get reds. I’ll change the way I extract the dye from the roots, keep the temperature correct, and add chalk. Any suggestions? The Ellis book says not to heat madder over 150F (65C). A person I met in the indigo workshop said not over 120F. I kept to the 120F. I think I’ll go with the 150F and keep it at 140F so as not to exceed the 150F.

Blue Descending a Staircase: From One Layer to Nine – Woven by Peggy Osterkamp

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.

An Indigo Workshop with Michel Garcia from Brittany, France via Zoom
and at Slow Fiber Studios, Berkeley, California

My kitchen now has an indigo vat that I made in the workshop on May 1. It was the first of the two classes with Michel Garcia. There were 3 of us in the Berkeley studio. We brought our buckets, ingredients, scales and a 4’ dowel for stirring the vat. Then we brought them home to do homework in preparation for the second class on May 8.

This is a picture of my vat. This is what a healthy vat should look like. It was wonderful to see immediate results. The best part was learning the chemistry to explain how the “magic” of indigo dyeing actually is accomplished. And how to maintain a healthy vat. Also wonderful was that it is really quite simple with Michel’s 1-2-3 method with only 3 ingredients plus water—and they are all safe.

Our homework is to test the vat every day for the week and watch how the vat matures or changes. With Michel’s method it was easy to do many dips in one dye session. My sample fabric is a cotton from a Japanese flea market.

Besides the big test piece I made small bundles of fabrics. One bundle is silks and the other, cottons and linens. Just like my other dyeing experiments, all the fabrics in a bundle were dyed the same; the differences in color occur because of the different fabrics in the bundle. More results at the end of the week. Stay tuned!

How Double Weave Works: Double Weave for Dummies and Virgins

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

  1. The cloth to be on top at any given time is determined by you.
  2. The cloth to be woven on the bottom at any given time is determined by you.
  3. The two layers are woven simultaneously.
  4. You determine which shafts will weave the cloth that is on the top and which shafts will form the bottom cloth.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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).
  7. 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.

Dye Project Update Number One

Here are the results of the weekend’s work on my dye project. There are 4 bundles drying in the photo. All the pieces in a bundle were in the same dye pot. In other words, a bundle represents one dye process. The pieces on the string were in a bundle. On the rack are 3 bundle’s worth. All variations on cochineal. More on cochineal to follow.

The undyed bundles have been mordanted with alum and will be dyed later.

The status of my kitchen after the weekend.

Here I Go Again: Clearing the Decks

If you miss my posts, you can also see what I’m doing by following me on Instagram. Go to Instagram.com. Tap Sign up. Enter email address. Create a username and password. My Instagram name is peggyoster.

Here is the last view of my kitchen before the dye pots come in and my dish drainer goes on the floor. I’m working on a project to submit to a show in China. Deadline is June 16. YIKES!  However, now I’m loving the smell of the lilacs I found at the florist this week!

This is clearest this “counter” has been in a long while. Before long, it will be covered with dye notes, etc.

It’s taking a lot of organizing and I’m not finished yet. I have 48 envelopes for 48 bundles. Each bundle is designated for a different dye or dye process.

Each bundle has 15 different silks. That way, there will be 15 slightly different tones from a single dye pot. Organizing it all and getting all the ingredients and planning all the preparations is a big job and I’m still working on this stage. 48 x 15 = a lot of swatches.

Making the bundles took all of the surfaces in our lounge to collate.

I’m counting on this label maker and Tyvek and Sharpie pens for making 48 very specific labels. Some need some processes done before mordanting, during, or after dyeing.

I’m using old Chinese recipes along with the Boutrup/Ellis book.

The Cloth Behind My Fine Weaving Hanging

This is a hanging I bought in Okinawa in a shop that was all textiles. I loved it the minute I saw it at the far end of the shop.

The dyeing is so special; however, I can’t tell you much about it. It’s been hanging in my window for a year at least and the black is still as dark as ever.

You can see the careful placement of the colors and the ikat pattern. Planning this for the colors to hit precisely in the warp as well as the weft just right was skillfully done. Double ikat at it’s simplest and most beautiful. I also like the slight irregularities in the yarn.

Unwinding Skeins of Very Fine Threads

I bought a few skeins of fine silk in Japan a few years ago. I ran into all kinds of trouble. I finally asked the owner of Habu Textiles if she would unwind them on her machines. All but one skein she wound onto cones. The final skein she sent to Japan; it was so hard to undo. It came back on about 10-15 cones, each with small amounts wound on and some with threads flying about. Even they found it nearly impossible! I bought proper Japanese equipment but still decided it was worth it to pay to have them unwound. I’m unwinding a bunch of skeins now from Junco Sato Pollack and using my equipment. Many skeins come off beautifully. A few still gave me fits. It’s a joy to crank and wind a spool when all the threads come off easily. My advice is not to buy those skeins or to admire them and leave the threads in the skeins. I have cut a skein or two creating lengths of threads that I’ve laid into warps. Here are a few details.

Unwinding skeins of very, very fine threads can be an extremely tedious, and near impossible task. Special equipment can make a difference. The extra circumference of Japanese spools is important. Winding on small spools or cones can be impossible.

You also need a proper skein holder or skein maker. A common umbrella swift doesn’t hold the skein flat due to its X shape. If the skein isn’t held evenly the threads can fall down and tangle.

This is the winder that winds the Japanese spools. When a thread breaks, pat the skein from the inside and hopefully the broken end will fall out, and you can continue nicely. It’s imperative to open the skein properly. See below.

Here is the winder with an empty spool on it, ready to go. Notice the guide arm that guides the thread onto the spool. This is essential. I had an antique one, but the guider was gone. It was terrible trying to guide and crank. Another empty spool is shown alongside.

Open any skein CAREFULLY. You must find the precise place that is the center of the ring of threads in the skein. This is true for all skeins if you want them to unwind easily. Search for the ties that encircle the threads.

Look carefully for the ties that tie the skein so the exact center can be found.

You can’t check the ties too carefully. Really see that not a single thread is out of place. Often there are two ties that just tie the center of the skein and another one that does the same plus has the ends of the thread tied to it. Find which end unwinds easily and tuck the other end inside the skein holder. Also note that where the ties cross within the skein is not an exact place. It just keeps the ties from slipping.

My Own Fine Weaving

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.

Weaving that Almost Isn’t. April Fool!

Jan Hudson wove 2 scarves on a whim, and I asked her to make the April Fools Day post.

I used a variegated rayon knitting yarn as warp on the orange and blue scarf. The weft is a very thin unidentified cotton yarn I had in my stash but sewing thread would work also.

The sett was “guesstimated” at 5 epi. I wove 3 pics, then placed a 2 cm spacer cardboard in the shed, and wove 3 more pics, repeating the process to the end of the scarf!

The technique is used in Guatemala on textiles made on a backstrap loom. This time I wove a few more pics before leaving the spaces.

It’s only plain weave, so only 2 shafts are required! Peggy adds: So what if the ends don’t end up the same length!

Lenore Tawney: her work “led to a whole revolution in weaving”

From Lenore Tawney: A Personal World, published by Brookfield Craft Center to accompany two showing of works by Lenore Tawney. 1978.text by Jean d’Autilia.

Photos from Lenore Tawney A Retrospective published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name at the American Craft Museum 1990.

I seem to be getting too many ideas while looking for inspirations for my posts. I can’t settle on what I want to weave first. And I can’t possibly weave them all. One way to get around my dilemma is to post them, and hope others will be inspired to incorporate some of the ideas into their own work. Although this series is to be about art, I think the ideas could be made into a whole lot of kinds of projects.

Mask ca. 1967 Linen, pre-Columbian beads and shell, horsehair 19” x 6 ½”

All the pieces in this post were woven by Lenore Tawney in 1966 and 67 with some finished not until 1985. These are all warp face plain weave with very dense, heavy linen warps. I just finished reading the little booklet mentioned in the title and was surprised she gave some weaving hints as well as her inspiration.

Shield. Begun ca. 1967, completed 1985 Linen, silk, feathers 20 x 16

What I love most about all of these pieces is the wonderful, surprising fringes. I assumed they were rep weave using alternating thick and thin warps and the fine fringes are the thins. From the photo in the catalog I have, I can’t see any evidence of the white silk in the weaving. Go figure. Isn’t the horsehair in the previous photo just fantastic?
Weaving tip: She always used a double weft, “I come in from both sides, so that the edges are beautifully even and thick.” Lenore Tawney, A Personal World.

Sheild. Begun ca. 1967. Completed 1985 Linen, silk, feathers, whelk egg cases 15 ½ x 14

Another luxurious silk fringe. I visited her loft once and she had drawers and drawers of tiny shells, bones, seeds and things. That explains the whelk egg cases.

Sheild IV. 1966 Linen, pre-Columbian beads and shells 13 1/2 x 10 1/2

I see how different the fine fringe looks being linen and not silk. Isn’t it interesting that she left some wefts to hang outside the selvedges? And maybe she got the idea for the center treatment from when she started a new weft?

Shield. Begun ca. 1967, completed 1989 Linen, feathers 15 1/2 x 6 ½

Her use of feathers, her “fringes”, her shapes: all inspiring to me. 

Cocoons: Part 3

The photos in this post came from my post when we were in Okinawa. You can search on my home page for: Japan Tour 2017. Then scroll to Day 5.

We visited the artist Michiko Uehara and her daughter in Naha Okinawa in May 2017. She has exhibited in New York as well as in Japan. Here her daughter is showing how light this cloth is. Michiko reels her silk threads and weaves very, very fine cloth.

This cloth was woven with both warp and weft threads from single cocoons. In her catalog there is a photo of a cloth with threads of 3 denier. That means 1,5000,000 yards per pound. I’m not sure if that is this cloth or not, but you get the idea. That’s 1.5 million yards per pound!

This piece is double woven in a tube!!!

The Cocoons: Cocoon Scarf Part 2

This post is about the silkworm cocoons used in weaving this scarf that was also shown in the previous post.

In October of 2019, Cathy Cerny and I visited a farm in Japan where special breeds of silk that are too fine to raise and produce commercially were raised. Mr. Masakazu Akiuama is known for his fine silk. He is located outside of Miyazaki on Kyushu Island.

Mr. Akiuama’s specialty cocoons are shown on his business card. They are smaller and a different shape from the commercially grown ones I have seen before. Commercial cocoons don’t have the dent in the center like these do. Along with his card was a little envelope with 3 of the cocoons.

My scarf was woven out of threads made from single cocoons. The thicker threads came from another breed of silkworm. The larger cocoon provided those strands. The smaller one was what was used for the main part of the scarf. After I bought my scarf, he made sure to give me the two cocoons so that I would understand that the large cocoon was used for the thick wefts.

I used the macro lens on my iPhone to show the single fibers from each of the cocoons. Getting both in focus wasn’t easy but I think you can see finer and thicker single strands coming off the cocoons. The silk would be unwound off each cocoon in one continuous thread. That process is called reeling.

Cocoon Scarf: Another Two-shaft Idea

This is my 834th post! I began them in November, 2010.  Before that on my original website I had posted over 100 weaving tips. They are still available and used today on this website. For the last year Bob, my tech guy and I have posted nearly every other day. I enjoy making the posts and still have ideas for more. I love getting comments! Any suggestions for posts are welcome, too.

I got this beautiful, fine silk scarf in Japan. We visited the silk grower who showed us his refrigerated storage shed for cocoons ready for making threads. Usually, silk threads are made up of several strands—that is from several cocoons. His breed of silkworms are not grown commercially and his processing is not done commercially. His weavers weave these scarves with threads of single cocoons. I treasure my scarf so here are several photos.

My scarf is generous in size: 18” x 72” not including the fringe. In a pile about the size of a dinner plate, it is gossamer.

I love the structure, too. There are two breads of silkworms used. I have a cocoon from each one. The thick threads are from a different breed from the thin ones.

Of course the selvedges are perfection. I’m inspired by the structure. Putting that little thicker thread in regularly makes it so you notice the fabric.  Another two-shaft idea which doesn’t have to use such fine threads, of course.

A close-up. I find it looks really great close and at a distance. And, amazingly enough, it doesn’t snag on my sort-of-rough hands!

Here’s how the fringe was handled. Again perfection!

More Inspiration for Hand Manipulated Weaves – And another two-shaft weave

Mary Balzar Buskirk is the artist who wove the piece shown in the previous post, dated March 20, 2021.

I love textiles that interest me, especially ones that are weavable or peak my curiosity. This linen-like piece fits all of the criteria. Often when I come across a fabric I remember where I got it and have a nice memory or story behind it. This one I don’t remember at all. I’m getting back into my studio and doing a bit of sorting and somehow, this piece turned up. It is 14” wide so that means it probably came from Japan.

The cloth is so simple. It is yardage so the groups of tassels repeat the entire length.

So my curiosity took me to see what they did at the selvedges with the tassel wefts. The thick weft is carried up a little shy of ½”. That seems just right and not disfiguring. In fact, I think it adds a subtle bit of interest.

I put my macro lens on my iPhone to see just what the wefts were doing. I needed to see how the tassel weft fit into the plain weave. The thick weft goes halfway across the fabric in its own shed. It’s interesting that the wefts before and after it are in the same shed with just the thick weft in the opposite shed and going only halfway across the width of the cloth.

Here we can see that the thick weft has its own shed—but we know that it only goes ½ way across the

Also interesting to see what makes up the thick weft. Several strands and not alike.

Often there are clues at the cut end of a cloth.

An Inspiration for a Hand Manipulated Weave: Another two shaft weave

This is a black and white photo I’ve saved for many years. In real life, it is very colorful with LOTS of color changes. If I remember correctly it was woven by Mary Balzar Buskirk. I googled her name and found she died in 1981 at the age of 52 and lived in Pennsylvania. It’s really hand manipulated and slow to weave, but has a lot of potential.

Here is a detail of another area. I think it’s interesting that she left some modules unwoven. It looks like the warp threads were black and spaced as sections in the reed.

Ghiordes Knot

This knot is one that is used for making pile rugs. It can also be used for texture and decoration.

Usually, a few strands of wool yarn are used together if you want to make pile as in rugs. Yarn or thread of any color or texture can be used if textures are desired. Use single strands or multiples to achieve the look you want.

Start with some rows of plain weave.

The shed is closed.

Cut the yarn in short pieces in your desired color(s)—approximately twice the length you want your pile to be plus a little extra. You want to cut them long enough, so it isn’t difficult to make the knots. You might cut the pile shorter after it is on the warp and waste some yarn, but it is well worth it so you can make many knots quickly. Experiment with different lengths (and different numbers of strands to use together) to determine what works best for you.

Step 1: Lay a length of one pile yarn (or group of yarns) over 2 warp threads as shown in the illustration.

Step 2: Wrap the ends of the yarn around the 2 threads and bring them back up between the warp threads as shown.

Step 3: Pull on the tails gently to tighten the knot and slide it down snuggly against the previous row of plain weaving.

Step 4: Continue making knots around pairs of warp threads across the warp or where desired.

Don’t worry if the pile yarns aren’t all equal in length or are too long because you will probably trim them later.

Step 5: Weave two rows of plain weave between rows of knots. This action is important because if you don’t, you won’t have any cloth, just vertical rows of pile knots that will be separate from each other. It’s the plain weave between the rows that integrates the knots into the cloth. The pile usually is long enough so these rows are hidden.

Step 6: Trim the pile to the length desired and for a tidier look.


This is how many pile carpets are woven. If you look carefully between the rows of pile you can see the plain weave rows. You can also tell where the weaver began and ended a carpet. Because of the way you slide the knots down snuggly in step 3, the pile lies in one direction. Pet the carpet as you would pet a cat. If it’s the smooth direction, you are petting the carpet from the end toward the beginning.

If you think you’d like to make a real pile rug, consult books especially written for making rugs.

Also, there are special scissors available for cutting the pile evenly. Most pile rugs have designs in them made by using different colors for the knots. Geometric designs are easy to make using this technique. For more detailed designs, you would need a very fine scale with thin threads and hundreds of knots per square inch.


This technique can be used as an edge finish or in a contrasting color as a decorative stitch. It creates a flat, dashed line on the surface.

Weave some plain weave.

Use a separate weft in a matching or contrasting color.

Cut a length of weft as long as 3 times the width of the warp.

The shed is closed.

Start at the right edge of the warp.

Fold the weft in half and center it on the right selvedge thread, one half of the weft goes over 2 warp threads, the other goes under the same 2 warp threads and then they swap places. Repeat across the warp.

The number of warp threads in the groups can vary according to the look you like. You can experiment with this technique and invent different looks. The main thing is that the top and the bottom “threads” switch places.

Danish Medallion

This makes a very nice decorative “stitch”. All the steps sound confusing, but it is clear what to do when you are at the loom and do as the directions say. You may be quite surprised that your work does look like the illustration. It is a lovely technique.

Wind the “medallion yarn” on a separate shuttle. Often this yarn is a contrasting color. If the same color as the warp is used, it makes a more subtle pattern, which is nice in silk.

You might want a small crochet hook for this technique. A tapestry needle might work for you just as well.

Work on an open shed. See the instructions for working on an open shed at the end of the directions for the medallions, below.

Remember always to keep the plain weave order of the wefts.

Weave a plain weave heading and end with the shuttle on the left side such that the outside warp thread on the right edge of the warp is up in the completed row, as in the illustration.

Step 1: Open the next plain weave shed. (Now, the right edge thread will be down.) Enter the medallion yarn into the shed and end with the shuttle on the right edge of the cloth.

Step 2: Follow with several rows of plain weave using the same yarn as in the heading. To make the pattern work out, weave an odd number of wefts between pattern rows. In the case of the illustration, three rows of plain weave are woven.

Step 3. Open the next shed. (This is the same as the one for the first medallion shed.) Enter the medallion yarn part way into the shed from the right. You will have carried the medallion yarn up at the selvedge from its first row. Note that in the illustration, this row of medallion yarn starts with a partial pattern so the staggered design will work out. In this case, when you begin the row, go under 1 thread as per the directions for working on an open shed, below.

Step 4: Bring the medallion yarn to the surface.

Step 5: Here is an overview of the next step. In it you will do the preparation necessary to hook the second medallion weft into the first one below it. You will pass the shuttle through a loop you will make in the first medallion weft and then, take the shuttle up to the open shed to continue the stitch. After the shuttle has passed through the loop in the lower medallion weft, the lower weft will be straightened out, which will pull the second weft down, which makes the loop shown in the illustration. (After this step, the initial loop in the first weft will not exist anymore.)

Follow these directions. Trace the warp thread next to the one where the shuttle came out of the shed down to the first medallion weft. (It will be a warp from the bottom of the shed.) Using a small crochet hook or tapestry needle, pick up the first medallion weft yarn and make a loop on the hook or needle. In other words, where you hook the lower medallion weft should line up with the space where the upper weft came out.

Step 6: Enlarge the loop so that the shuttle can pass through it. In doing this job, you’ll be pulling on the bottom weft and distorting things a bit in order to make the loop large enough. Pass the shuttle through the loop.

Even with a cloth where the warp threads are close together, you can easily do this operation. You just push apart the warp threads.

Step 7: Straighten out the bottom row loop. Pull the bottom row straight again so it pulls the top row down to make its own loop.

Repeat the steps for more medallions in the row, now passing the yarn under 4 warp threads. (To make multiple rows of the pattern work out, you need to pass the shuttle under 4 threads from now on as you go across the row, as shown in the illustration.) Future rows should alternate where the loops are. See the illustration. Remember to make the design work out, take the shuttle under 4 threads in the open shed and use an odd number of wefts between medallion rows. It is important. You need to have a total of seven warp threads between the medallion loops. It matters because if you don’t, the shed sequence won’t work out and the staggering of the loops won’t be evenly spaced. For clarification on counting threads in an open shed, read below.

Working with an Open Shed: How to Count the Threads: (Repeated from the previous post on Spanish lace.)

See the photo and see that the shed is open, and the shuttle is passing part way across the warp before it is taken out of the shed. (Then it will be on the surface of the cloth.) I numbered the threads to show how to count the threads when the directions say go under a certain number of threads. I do it by counting the number of threads that are above the shuttle—that is, the threads the shuttle is passing under. In the illustration, the shuttle is going under 10 threads.