Separated Twill Crosses

Adventures in twill continued! Wherein we discover that the back of draft pattern “Separated Twill Crosses” is really the front! This is an astounding fabric that feels very different on each side, and looks on one side nothing like you would expect from the chart.

As I wove this one, I made several changes to the chart that will be reflected in the published version.

Here I have warped the loom with white columns.
Running out of traditional loops! Trying to choose colors for the weft. This pattern can be neatly divided across its width, so I opted for 12 purple and 6 green.
Testing my purple and green combinations, do I want green stripes?
…a green center?
… or green edges?
Green stripes are the most appealing, so I lay out my row loops in order, 3 purple, 3 green, 6 purple, 3 green, 3 purple. For pattern consistency, I have added a 19th column to my loom. You can see that I folded the 27-peg chart at 19 columns, 18 rows, where the pattern of crosses comes out complete. We have 6 rows of crosses in the pattern, alternating 5 or 4 crosses across each row. The vertical repeat is 3 rows; the horizontal repeat is 4 columns (minus one at the end).
Row 9. You can see how I am handling the 19th column, by hooking it on the pegs for 18, and simply weaving into it as I get there. The work spreads out as I go.
Row 10. Notice how the 3/1 twills center over each other. This pattern is very easy to weave because of the consistency.
Rows 8 and 11 are tabby (over / under across the row).
Rows 7 and 12.
Now we begin the green sections, which I have highlighted in green to remind me where to change colors (my loops are also in order; this is a cross-check).
Rows 6 and 13.
Rows 5 and 14 are tabby, again.
Rows 4 and 15 finish our green stripes.
Rows 3 and 16.
Rows 2 and 17, tabby.
And we finish the chart as drafted with rows 1 and 18, both in 3/1 twill.
Will I prefer the edge if I switch that last row to tabby? There is only one way to find out; experiment. So I switch the bottom row (18) to tabby, leaving the first row as twills.
As you might expect, the two edges behave very differently, on the front…
And on the back….
The “back” side has a distinct diagonal raised pattern in the white floats.
The “front” side has a longitudinal raised pattern.
Updated use the tabby edge on both ends.
Almost 5.5″ along the short side.
6″ at the long tabby edges, a bit narrower in the center.
A corrected pattern with the new tabby edge.

Split-Loop Chains

Our first foray into charting split loops, Split-Loop Chains.

Here we have a simple chain, formed by threading and 2 half-floats (crossing a single strand instead of both strands of the same loop). The outmost columns, with no splits, feel like the expected tabby (over/under across the row) fabric. Between the half-floats, you are weaving strands from neighboring loops, which changes the fabric and the tension for the body of the potholder. The columns are harder to bind off because the weave is tighter. The texture is interestingly bumpy and the drape is extremely flexible with no floppiness.

It is very easy to weave, as you can see from the way I highlighted the chart. I marked the half-float columns on either side with purple. Then I marked my starting row (I like to start in the center; you can start wherever you prefer) in yellow. Once I had my first row in place, all neighboring rows can be woven by doing all crossings the other way. The strands are a bit wiggly until you have at least 2 rows locking them in place, so be extra careful at the start.

I’d love to see this in rainbow chains, and I think it would also be very effective as a sub-pattern, maybe as a border along the sides with a plainweave middle, to match the common kitchen towel pattern with side stripes?

Front view of Half-Loop Chains. The irregular appearance of the chains comes down to minor variations in tension. They should settle in as the potholder ages. You can help distribute any puffiness by “finger-blocking” the potholder, stretching it into shape by tugging very hard in both directions, but it will never be geometrically precise.
Rear view of the Half-Loop Chains potholder, in Harrisville traditional orange and white.
The split-loop chart shows both strands of every column, so there are two smaller rectangles in each row/column square of the chart. Rows are woven over – or under | each column strand.
Half-Loop Chains fully woven, still tensioned on the loom.

Here is a closeup of the texture variation between the plainweave white edges, and the split loops of the inner body.

June Edition

The June edition of our potholder design collection has been posted as a downloadable PDF.

It contains 89 designs, many at multiple sizes, for a total of 139 charts.

Of those, 15 designs are new since the May edition:

  • A lovely repeating tile design (Roses and Thorns);
  • Two styles of nested chevrons (Fish Scales, Three-Color Fish Scales);
  • Larger heart variations (Super Hearts, Pulsating Heart);
  • A forest of branches (Branch, Three Parallel Branches, Five Parallel Branches, Seven Parallel Branches, Forked Branch, Branch and Root);
  • Extra-thick twill weaves (Three-Three Twill, Three-Three Twill Waves, Three-Three Shift Twill, Magical Three-Three Twill).

Most of those are described in recent posts by Piglet here and on Facebook, including photos as well as commentary on the weaving experience and resulting fabric.

The table of contents has been reorganized to group related designs together, which will hopefully make it easier to find charts you might be interested in.

And the online table of contents now highlights any designs added since the last edition, making it easier to find (and print) only the newest pages.


Some Notes on Binding Off

Often people worry about binding off when there is more than one loop on the same side of your last row.

Here’s a series of shots of how to just do it, one loop at a time, and why it works.

Pick up our green column….

And then our flax column….

Now we pick up another green….

…and the next flax, from the same side as the last green. You’ll notice the flax row has a double float on the edge now.

But that’s okay! As soon as we pull the next green loop over the last flax loop, it locks it solidly in place, just like when they alternate. It’s not going anywhere.

To keep the tension until the whole potholder is bound off, I hook loops back onto the loom after binding them off. It stretches them out a bit, as you can see here…

And the stretched loops are still visible right after taking it off the loom.

So we go to the base of each stretched loop, grab it by the short side, and tuuuuuug it to even the distortion.

After tugging, the stretched loops settle back into place.

Branch Variations

Exploring the stacked diagonal twills of Branch with variations, we have 4 good patterns and one that’s okay.

Clockwise from top left, we have Branch in pine and winter white, Parallel Branches 1 in pine and flax, Branch and Root in pine and ochre, Forked Branch in navy and ochre, and Parallel Branches 2 in pine and autumn.

All 5 related patterns, right side up.


Branch is mostly tabby (over/under across the row), and makes a very flat fabric with a raised center seam on both sides.

Branch begins. Here I have highlighted the center row and column (purple), and the stacked twills on the diagonal. (The orange highlighting marks an error in the draft, now corrected in the published pattern.) The pattern is simple enough that I don’t need to track my progress through the weaving, and can mostly work without referring to the chart.
1/3 of the way through, the pattern is clear.
Completed Branch on the loom.
Reviewing the hanging options, I chose the the one that looked more like a growing stem.

Forked Branch

Forked Branch is an exploration of what happens when you break up the stacked diagonal twills by inserting pattern directional changes. Without the strong center seam, the fabric remains more tabby-like overall, flatter and more even throughout. (More explorations of forked branch forthcoming!)

One good way to tackle a new chart is to highlight the floats, so you can see how the weaving might proceed.
Forked Branch was complicated enough that I needed to track which row I was working, but didn’t need to mark the whole row, since only a small section of each row has floats (crosses more than one column).

Parallel Branches

Splitting into multiple branches, you get two versions of Parallel Branches. The additional seams form valleys in the fabric that encourage folding along the diagonal. They also draw up the fabric in one diagonal direction only, pulling it out of square into a diamond shape.

Parallel Branches has 3 major stems running in parallel. The stems have stacked twill diagonals, which is also how we create the ends of the needles between the stems. Each seam shows up raised (on both sides of the fabric), and pulls the fabric in across its width.
Closeup of Parallel Branches, fully woven.
Hanging from the top corner, the off-kilter distortion from square into diamond is not so obvious.
Once you turn the potholder to “square”, however, you can clearly see it no longer is.
A large central valley forms naturally, suitable for long pot handles.
We can also break branches into smaller widths, with 5 stems in view here.
Part way through, the pattern is beginning to form. Because of the shortness of the distance between pattern segments, this one turned out to be the easiest to weave, somewhat surprisingly.
Fully woven, on the loom.
And a closeup of the highlighted chart, in which I marked the stacked twills in purple, the center row and column in green, and started tracking my progress in pink.

Branch and Root

Working the branch both up and down from the center, with 2/2 twill side sections, you get a very interesting garden effect we called Branch and Root, with a muddled middle (this is the pattern that is just okay). If we can fix the center, this pattern will improve.

The 2/2 twill side variations (instead of the plain tabby of the original Branch pattern) make for a softer fabric overall, slightly thicker, with a bit more drape. The potholder appears more square, as well, because the fabric in the twill side sections draw up on themselves, evening out the disparity from the center vertical seam.

Marking up the Branch and Root chart to show the twill patterns, we see immediately that the side sections will vary significantly from the plain-weave of Branch.
The blue highlighter marks 3-floats, of which 8 run in a column down the center. The stacked 3-floats in the very center aren’t effective; the outcome is a bit muddled there.
Fully tensioned and woven on the loom, it looks great….
But when you bind it off and release the tension, the middle sags. Still pretty, though, and worth continuing to develop, I think.

Super Hearts

Super hearts? Beating hearts? Followup to “It’s Raining Hearts”, we have this beauty. Shares many of the same characteristics, texturally. The weave is not too difficult, but there is no obvious pattern to it, so following the chart precisely is key. You can see that I printed my chart & highlighted my progress as I went.

You decide which direction you want your hearts to hang. I held mine up in 2 directions, and decided I preferred “back” side up. So I started binding off from square 27/27 of the chart.


Three-Color Fish Scales

Okay, remember the other day, when I said “when is a potholder not a potholder” and showed you a pretty fabric that looked like fish scales but was *not* a heavy-duty potholder?

*THIS* is the heavy-duty version. 3-color fishscales, surprisingly easy to weave. Please don’t be daunted by the chart. Once you get going, the pattern establishes itself and it is very clear on each row what you want to do. Texturally, the fabric is remarkably flat and evenly flexible, despite its thickness, with very little bias.

In my sample, I used black, pewter, gray and white. I also bound off so that the scales lay sideways, as they would on a fish in the water. The pattern also bears a strong resemblance to blooms and hearts. If you work in green with pastels, or reds/pinks/whites, you would have a lovely garden or multiple hearts.

Threading in both directions follows an ABACAD squence starting from the top-left or bottom-right corner. Weaving switches between rows of over-2/under-1 and rows of over-3/under-3, shifting by one warp on each row.

Three-Three Shift Twill

This is another of those double-thick magic weaves that looks like one thing on the loom, then draws up very differently when bound off. The result is thick, flat, and resembles a tabby (over/under) weave with a slight bias to the pattern.

The weaving pattern is very simple, 3 over / 3 under across the row, moving 2 columns to the right with each subsequent row. Moving one column to the right produces the pattern we called three-three twill, which has the same 3/3 pattern in the columns. This new pattern, moving 2 columns, we’re calling three-three shift twill, and it has a 2/1 pattern in the columns. Alternating columns are forced to overlap each other when the rows draw up across their 3-floats. Picture time!

27-peg version on the loom
Off the loom: front.
Off the loom: back.

you can see by the photos with the ruler that the outcome of 3/3 slant twill is rectangular. The pro size comes out about 6.5 x 7 inches, the traditional 5 x ~5.25. 
This warp will put all black columns on one side, and a rainbow of columns on the other.
Woven with white throughout.
The back looks similar on the loom, but with the rainbow more prominent and less of the black visible, hinting at the transformation to come.
The collapse is already visible, as I bind off around the edge. Columns are being forced on top of each other as the rows draw up across their long floats.
Collapse completed, we now have a black and white potholder.
No, wait, a rainbow and white potholder!
Left: 3/3 twill (moving one column) in brown and white. Right: 3/3 slant twill in black/white/rainbow.
Left: 3/3 twill (moving one column) in brown and white. Right: 3/3 slant twill in black/white/rainbow.

Branch vs Corners

A very minor tweak to a pattern can have a dramatic effect on the resulting fabric. Here, we look at a modified tabby pattern that is mostly over/under with one 2-float per row, and examine the difference between aligning the floats in a diagonal of 2 overs per row, moving by one column from one row to the next, or in a diagonal of stacked floats, 2-over in one row and 2-under in the neighboring row, each pair of floats moving by one column every other row.

The diagonal floats produce a fabric that looks and feels very much like tabby, with a design pattern of lines that turn a corner. The stacked diagonal floats, in contrast, pull the fabric together, forcing the floats into a raised wiggly line on each side. The outcome is also a bit smaller, because of the pulling. The distinct center ridge is very raised, making this too bumpy to be a good choice for a trivet or coaster, although very protective against heat.

Here are Branch and Corners (left and right, respectively) on the loom. The patterns look very different already, even without the surprise of taking them off the loom and watching the stacked floats draw up on themselves.
Left, the new pattern Branch. Right, Corners. Both use a diagonal line of 2-floats, to dramatically different effect.
Rear view of Branch and Corners, You can see that the other color is highlighted on the back of Branch, whereas Corners looks very much the same on both sides.
On Corners, all the floats are over-2, and proceed in a neat diagonal.
Here on the chart for Branch, I have highlighted the under-2 / over-2 stacked floats on the diagonal.


When is a potholder not a potholder? When it’s a purse!

Whip stitch to close the bottom flap, and then a bit of stitching at the top corners to encourage the top flap to fold on a straight line, and not warp as it ages. We’ll see how well that works in practice.

Here’s a closeup of the reinforcement, anchoring in one loop, and whip stitching the loops beside it together to form a pinch point.

I strung the small loop through the lower flap, then use it to tie down the ring.

Cushion-y, spacious, secure.

The stitching is pretty rough, with some linen thread I had already cut, waxed, and ironed in my sewing basket. I can fix that if I like how it works in practice. I think seaming with thread is important for security if I’m using it to hold things. I considered a cut potholder loop to match the weave, and rejected it on the grounds of it being stretchy and not fixative enough.

All tucked up again!

Rear view so you can see the scales.

See Also:

  • Fish Scales, to see how the original potholder was made.