Mascle Knot

The third in our series of knot designs is about at the limit of what you can pack into a traditional-size loom: “Mascle Knot,” with one strand making six loops and nine crossings. (Chart posted for 19 pegs.)

The example below is woven with cayenne and white loops — and we’d love to see it in other colors!

As with the other shadow-weave knots, the potholder draws up slightly more than a pure-tabby weave but not as much as a twill. The longest floats on the front side are over-two, while the back includes some threes.

Solomon’s Knot

Here’s another entry in our series of shadow-weave twisted-cord designs: “Solomon’s Knot.” (Chart posted for 19 pegs.)

Piglet wove this example on a 19-peg loom using plum and denim loops — try some other color pairings and let us know how they turn out!

As with the other shadow-weave knots, the potholder draws up slightly more than a pure-tabby weave but not as much as a twill. The longest floats on the front side are over-two, while the back includes some threes. 

Bowen Knot

Following up on the “Twisted Cords” design from last week, here’s another newly-charted shadow-weave design on the same theme: the “Bowen Knot.” (Chart posted for 19 pegs.)

Piglet wove the version below on a 19-peg loom (Cottage Loom) using plum and white loops (Friendly Loom) — if you try this, we’d love to see photos of how it turns out in other color pairings!

The resulting potholder is very flexible, with a puffier section containing the central knots, surrounded by a slightly thinner, flatter margin. There are some three-floats on the back side, but they’re very balanced and the fabric holds together well. The structure is rotationally symmetric, but the back side looks nothing like the front, instead showing the “boxes and equals-signs” that are the hallmark of these knot patterns’s undersides.

Twisted Cords

Here’s a brand new pattern, just charted and woven for the first time this week: “Twisted Cords.”

As often happens, after weaving the draft pattern, Piglet was able to identify areas for improvement — in this case, a dozen spots where floats could be reoriented to make the lines stay straighter when removed from the loom — which I’ve now incorporated into the charts so future versions will look crisper.

Charts are posted for 27 pegs and for 19 pegs.

Piglet notes: “The distributed small floats throughout the pattern make a fabric that is flat and thin like tabby, but extremely flexible. You can crumple it in your hand. Great for pot lid knobs and pan handles.”

Lozenge Twill Series 1

As part of our exploration of the possibilities of lozenge twill patterns on woven potholders, Piglet has been making up matching sets of traditional size potholders in a range of adjacent patterns, the first of which is shown below.

Despite each being quite distinct, they make a lovely set, with recurring motifs that show again and again, but rotated, inverted, or paired differently.

The following diagram shows the four different patterns used in this first group:

When comparing the charts to the photos, or looking at the on-loom and off-loom photos, you can see the ways the patterns shift and soften when they’re bound off.

Charts for each of these are included in the PDF found in yesterday’s Lozenge Twill Madness post, and will eventually be added to the main collection on the front page.

Piglet’s woven a dozen more variations, so additional posts will follow in the coming days — and I hope these photos will encourage other folks to dive in and try weaving a few of their own!

Lozenge Twill (3/3 A)

Lozenge Twill (4/4 A)

Lozenge Twill (5/5 A)

Lozenge Twill (6/6 B)

Crystal Forest

I like the dark color scheme Piglet picked for this potholder — it has a nice southwestern-desert vibe that I think complements the interlocking designs.

She reports that the regular and symmetric pattern with lots of tabby sections makes this easy to weave. The result is flat and flexible, with no puckering. The designs on the two sides are different, but complementary.

The Crystal Forest chart is posted on our website.

Breeze Block

Breeze Block is an attractive shadow-weave pattern with bold geometric designs on both sides, which complement each other while remaining visually distinct — I have trouble deciding which is the “front” because both are strong enough to stand on their own.

The floats are evenly distributed and balance each other out, so it lies nice and flat.

It’s inspired by a chart in an old German book of weaving patterns, although I had to scale down the original to fit on our little looms.

Charts are on our website in both 27-peg and 19-peg sizes.

For the curious, below is the source image I adapted this from, taken from Die färbige Gewebemusterung (“The Colored Fabric Pattern”) by Franz Donat (1907), plate 36, figure 6. I eliminated six rows from both the warp and weft in order to get the above 27-peg design, and even more to squeeze it down to the 19-peg version.

Lozenge Twill Madness

Lozenge twill, sometimes called diamond twill, is an attractive family of weaving structures that produced by reversals in twill direction.

I say it’s a “family” because there are many variations, depending on how frequent the reversals are — ranging from little “birds-eye” twills up to big chunky diamonds — not to mention the variations produced by switching between 2/2, 2/1, 3/3, or any number of other twill ratios.

But how many such patterns are there, given the constraints of our tiny potholder looms, and how different would they look? A bit of web-searching failed to turn up an answer, so with Piglet’s help, I decided to try to explore this question systematically.

The results were startling — even just confining ourselves to 2/2 twill, and the limited canvas provided by the traditional-size loom, there are hundreds of distinct possibilities.

I charted a few dozen of them, and Piglet got to weaving, figuring that by sampling a few points in the space of possibilities we could decide which ones were the most attractive, and add those to the collection on our website.

… but they were all lovely, and it’s impossible to decide!

I’m not sure the world really needs a hundred different lozenge twill potholder-weaving charts, but I figured I’d start by presenting some of what we found and we’ll work out the rest of the details as time goes on.

You can view the first tranche of more than fifty charts in this PDF file, and I’ve included an analysis of some of the similarities and differences between them below.

Pattern Comparison

To understand the relationships between the patterns that appeared at different scales, I gathered small versions of each on a summary diagram.

The diagram shows a range of repeat sizes, along with two variations available at each size. (Each of these variations also has an equivalent with inverted colors, which I am omitting for simplicity.) Below each miniature chart is a label that encodes some information about it, explained more fully below.

Next Steps

As you scan across the diagram, you’ll find various motifs that repeat in adjacent charts, and similarities that emerge at regular intervals across them, and you can guess at charts that might look good side-by-side as a pair… but it’s important to remember that the woven products will look different than these digital charts, and the real test is when the loops come off the loom and draw up into their final fabric form — so it’s no use just staring at the pictures, you have to dive in and weave them up and see how they turn out in real life.

… which is exactly what Piglet has been doing. More photos in the next post!

About the Chart Labels

Each image on this grid is labeled with [Half Repeat Width] / [Half Repeat Height] — [Center] [Adjacent].

The repeat scales are shown as half of the number of loops in the warp or weft before the pattern repeats.

The center and adjacent values refer to the “spot” in the very center of the design, and to the corresponding spots that are diagonally adjacent to it; they are shown as:

  • A: black dot
  • B: black plus
  • a: white dot
  • b: white plus

Each image’s center/adjacent values can be one of the following:

  • AA / BB: tiles all same colors, same center.
  • Aa / Bb: tiles alternating colors, same centers.
  • AB / BA: tiles all same colors, alternating centers.
  • Ab / Ba: tiles alternating colors, alternating centers.

At each given repeat size, the pair of images will fall into one of these groupings:

  • AA + Bb: identical black-dot tiles paired with alternating-color plus tiles.
  • Aa + BB: alternating-color dot tiles paired with identical black-plus tiles.
  • AB + BA: black-dot and black-plus tiles; paired versions are same pattern but offset.
  • Ab + Ba: tiles have mixed centers and colors; paired versions are inverted and offset.

Double-Faced Twill

Here’s another extra-thick potholder with a tricky twill weave that requires a bit of extra effort: double-faced twill.

It features two completely separate faces, produced by two independent weft layers, joined by a single warp which shows up as a thin diagonal stripe on both sides.

This edge-on photo (taken right before binding off) highlights the multi-layer structure:

As you might expect, the resulting potholder is extra thick — after all, it has 50% more loops than usual!

It lies nice and flat, with none of the curling we often see in uneven twills, because each side is uneven in the opposite direction, so they balance each other out.

The chart shows the independent weaving pattern for the upper and lower loops on each weft peg — the upper face is three-one twill, while the lower face is the opposite one-three twill:

I’m sure folks can come up with interesting color choices — perhaps a rainbow spectrum on one side and black on the other, with thin white pinstripes crossing both of them?

It should also be possible to extend this technique to include zig-zags and diamonds, although we haven’t attempted that yet.

This photo sequence shows the process from end to end.

If you give this a try, please drop us a line and let us know how it turned out!

Skipping or Adding Loops

Standard potholder looms come with 18 or 27 pegs, but a bunch of our charts show patterns for 17 or 19 loops, or for 26 or 28 loops — what are you to do if you don’t have a loom with that exact number of pegs?

(As an aside, there are vendors who sell nice 19-peg and 28-peg looms, but those are still relatively rare.)

Smaller patterns are easy — just leave one peg free on each side when warping your loom, and then weave and bind off as you normally would. (You can skip the first peg or the last peg, or even one in the middle, whichever you’d like.) Any extra slack that was on one side or the other of your weave will quickly even itself out when you take the fabric off of your loom.

Weaving a larger pattern is a bit trickier, but like many techniques it’s only intimidating the first one or two times you try it, and then it quickly becomes second nature.

To squeeze in an extra loop while warping, choosing a spot where you’re going to double-up two loops on one peg to fit in the extra. Piglet does this in the middle of the loom, but I’ve seen other people do it at one edge or the other.

When you’re weaving in your first two weft loops, take a moment to carefully shift the doubled-up loops apart and weave over and under them as called for in the pattern. Once you’ve done the first few weft loops, they’ll hold the warp in position and you can mostly ignore the fact that they’re sharing a peg.

To squeeze in an extra weft loop, just pull a loop through normally and then stack the ends on top of an already-used peg. You could do this at the start of the process, at the end, or in the middle — but I think earlier is better, because you’ve got more slack at that point.

The picture below shows a 27-peg loom fully-warped with 28 loops (doubled up on the middle peg) and with the first two weft loops woven in (doubled up on the middle peg). Piglet does her weaving from the middle out, but this technique would work just as well if you were starting from either end and working across.

When binding off, treat the doubled-up loops separately — sometimes this will mean that when binding off you’ll need to pause just as you reach the peg with the doubled-up loops so you can manually un-stack one of them on to an adjacent peg to get to the one underneath it.

You’ll see some folks using other techniques, including the use of knitting needles or hairbands to hold the end of the extra loops, and I know Piglet tried things like that when she was first starting out, but the doubling-up technique described here is simpler and works great once you’ve done it a couple of times.

(I imagine that you could use the same technique to squeeze in more than one extra loop if you had a 29-peg pattern, but at some point you’ll run out of space to work.)