Twill triangles on 8 shafts

Lemonade Weaves: 5A

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?’

I knew I would end up complicating a simple numbering system! Anyway, I am posting an update to the double-faced twills in Lemonade Weave 5 for two reasons.


I want to emphasise again that this structure is not double weave. You can read a definition of double weave here, but the crucial point is that for a double weave you need two sets of warp threads and two sets of weft threads. As I explained in my previous post, this structure has only one set of warp threads. It is not a double weave.

It is, however, referred to as double-faced. This is a term which is quite tricky to pin down, and I am not going to go into detail here! The essence of this particular weave is that we are managing to make a twill fabric that is weft-faced on both sides.

8-shaft zig-zags

Several people have expressed an interest in weaving the zig-zag pattern on 8 shafts, so I thought I would use that as an opportunity to illustrate how the doubling of the weft is structured.

The main issue with taking this pattern to 8 rather than 16 shafts is the question of scale. The points here are only 15 threads wide, so bear that in mind when choosing a suitable yarn. If your sett is, say, 30 epi, then your zigs and your zags will be only half an inch wide. A yarn which you can comfortably set at about 16 epi will give you a much more dramatic effect.

Two faces, two wefts

Let’s set up an imaginary 8-shaft loom with a point threading. Using the liftplan shown below, we can easily create zig-zags.

We can see the zig-zag shape clearly because the warp and weft are different colours. A warp-dominant area alternates with a weft-dominant area. It’s a pretty nice weave just as it is, in fact.

But now let’s use a different colour of weft.

Note that as well as changing the colour of the weft I have also moved the liftplan to start at a different point in the sequence. The set of lifts is the same, but the treadling sequence is offset from the original. This can be seen clearly at the top of the drawdown. Look at the row of triangles which appear right under the threading: in the first drawdown these are pink (the weft is showing) but in the second drawdown these triangles are white (the warp is showing).

I have also made this lifting sequence shorter. The first draft includes three repeats of the pattern, the second includes only two.


So I have a blue-and-white pattern and a pink-and-white pattern, but what I want to achieve is a blue-and-pink pattern on my white warp. To do this, I need to interleave the two liftplans so that I alternate my two wefts.

In the new draft below I am weaving one row from the blue draft followed by one row from the pink draft. Because the warp-faced areas of one draft correspond to the weft-faced areas of the other, the warp will end up almost completely covered by the wefts. This gives me interlocking zig-zags of blue and pink.

I left that extra repeat in pink at the end of the sequence to show how you can segue from areas with one weft to areas with two wefts and vice versa. This is analogous to the 16-shaft draft I shared before.

If we wanted to create the illusion of the floating zig-zags, we would change the pink yarn to a white one for the bottom section like this:

What about a tie-up?

Another point that I mentioned previously is that these weaves are expensive in terms of lifts, and hence can be tricky on a floor loom with treadles. This particular liftplan requires 14 distinct lifts, as shown below. The tie-up can be reduced to ten treadles, as long as your loom is suitable for multi-pedal treadling, but at the cost of making the treadling more complex. Full details of the skeleton tie-up and several treadling sequences are given in the online resource pack available from my digital shop.

Getting carried away

Double-faced twill is a great way to use up small amounts of yarn, but the zig-zag pattern isn’t quite the ‘simple weave’ I had in mind when I started this series! However, I hope that for some of you this is an enjoyable new way to think about our old favourites, the 1/3 and 3/1 twills.

Happy weaving!

Want to know more about double-faced twills? This online resource pack introduces the principles step by step in written and audio formats.

Includes downloadable drafts for four and eight shafts, presented both as printable PDFs and as WIFs you can edit yourself, plus a complete project specification for a two-block eight-shaft scarf design.

First posted on © Cally Booker

8 Responses

  • Wow! I need to try this out. I know it’s a nice problem to have, but I am still working (and being at home, I have to try and block out the sound of my looms calling to me) so can’t imagine when I’ll get to it. But thanks, Cally, I always open your emails and my head goes off to good places. I hope the lemonade stall is paying dividends. Yours was the story that brought home to me the reality of the self-employed teacher and crafter. When I next sign up for a weaving course, it will be with you. Only a textbook to write and a garden to sort …

    • Oops, I shouldn’t be distracting you from work! I’d make a habit of posting at the weekend, if I had any idea of when the weekend is these days… Thanks for the support and the vote of confidence. It is very challenging at the moment, but the lemonade stand has given me a much-needed boost. It is a tough time to be self-employed, but in many ways I am very, very fortunate – not least in having weaving to keep me going.

  • Well, I’m brand new to weaving and have found your posts on block weaving helpful. I came across this post because it was suggested as something I might like at the bottom of one of those posts. How right it was! Indeed, I”m trying to weave (as my second project!) a set of zig-zag place-mats for my SIL. Thinking I would hem the edges (hence the block theory research – if I hem edges of something like this, the zig-zag pattern might get lost and hey, why not learn something else at the same time?). I’ve been thinking of weaving these sideways, but after reading this I’m now thinking of working with this pattern (with just the plain 2 colored ones at the top) as they would sit in front of me at a table. I’d still have a couple of extra shafts for the plain weave border (I have a Macomber ad-a-harness with 10 harnesses…

    • Glad you like a zig-zag too, Jennifer! If you’re adding a border to a twill, then you might get on better with a basket-weave than a plain weave, just to match the take-up in both parts of the cloth. I should probably write a post or two about selvedges, but in the meantime the late Sandra Rude posted a draft on her blog here in case you’d like to take a look.

      • Oh! I hadn’t thought of the different pack in of plain weave vs the pack in of something else. I’ll have to do some more research about basket weave, but I’ll only have two extra harnesses after the zig-zag pattern, and the blog you linked to said I’d need 2 shafts for each side of the border.

        • Sorry, I wasn’t counting! There are a couple of things you can do. One is to weight the selvedge threads separately so that the differential take-up doesn’t affect your warp tension. There are other tricks for threading selvedges as well. Laura Fry has this blog post on a selvedge for twills which don’t need any extra shafts.

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