Peggy’s Weaving Tips > How to read weaving drafts

Drafting for Weaving A

Drafting for Weaving A

A weave draft is divided into four quadrants–each one a different size. See Figure A. The bold lines are the skeleton of all drafts and divide the whole draft into separate parts. Figure B shows the quadrants of a weave draft and a description of what each quadrant represents.

Drafting for Weaving B

Drafting for Weaving B

To interpret the drafts, read outwards from the bold lines in the directions the arrows show (Figure C). In other words, in the upper left section, read the draft from right-to-left. Read from left-to-right in the upper right section, and so on. It can be confusing, sometimes starting from the right and sometimes starting from the left. The key is to see that everything works outward from the bold lines.

Drafting for Weaving C

Drafting for Weaving C

Each part of a weave draft can be called a draft. That is, a threading draft, a tie-up draft, a treadling draft, and a drawdown draft complete a weave draft. The threading draft shows how the strands are to be threaded in the heddles on the shafts. Once the threads have been put into the heddles, they will not normally ever be changed for the entire warp. The tie-up draft and the treadling draft tell which shafts are to be lifted and when. They can be changed anytime along the way. The drawdown area shows the results from the other parts of the draft.



The above tip is an excerpt from Book 3: “Weaving and Drafting Your Own Cloth”. It is from the extensive 40-page chapter on Drafting with 77 illustrations in the Drafting Chapter alone! The chapter contains comprehensive discussions on analyzing fabric and multi-shaft weaving.



11 thoughts on “Peggy’s Weaving Tips > How to read weaving drafts

  1. Thanks so much. I have a Kromski 32″ Rigid Heddle loom. doyou have any suggestions for books that would have patterns and projects for it?

  2. I know to read the draft from right to left. However, when I am standing at the back of the loom I thread right to left through heddles, right?

    • If you are at the back and threading the heddles from right to left you should read the draft beginning at the left side of the draft and read the draft from left to right. You want the draft to read right to left as you are looking at the heddles at the front of the loom. However, it may not make any difference if the draft is symmetrical. Then you can do whatever you like. Let me know if this isn’t clear and I’ll try to explain it better. Peggy

  3. I am trying to decipher a treadling draft taken from Davison’s Handweaver’s Pattern Book, page 144 Nappy’s Butterflies. Most of the boxes are marked with a slash except that there is a 3 in some. What does that mean?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Patty Linville
    Seward, Alaska

    • The 3’s mean that you repeat that treadle tie-up for 3 times—that is: repeat 2,3 for 3 times then repeat 1,2 for 3 times, for example. Do you understand that you need to use tabby? Do you understand that in the Davison book the tie ups all show the shafts that should be LOWERED? If you read the tie-ups for shafts lifted, the pattern will be on the back side of your cloth. If you have questions, please let me know. I should be able to answer them today. You might want to have my book, Weaving for Beginners where I explain this in my chapter on drafting and mention the difference the Davison book is from most books written today on pages 198 and what to do on page 121. I’ll be happy to explain this if you don’t know it already.

  4. Dear Peggy, How do you read a tie up draft that is printed on the left and the top horizontal warp draft goes to the right. The vertical treadling draft is just as confusing.
    Do I flip it over?

    • Is this an American book or European? If it is a Scandinavian book, they are different, see below. Is the draft at the top of the page? If so, there shouldn’t be any problem if the tie up draft is on on the left or right. As for the treadling I think it is the same as usual, too. Read from the top down with the top being the first row of weaving. (unless it tells you different.) Since the draft is for a pattern I assume, then I would thread it as the threading draft suggests: starting at the left. If it’s a Scandinavian draft they call shaft #1 the shaft at the BACK of the loom–the opposite from “our” way. Maybe you could email me a photo of the draft and the cover of the book. Another thought: READ the first few pages of the book to see if they explain the drafting system. I have a whole chapter on weave drafting in my book, Weaving for Beginners. Let me know if you still have questions and I’ll try to explain another way. Photos would help. You can contact me from the website to send photos.

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