Posts Tagged ‘5/2 Bamboo’

Pattern Dictionaries – Springboard to Creativity

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
Share Button

Greetings from the Weaving Room!

As the daughter of a reference librarian, I grew up loving books and using them to learn about the world. It was only natural, then, when I moved into the fiber world to continue to rely on books for knowledge and inspiration. One of my favorite things to do is sit down with a pile of pattern dictionaries and page through them looking for ideas, leaving a path of colorful page markers in my wake.

Weaving pattern directories - available at

Weaving pattern dictionaries are books that present a plethora of pattern ideas that you can then use to create a project. They will show the threading, tie up and treadling for one repeat of the pattern and usually include photos of the resulting cloth. Oftentimes you will see multiple variations in treadling or tie up to produce different patterns from the same threading. My favorite books for weaving include the vintage and ever-popular A Handweaver’s Pattern Book  by Marguerite Davison and The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon which are both for 4-shaft looms. A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patternsedited by Carol Strickler is great for the 8-shaft looms and for rigid heddle weavers there is Jane Patrick’s wonderful Weaver’s Idea Book.

Four Shaft Twill Towels, Valley Yarns Draft #33 - available at

One of the things I love about these books is seeing the variety of patterns that can be achieved with one threading, just by changing the tie up or treadling. I feel like I’m getting more bang for my warp, so to speak, and can put on a long warp and weave lots of things without getting bored with the pattern. When I designed the Four Shaft Twill Towels (Draft #33), I put on a long warp in natural and then varied things by changing the weft colors and also by changing the tie up. It felt like each towel was new, which kept it fun, and it allowed me to make sets of towels (and you know how much I love sets that are matchy but still uniquely individual!)

Exploring huck patterns with Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo - available at

Learning this process of translating a weaving pattern into a project draft has been very liberating for me. I often fall in love with the feel of a specific yarn and then get stuck trying to find a draft that fits. Last summer as we prepared for Convergence, I knew I needed to dress a 4-shaft loom for the floor model. I wanted to use our Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo which is soft and drapey and perfect for scarves and shawls. I looked through my pattern dictionaries, fell in love with a huck pattern and the result is the Lemongrass Scarf (draft will be available for sale in April).

So cozy up with a good book and start translating inspiration into handwovens! I’d love to see what you create.

Lattice Weave Scarf from Virginia West

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Share Button

This month puts us one third of the way through our 40th Anniversary year, it is flying past! To celebrate the end of this fourth month we have the next Anniversary weaving Draft, the lovely Lattice Weave Scarf from Virginia West. With a combination Of Valley Yarns 8/2 Tencel and 5/2 Bamboo your possible color combinations are almost limitless!

About the draft Virginia says, “The draft for Lattice Weave depends on the relationship of two yarns: one for the cells and a larger contrasting size for the outlines. I had previously used a similar draft to produce medallions, with curvilinear outlines in a heavier silk. This time I designed a geometric lattice weave of paired “cobblestones” in a mosaic of scattered color cells. The secret is to use a neutral weft to allow the rainbow colors to emerge with no reduction in chroma. The versatility of the draft is that  you can restrain color to two values, if you wish. Or you can use leftovers for the “cells” provided there is a contrast for the lattice. I have tried all these versions in a variety of yarns with success.

Pair a colorful warp with a neutral weft for lots of color interest.

About her history with WEBS she says, “In the late 70’s I received consistent repeat orders for my book WEAVERS WEARABLES ( and later for DESIGNER DIAGONALS) from a weaving shop in Amherst under the label Valley Fibers. I had a hunch this was a growing business. When I met Barbara and Art Elkins at Convergence my hunch was confirmed and I was bowled over by their yarn collection, now trading as WEBS. Barbara invited me to teach a workshop, the first of many, in Northampton, and these were mutually successful events for us. Still later, when I took over the revised edition of FINISHING TOUCHES from Interweave Press, the orders came as before, likewise with A CUT ABOVE.” If you’re a weaver be sure to check out our weaving contest, there’s still time to enter!