Ask Madelyn: 4-Shaft Draft for Savory Towels

The last issue of Handwoven shows a rigid-heddle project for towels (Jenny Sennott, “Two Savory Towels for the Rigid-Heddle Loom,” November/December 2017, pp. 38-40).

I was hoping that there might be a 4-shaft draft that would weave the same towels without requiring pick-up.


Hi Nancy!

It was fun figuring this out (not all rigid-heddle projects using pick-up can be translated into shaft-loom threadings; luckily this one can). Note that an important part of the Savory Towels’ appeal comes from the materials. The textured circles created by the floats might not be as effective using other yarns.

Savory Towels

Savory Towels, Figure 1

For the towels, wind the warp as instructed in the article (add about 12” to warp length for additional loom waste). Thread following the 4-shaft draft shown above. Be sure that the doubled dark brown ends are threaded on Shaft 4. Weave the towels following the treadling orders for Towels 1 and 2, beginning and ending with 1¾” for hems. You could use a finer yarn for the first and last half inch of each towel to reduce hem bulk. Let me know how your towels come out!


P.S. I derived this draft by doing a drawdown of the threads and then assigning the same shaft to warp threads that weave like each other. This process is called fabric analysis. Several versions of the resulting draft are possible, depending on which warp thread you start with.

Draft for towel 1

Draft for towel 1

Draft for Towel 2

Draft for Towel 2

Discover new resources at Interweave!



  1. Kerry J at 8:27 pm December 13, 2017

    Thank you so much for the question and answer! I was wondering the same thing, it was mind boggling for me to figure out. I love these towels.
    Kerry J

  2. Jennifer S at 11:25 am December 14, 2017

    I had to chuckle when I read this – A weaver asking for help converting a rigid heddle project to 4 shafts. Usually rigid heddle weavers want to know how to convert shaft patterns to rigid heddle! However, Madelyn’s explanation is a great backdoor way for rigid heddle weavers to take a peek at trying to convert a 4 shaft pattern to rigid heddle.

Post a Comment