To Turn, Or Not to Turn

  This Beiderwand scarf sparked Karen's idea to turn a draft.

imageplaceholder Karen Donde
Contributor, Weaving Today

Many hours into weaving a Beiderwand scarf, alternating a tabby shuttle of 60/2 silk and a pattern shuttle of 16/2 bamboo, I figured out why such supplementary weft weaves are not often used for delicate scarves. That’s a lot of picks per inch when you’re shuffling shuttles of fine yarn back and forth, but I loved the results!

The motifs were stunning–distinct pattern areas in orderly rectangular blocks of varying sizes. I knew if I expected to sell any of these wonderful scarves, I had to find a faster way to weave them. Then it hit me. What if I turned the draft?

As I was using the same yarn for Beiderwand’s main and secondary warps, if I made that threading the treadling and vice versa, I could weave the scarf with one shuttle and simplify the treadling pattern. This meant my pattern floats would be warp-wise vs. weft-wise, but I wondered whether that might actually improve the scarf’s drape.

  The result of turning a Beiderwand draft.

The “turning” part was surprisingly simple. Take any draft printed on a piece of paper and, literally, turn the paper 90 degrees. Voila! A turned draft.

Make the former weft into the warp, read the former treadling as the threading and then treadle the threading with what was the warp yarn. Sounded simple enough, until I started weaving and realized the pattern areas were reversed from what the drawdown showed. As the cloth rolled under the breast beam, I saw the problem. I was weaving it upside-down!

I hadn’t done that since my first encounter with Marguerite Porter Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, with its sinking-shed drafts. Clearly, the trick to turning a draft is in the tie-up. I’ll be demystifying the turned-draft tie-up and explaining when turning a draft makes sense and when it doesn’t in an April 27 Web seminar, How & Why to Turn a Draft. Hope you can join me!


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