Totally Terrific Twill

As part of my job, I am constantly surrounded by all things weaving. I spend most of each day reading, writing, and talking about various aspects of weaving, and all the beautiful projects we publish in the magazine spend several months in my office. Through Handwoven and Weaving Today, I’ve been exposed to many diverse weave structures, fibers, and patterns from around the world and throughout history.

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  Finnish Twill

Christina's Finnish twill napkins as they

appeared on the loom.

And yet, when I’m home at my own loom what do I weave? Twill. I keep telling myself that my next project will be huck lace or overshot, but then I fall in love with a new twill pattern and promise myself that the next project will be something other than twill.

According to archaeologists, twill is the second oldest known weave structure after plain weave, and there’s evidence people have been weaving twill fabrics for over thirty thousand years. So what is it about this structure that keeps us coming back?

There’s just something about twill that is understated and elegant; twills are like the little black dress of the weaving world—they never really go out of style. Twill also has a seemingly endless number of variations for each threading so you can weave many patterns on one warp without re-threading. And of course you can't speak of the virtues of twill without talking about drape. In twills, the interlacement of the threads allow them to move more freely which is why even twill fabrics made from wool hang nicely.

Minuet in Color  
Minuet in Color by Tracy Kaestner   

Another perk of twill not mentioned in any of the books is that non-weavers think you’re an artistic genius when you show them one of your twill pieces. When they see the Finnish twill towels I wove as my first project, my friends and family refuse to believe that it is actually a very simple pattern to weave. They invariably shake their heads and make further comments about how impressive the towels look. What’s not to love about that?

So even though I have access to every magazine, book, and eBook ever published on weaving by Interweave, I keep finding myself looking though the Twills on Four Shafts eBook. Maybe I'll weave the Minuet in Color runner and mats next. Or maybe I’ll use a different structure next time. Maybe.


Christina Garton

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