Recreating Herringbone on a 16-Shaft Loom


Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn

Dear Madelyn,
I’ve woven a lot of tweed cloth for jackets and waistcoats, using Harris yarns and a herringbone twill threading 4-3-2-1 / 3-4-1-2. But recently I saw some blankets for sale with a really broad version of this, a kind of magnified or giant herringbone with each stripe several threads thick. Could you please explain how (or if!) I might re-create this on a 16-shaft loom? (See an example at; Natural British Chevron)
Very many thanks,
Hi Derek!
I was intrigued by your question after going to the site and looking at the examples. I think you can achieve what you are looking for on 16 shafts, easily. The stripes will show in contrast to each other as a difference in twill direction. But I think that a wonderful effect for blankets that would take only four shafts would be to weave stripes of warp twill vs weft twill; see the second draft. In it, you’ll see both a difference in twill direction and a contrast in warp vs weft colors.
Both of these drafts will work best in wool or a wool-like fiber to keep the contrasting diagonal floats from shifting a bit. For the 4-shaft draft, in a smoother yarn, the stripes will tend to form “pleats”; that is, the 3/1 twill stripes will curve upward, the 1/3 twill stripes will curve downward.
When you weave your blanket, send us a photo!

4-shaft vs. 16-shaft draft



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