Shaker Style Twisted-Weft Rug

You might not realize it, but the Shakers of old gave us a lot to be thankful for. Do you own a flat-bottomed broom? Those were first patented by a Shaker. Do you enjoy buying packages of seeds every spring? Shakers invented those, too. Shakers also wove, and their weaving also introduced many of us to the fascinating twisted-weft technique used by Sara Bixler in her Shaker-style Twisted-Weft Rug from the January/February 2019 issue of Handwoven. This simple technique creates wonderful, complex designs in plain weave—all just by twisting your weft after each pick. Here’s what Sara has to say about her design:

Twisted-Weft Rug

Sara Bixler’s Twisted-Weft Rug only looks complicated.

Designer Sara Bixler’s Statement

The Shakers are known for their simple use of design and uncomplicated weave structures, limited most often to plain weave or basic twills. For this project, I wanted to create a piece similar in scale to those that would have been woven in the Shaker communities. I chose a flat, dark color for the warp so that it would recede and allow the weft colors to dominate. For weft, I picked an 8/16 mop cotton with a large color selection that allowed me to have a nice range of light, medium, and dark values.

I am the first to admit that this type of weaving is slow, as you must twist the weft threads with every pass of the shuttle. However, I think you will be impressed when you stand back from your piece and see it come alive—it will, quite literally, appear to be moving. By passing along this technique, I hope you enjoy this simple, time-honored tradition of weaving.

Happy Weaving!

Project at a Glance

PROJECT TYPE: 2-shaft.

STRUCTURE: Plain weave with weft manipulation.

EQUIPMENT: 2-shaft loom, 26″ weaving width; 12-dent reed; 1 boat shuttle; 1 bobbin; 1 ski shuttle.

YARNS: 8/4 cotton carpet warp (1,600 yd/lb; Red Stone Glen Fiber Arts Center). 8/16 mop cotton (420 yd/lb; Red Stone Glen Fiber Arts Center).

Featured Image: Sara Bixler’s Twisted-Weft Rug uses a simple technique to create an eye-catching pattern.

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