Double twill

All the double weave drafts I have shared so far have been plain weave. However, when we are weaving on 8 shafts, we can assign 4 shafts to each layer. That means we have the capacity to set up our layers for 4-shaft structures, such as twill.

Threading two layers of twill

This is done in exactly the way you’d expect. Let’s start with a straight draw for layer 1: we thread it 4-3-2-1. And if we want a straight draw for layer 2 as well? We thread it 8-7-6-5. This is very like having two twill blocks, except that for double weave we interleave the two threadings. Ends from layer 1 alternate with ends from layer 2. It looks like this:

Notice that I was careful to frame the straight draw as a choice. We don’t have to stick to that option for our double cloth. If it will weave a 4-shaft twill as single cloth, then it is fair game to be doubled for our double twill. We might choose a 6-end point draw, like this:

And, if we really want to liven things up, we can interleave two different threadings. For instance, we could interleave the 4-end straight draw with the 6-end point draw.

In this example, the individual threading units are not the same length. It takes a total of 12 ends in each layer to complete one repeat of the whole threading: two repeats of our 6-end pattern in one layer, and three repeats of our 4-end pattern in the other. Using two different threadings can produce a really exciting effect when you exchange layers, but it does impose some constraints. I will revisit this in a later post.

Basic liftplans for double twill

It takes four picks to complete the 2//2 twill progression for a 4-shaft twill, so we will need eight picks in total to weave a twill progression for both layers. As usual, we alternate picks from each layer, and can choose whether to have layer 1 (pink) or layer 2 (grey) on top.

Do you want to understand double weave?

My six-week online course will introduce you to double weave on an 8-shaft loom.

Varying the liftplan

Just as we can vary the threading we use for our twill double cloth, so we can also vary the liftplan. There are more options than I can cover in this brief post, but here are a few suggestions to try:

  • Instead of a straight twill progression of four lifts, try a point progression of six lifts (or eight, or ten). If you weave six picks for each layer (for example), you’ll need a liftplan of 12 picks altogether.
  • Weave one layer with a straight twill and the other layer with a point twill. As with the interleaved threadings, the interleaved liftplans will probably need a longer repeat to get back to the start.
  • Instead of using balanced (2/2) lifts for both layers, weave one layer with a warp-faced or a weft-faced twill.
  • Mix it up! Some of my favourite twill drafts are a mix of both plain and twill lifts.
Drawdown of double twill on 8 shafts

Sadly I have misplaced the sample I was going to scan and share with you, so I will have to come back and add photos another time! For now, I will just post this visualisation from Fiberworks. I hope the two different twills stand out clearly enough.

What’s next?

If we are weaving on 8 shafts then we have just enough capacity for two layers of twill. But if we choose twill, then we have to say goodbye to double weave blocks. Two blocks of twill over two layers would take us up to 16 shafts. So what else can we do with our twill layers? I’ll share one of my favourite options next time.

First posted on © Cally Booker