Mix-and-match with Colour-and-Weave

Lemonade Weaves: 4

When life gives you lemons… weave yourself some lemonade. To keep us all going during the global coronavirus pandemic – whether we’re self-isolating, quarantined or just keeping a safe distance – I decided to share a few ways to make the most of simple drafts. There’s no master plan, but the theme is loosely ‘what can I do with the odd bits of yarn I have to hand?’


This is an enormous family of weaves and perfect for times when you need to mix-and-match. Colour-and-weave effects can be created with twills (see below), but amazingly some of the most striking effects are actually based in plain weave. It works on any number of shafts, and you can use the 2 shaft log cabin on a rigid heddle loom.

Log cabin

The trick to getting a log cabin effect on two shafts is swapping your colours. If you have yarn A and yarn B, then you thread A-B-A-B for as many ends as you like, then switch the order and thread B-A-B-A instead. At every switch you will have two warp ends the same colour.


You can weave log cabin easily on 4 shafts by assigning two shafts to each block. Having made that tweak, though, why not tweak some more?

With a little rearrangement you can create four design blocks which work in pairs. In this example I have taken a slightly different approach, by varying the threading rather than the colour order. Look closely and you’ll see that at the boundaries between blocks, some threads go over or under two rather than one. We can cope with that! It gives us the benefit of a very flexible threading.

More blocks

Now we’ve got the idea, we can keep adding blocks until we run out of shafts. Here’s an example on 8:

Going further

You aren’t limited to blocks, by any means. If you want some inspiration, try searching for ‘colour-and-weave’ or ‘shadow weave’. You’ll find dozens of drafts based on this alternating sequence in warp in and weft.

I’ve shared a few colour-and-weave designs in the past:


In an ideal world you would have two different shades of the same yarn, typically a light and a dark value for maximum contrast. However, in a not-so-ideal world you can experiment with different types of contrast. You might try a more subtle value contrast, or you might experiment with two different thicknesses or even two different fibres.

In contrast to the deliberate differential shrinkage involved in a bubble weave, you can ‘damp down’ that effect to some extent when your two yarns are interlaced more densely. The one-by-one alternating sequence and the plain weave structure both contribute to resist differential shrinkage as long as you treat your fabric gently.

First posted on weavingspace.co.uk © Cally Booker