Topic Details

Weaving basics

For the beginner and someone who wants to brush up on technique. Learn the efficient and easy way to wind a warp, put it on the loom, thread heddles and reed, tie on and then weave. All weaving mechanics are covered: how to wind bobbins or shuttles, how to throw a shuttle and get perfect selvedges, how to manage more than one shuttles. Finishing techniques such as fringing, hem stitching are also covered as well as what to do with your weaving straight from the loom to make it proper “cloth”. In addition to the practical side, theory covers understanding drafting, how to read a draft and make one.

The versatile twill

A twill threading is usually one of the first structures used for a new weaver. In this study we will explore different twill threadings in combination with treadling sequences. In addition students will learn both theoretically and practically how to design different styles of twills: balanced, unbalanced, steep, flat, decorated and complex combinations. But a twill threading just doesn’t have to be used to weave twill fabrics. What else can be woven? This workshop explores the great diversity of structures and effects that can be woven on this structure.

Guild: 8 or more shafts preferred.

Structures from a straight draw

Often weavers see a twill threading and automatically think that all they can weave are twills. Using a straight twill threading and simple pick up a multitude of structures can be woven. This class focuses on interpreting image into as many structures as possible on a straight twill threading on an 8 shaft loom. There is the added benefit of understand the relationships of threading and how structures work. The link between both will be explored in greater detail theoretically; covering the conversion of a profile draft into block and unit weaves. Students will interpret a simple motif and weave a collection of small items in different structures.

Guild: 8 shafts required.


This is a classic weave structure. Understand the process of drafting overshot. Develop a weave draft. Weave “stars” and “roses”. Extend and develop pattern variations. Explore the effect of yarns. This structure has many applications.

Summer and Winter

This is a classic weave structure. Convert a profile draft into this structure. Explore treadling styles such as columns, bricks, “x and o’s”. Develop patterns, explore yarn combinations and their effects. This is a very diverse structure with many applications and opens the door to other tied unit weaves.


This is a classic weave structure. Understand the principles of the structure and how to develop drafts. Explore styles of weaving crackle. The effects achieved by weaving different styles can be quite diverse. This was probably my least favourite classic structure until I understood its design potential.

Colour and Weave

Explore how the sequence of using coloured yarns affects the visual appearance of cloth. Often it is quite unbelievable that the effects achieved have been woven on just plain weave. Log cabin is a well- recognised colour and weave pattern, but there are many others. While there are many colour and weave patterns woven on 4 shafts, patterns can be developed using more shafts and it doesn’t have to be just plain weave! Class includes both theory and practical.

Guild: 4 or more shafts required. Advanced students require a minimum of 8 shafts. While students may work on their own loom, it is also possible to run this as a round robin workshop.

Shadow weave

Shadow weave is an extension of the theory of colour and weave. More complex patterns are possible. The technique involves the use of either of two drafting systems: the Atwater and Powell systems. Understand the drafting process, explore pattern possibilities and then add in the effects of changing colours and textures.

Guild: 8 shafts required.


Weave two layers of fabric at the one time. Weave double width. Weave tubes. Combine layers of different structures and styles. Weave imagery. Stitch the layers together on the loom. Insert objects so they can’t be removed. Understand the process and explore the amazing diversity that can be achieved. Double weave is one of those techniques that hold fascination for weavers.

Huck lace

Weave fabrics that when wash develop different characteristics that are associated with appearance of lace with ‘holes’. Understand the structure, develop a draft. Weave warp or weft floats or both. Develop pattern. Understand the role that yarn plays in the appearance of final fabric.


What is ikat? Often seen in ethnic textiles it is fabric where either the warp or weft or even both have been bound and then dyed before being woven in often plain weave. Learn the process involved in preparing for warp and weft ikat. Dye them and then weave. Both warp, weft and double ikat will be explored. While plain weave will be used the effect of other structures will be explored. Samples or a project may be the final result. Reference will also be made to ethnic textiles.

Colour my warp

An extension of ikat, this class begins with winding the warp (or sections) and painting or dyeing it with a progression of colours. Techniques such as warp shifting (as used in ikat) are also possible. It explores the technique of combining different warps and the effect of different weave structures (theory or practical). The end result is a highly individualised scarf.

Guild: Time available will determine the possible approaches that can be explored.

Finger manipulated weaves

These should not be overlooked by the hand weaver. While they can produce interesting fabrics in their own right, I find these techniques invaluable for adding accents to a woven cloth. They are handy to know for when you just want an extra element to enhance design.


Explore pattern and design concepts through the use of different materials in combination with weave structures. Sampling will explore techniques to provide direction for individual ideas. The use of recycled materials has had a long tradition in the textile arts (e.g. art work including 2 and 3 dimension, quilts, rag rugs, clothing etc).  A hand weaver may use these materials to best advantage in a variety of techniques to highlight their unusual characteristics. Several design approaches will be explored. It is suggested that you start collecting a stash of ubiquitous bits. It is possible to make yarns from paper in all its forms (clean lolly wrappers, recycled mail, wrapping paper, old clothing patterns, newspaper), fabrics, recycled clothing and items from clothing, plastics, bamboo, leather etc. In addition, consider what can be inserted into pockets and layers.  This is a chance to think “outside the square”

Woven Shibori

Explore the great diversity of pattern combining woven fabric structures and at the same dye or various textural patterns. While the focus of the workshop is primarily on dye pattern other variations through the application of warp and/or weft shibori will be explored either through sampling or discussion: permanent pleating, discharge, devore, different dye systems and differential dyeing. In addition the focus will also be on the woven cloth and fabric design.

Experience level: must be able to prepare a loom for weaving. Some ability to read a draft beneficial.

Students choose to do either warp or weft shibori.

Guild: 4 shafts needed though 8 or more shafts preferred.

This topic is also offered as an extended version in a 5 day studio class.

East Meets West

Most weavers look towards European and American weave structures for inspiration. Some real gems can be found in Eastern textiles. Warp faced textiles in S E Asia are usually woven on back strap looms but they often can be modified to suit multi-shaft looms. Analysis of ethnic textiles will provide some interesting additions of technique for the hand weaver. They include warp manipulation, warp wrapping, weft patterning on warp faced cloth. These techniques can then be combined with Western structures to achieve interesting cloth. The combination of several structures in the one cloth will be explored. Consideration will also be given to maximizing the potential of your loom while combining structures.

Guild: 4 shaft loom minimum. Weave a basic sampler.

This topic is also offered as an extended version in a 5 day studio class.

Ties: Practical, decorative and unconventional

Usually the focus for tied unit weaves is on developing block pattern. This workshop focuses on the actual ties. What can be done with them? This is a very different approach to tied unit weaves. Theory begins briefly with familiar Summer and Winter/2 tie unit weaves and explores possible variations to a familiar structure. Other reasonably familiar 3 and 4 tied unit weaves will be dissected. However the weaving in the workshop will explore the potential 6 tie unit weaves as a means of being both decorative as well as functional. Both play an important role in imagery. This is just the start of a grand adventure!

Experience level: beyond beginner. An understanding of tied unit weaves e.g. Summer and Winter is helpful.

Guild: 8 shafts minimum required.

This topic is also offered as an extended version in a 5 day studio class.


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