More Split-Loop Twill Charts

For the fans of split-loop twill, I’ve posted some additional charts including more zig-zag variations and some new traditional-size charts for designs which previously only came in pro size.

Twills and split-loop techniques have circulated in the potholder world since at least the Nellie Bee days, more than eighty years ago, both because they have been repeatedly imported from the wider world of weaving — where twill and varying weights of warp and weft have been commonplace since before the the invention of writing — and because they have independently been reinvented by uncountable numbers of people sitting at their loom and deciding to try something new.

As much as we appreciate the many people who have shared their work as inspiration for our community — I think the first time I ever saw a split-loop twill zigzag potholder was in a post by Susan Lockhart in the Potholder People group on Facebook back in August 2021, but a bit of searching turned up split-loop diamond and zigzag twills being sold on Etsy in 2016, and no doubt there are innumerably more examples I haven’t found — these designs are too simple and common to think that anyone “owns” them; they’re indisputably in the public domain and the shared heritage of humanity as a whole.

With the benefit of that foundation, there’s room for limitless creativity and craftsmanship — choosing colors and materials, combining multiple techniques, and incorporating your own effort and intentions into your work. We can’t wait to see what you create with these elements!

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.