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.

2 thoughts on “Branch Variations”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing all these patterns. I have been making potholders over 60 years and have been teaching grandparents for the last several years so they can help their grandchilden make successful potholders. Your instructions are so clear and you have several designs I have never done. I can’t believe you are giving all this away! I would have gladly paid for the book. Nice to know there are still generous teachers out there more interested in teaching than making a profit.
    We shut our website down due to too much spam. I now teach in-your-home weaving classes as well as workshops – including potholder workshops.

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