Weaving Drafts Examined

OK, let’s get straight to the point! A lot of new weavers find weaving drafts very confusing. This is not at all surprising, because they come in so many different flavours depending on the resources you use. However, the good news is that the underlying principles are really quite straightforward. Generations of weavers have used drafts to pass on information to their students and colleagues, so let’s continue that historic tradition by working through the components of the weaving draft piece by piece.

To get us started, let’s observe that we can divide up all of the variety into two main ways in which contemporary weaving drafts are presented.

Tie-up format

weaving draft in tie-up format

In this presentation the weaving draft consists of three essential elements: the threading, the tie-up and the treadling. The drawdown, which is a schematic representation of the cloth itself, is often shown as well but is not in fact essential. All the information needed to create the drawdown yourself, or to weave the structure straight away, is contained in the other three components.

weaving draft in tie-up format with components identified

Liftplan format

weaving draft in liftplan format

This is the very same draft, but it is now shown in liftplan format. The number of essential elements has been reduced to two: the threading and the liftplan. Again, the drawdown may be included.

weaving draft in liftplan format with components identified

What’s the difference?

To a great extent, the difference is cultural. The tie-up format is essential if you are weaving on a floor loom with multiple treadles. It is commonly used in books and resources published in North America where weavers often use floor looms from the beginning of their weaving journey. In the UK, where weavers are more likely to weave on table looms or on dobby looms, the liftplan format is more common. The table and dobby loom weavers do have an advantage here, because every tie-up draft can be rewritten as a liftplan draft, but not the other way around! I will explain this in more detail in a future post.

For now, take a moment to look at your weaving books and magazines and have a go at identifying what format of draft they use. Do they all include tie-ups or are some shown as liftplans? Does every draft have a drawdown?

Coming up

Over the next few weeks I will discuss the individual parts of the draft, starting with the threading. In the meantime, if you have any questions please get in touch: you can email me or leave a comment below.


First posted on weavingspace.co.uk © Cally Booker





4 Responses

  • Cally, hello, I have enjoyed reading this so very much. I realised that I have not forgotten what you taught me so long ago and that is a huge testament to yourself and your brilliant teaching. After the first page I wondered if you had written a book though. I am sure you would not have had time to do so. May I say that you really should as, your diagrams and explanations are very easy to read and understand together.
    I hope you enjoy your new studio and have a lot of fun times there.

    Best wishes,

    • Thank you, Joyce, I’m glad it rings the weaving bell! I haven’t written a book yet, but it’s a project I’d like to do – just got to get it to the top of the list….

  • I’ve just discovered your blog and want to add my thanks for such a wonderful resource. You have such a clear way of explaining things, it has helped me enormously! I was beginning to get a little frustrated with all the “beginner” stuff concentrating on floor looms and treadles. Thankyou! Incidentally, we visited the Jute museum in Dundee a few years ago and peeked through the window to you Studio – if only I didn’t live at the other end of the UK!

    • Thank you! I am really glad you are finding it useful. My intention so far has basically been to address the things that confused me when I was starting out, as I reckon I can’t be the only one 😉 If you have any burning questions that you think I might be able to help with, do let me know. And now we have the V&A in Dundee, you’ll have to come back for another visit…!

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