New eBook on Honeycomb!

  Alderman Blanket
  Blanket by Sharon Alderman 
  Alderman Swatches
   Swatches by Sharon Alderman 
  Essin-Hedin Baby Outfit
   Bib by Margaretha Essin-Hedin

Nothing is quite so appealing to a weaver as to weave something that looks one way on the loom, remove it, wash it, and find it completely transformed. (Er, except when the transformation is something one doesn’t want, as when soft wool turns into a stiff board.) This is not usually a problem with honeycomb. Simply releasing the tension to advance the warp causes little round cells to take shape—wet-finishing only adds to their depth. In this eBook, you’ll find everything you need to know to design and weave wonderfully textured honeycomb fabrics.

Honeycomb is not a specific weave structure but a term we use to describe a cloth in which some threads wiggle around others to make wavy shapes. Usually, alternate groups of warp threads weave plain weave while the other (alternate groups) don’t weave at all. When this is preceded and followed by wefts that weave plain weave with all the warp threads, these two wefts outline the plain-weave cells.

In England, they use the word honeycomb for what we call waffle weave—both weaves create a texture much like the honeycomb made by honeybees­—Margaretha Essen-Hedin’s baby bib is a typical example. (As I write this, I can’t get the Marty Robbins version of Honeycomb out of my head!)

There is nothing quite like the rich texture and depth of a honeycomb fabric. The overall effects depend a lot on the weft yarn that outlines the cells. The thick cotton chenille weft in Sharon Alderman’s blanket creates a soft, thick, cosy cloth. If a fine weft is used for the outlining weft, attention turns to the cells themselves, as in the light blue cells in Sharon Alderman’s Honeycomb Swatch Collection and the colored cells in Jane Patrick’s wool pillow. Novelty knitting yarns (eyelash, sequinned, etc.) can be used for the outlining weft, calling attention to themselves rather than the cell texture, as in Suzie Liles’s purse collection. 

The good news is that honeycomb fabrics can be woven successfully on four shafts. Most of the projects in this eBook, in fact, are woven on four shafts (one is woven on a rigid-heddle loom). Because blocks in overshot are threaded on alternating shafts (1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-1), honeycomb can be woven on any overshot threading. In fact, experimenting with honeycomb after you’ve finished an overshot project is a great way to design at the loom, trying out different outline wefts and cell heights.

The bad news is that the back of a honeycomb cloth shows long floats as the cell weft skips under the groups of warp threads that don’t weave. For that reason, pillow tops or fabrics that can be lined (for vests and bags) are the usual choices for honeycomb. If you have eight shafts, however, you can use Sharon Alderman’s clever drafting method to weave double-faced honeycomb, a cloth with cells on both faces and no floats.

Many of the projects in this eBook require only small amounts of fabric (an iPod case!) and would make great holiday gifts­ as well as being just plain fun to weave. 


Madelyn van der Hoogt

Liles Bag Spacer 10x10 pixels Patrick Pillow
 Purse by Suzie Liles    Pillow by Jane Patrick

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