Ask Madelyn: Starry Sky Placemat Project

Hi Madelyn!

I would love to try the Starry Sky Placemat project in the September/October 2016 issue of Handwoven (pages 50–52), but I can’t figure out how to do the threading. Where do I start?


Hi Ruth!

The Starry Sky Placemats are threaded following what is called a “profile threading draft.” This one has a unique feature in that it indicates something about warp colors as well as what shafts to thread, but it is read the same way all profile threading drafts are read. They show the threading order of the blocks rather than the threading order of the shafts.

This profile threading draft consists of two rows. The bottom row represents Block A, the top row Block B. Start reading a profile threading draft on the right side. In this one, the first mark on the right in the profile threading is a dark blue square for Block A. Next there is a dark blue square for Block B, then A, then B, then A. After this, there are five lighter blue squares in the row for Block B, then two squares (dark blue) for Block A, etc.

Starry Sky Placemat: Profile threading draft part a

The actual shafts to thread for Blocks A and B in summer and winter are shown in Figure 2. Every square in the Block A row is threaded 1-3-2-3; every square in the Block B row is threaded 1-4-2-4. For the blocks we have just identified, you would thread 1–3-2-3 (for A), 1-4-2-4 (for B), 1-3-2-3, 1–4-2-4, 1-3-2-3 (these threads would all be dark blue). Then you’d thread Block B (1-4-2-4) five times (in the lighter blue).

Starry Sky Placemat Threading and treadling units

Notice that farther on in this profile threading there are white lines in some of the squares. This indicates that that group of four threads will start with one white warp thread. While this might look confusing in the profile draft, you would have wound those white warp threads in those positions following the warp color order. They do not affect the threading order of the shafts, which is always Block A = 1-3-2-3 and Block B = 1-4-2-4.

Profile drafts and unit weaves all work this way, by simple substitution of a specific threading unit for each square on a threading profile draft. These placemats are now available as a kit! The kit includes the profile draft in the digital download of the magazine, plus a standard draft, and a downloadable WIF that shows every warp end and every pick. By comparing the three you can see exactly how a profile draft works and decide which draft you want to use for weaving the placemats.


If you have a weaving question we would love to hear from you! Please email Madelyn! Pictured above: Summer Lace Placemats and Mug Rugs by Suzie Liles Handwoven May/June 2017. View related & recent “Ask Madelyn” posts!

View related & recent “Ask Madelyn” posts!

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