Tabby and Pattern

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn
Hi, there.

In the "Mary Meigs Atwater Recipe Book" Series VI No. 11 it says,"Weave the pattern as follows:

  • Treadle 2, 7 shots darker color
  • Treadle 4, 7 shots lighter color, etc.

My question is: how can you put 7 picks in one shed and have the pattern work out?  There are other patterns in the book that call for 3 or 4 picks in one shed.  I think I must be missing something.  Can you help me understand this?  I'd like to try some of these patterns, but they just don't make sense to me. Thanks for your help.


Hi Alice!

Every new weaver experiences your perplexity when they first use Mary Meigs Atwater’s or Marguerite Davison’s books. The clue to the answer to your question is in the yarn information and the tie-up. Notice the word “tabby.” (In some of the drafts in these books, you’ll find the words “Use tabby.”) This means that each pattern pick alternates with a tabby [
aka "plain weave"] pick. To keep the treadling drafts from being excessively long, only the pattern picks are shown. So: after every pattern pick, weave a tabby pick; for tabby, alternate between treadles A and B (1-3 vs 2-4). I usually enter the tabby shuttle from the same side of the loom as the tabby treadle I’m using, so I don’t have to remember which one to use (right treadle, right side; left treadle, left side).



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