Twill is beloved for its many creative possibilities and utility. It creates a dense, yet supple, fabric with fabulous drape.
During the winter weave-along, we will tackle a 1/2 twill, adding light and dark yarns to create various color-and-weave effects. You can choose from one or two heddle options and I’ll demonstrate the technique using two different fibers—bouncy Merino or sleek Alpaca—from two of my favorite yarn sellers.
This 3-shed twill is a particularly versatile structure for rigid-heddle weavers and allows us to explore a threading we haven’t tackled in a weave-along before, adding color into the mix. Weave with one color or two to create six different looks in a single garment. Three differently sized options are available in the pattern—a scarflet, scarf, or stole. Once you unlock the method to weaving this structure it is easily adapted to all sort of projects from towels to table runners and beyond!
Here’s the who, what, when, where, and why!
You should be comfortable with basic weaving vocabulary, know how to read a weaving pattern, feel fairly comfortable managing the warping process including packing your warp beam and tying on. The focus of the warping demonstration will be on threading the heddles.
Most importantly, weave-alongs are for weavers who want to try new things in the company of their fellow weavers. You don’t know what you can do until you try. I invite you to weave-along, swatch-along, or watch-along. It all counts!
Weave a wrap in the size of your choosing using a 1/2 color-and-weave twill. In the pattern, I’ll include an approachable minimum viable scarflet option measuring 40'' long and 6'’ wide. While seemingly small, this size is amazingly versatile and will quickly become your go-to accessory. This size allows you to dive into a new technique fearlessly. Also included in the pattern, are specs for longer and wider options: a scarf measuring about 56'' by 8'' with 5'’ fringe, and a wider, longer wrap about 68'' by 13'' with a 5'' fringe.
You can weave a 1/2 twill with either one and two heddle. The one-heddle version requires a heddle rod and pick-up stick (see equipment below). The double-heddle version doesn’t require any extra tools. For the single-heddle version, I’ll demonstrate the threading using the direct warping method. I’ll use the indirect warping method to warp two heddles. I won’t be offering instructions for the direct warping method using the two-heddle variation.
The pattern will be available during registration week on a pay-what-you-wish basis.
Rigid-heddle loom with an 8–15 inch weaving width, depending on your project choice; one or two 8 or 10-dent rigid-heddle reeds*, 2 shuttles, tapestry needle.
Single-heddle version requires 2 pick-up sticks about 3– 4 inches wider than your weaving width and a sturdy rod, also 3– 4 inches wider than your weaving width, and strong cotton yarn, such as cotton carpet warp or pearle cotton to make string heddles.
For the double-heddle version, you will need a warping board or pegs. It does not require any extra shedding tools, although if you wish, you can place the slotted ends on a pick-up stick in the double-heddle version, which I’ll demonstrate during the weave-along.
Optional: Small 3/16 inch dowel, 3–4 inches wider than your weaving width to separate the slotted threads.
*A note on sett, heddle, and yarn selection: Twill is woven on a closely sett warp. The threading for this structure uses a form of cramming that results in a sett that is denser than the size of your heddle or heddles. The number of heddles doesn’t change the density, just how you create the sheds.
Smooth, well-plied yarn approximately 1,000-1,200 yd/lb.
8-dent yardage requirements: scarflet, 106 yd each of two different colors; scarf, 209 yd each of two different colors; stole, 408 yd each of two different colors
Shown In: Neighborhood Fiber Company Organic Studio DK, 3-ply, 100% organic Merino; 275 yd (252m)/4 oz (115g) skein, 1,100 yd (1,006 m)/lb in Anacostia (dark green) and Belair (light green).
10-dent yardage requirements: scarflet, 132 yd each of two different colors; scarf, 259 yd each of two different colors; stole, 507 yd each of two different colors
Shown In: Gist Yarn Ode, 3-ply, 100% baby Alpaca; 615 yd (563m)/ 8.8 oz (249 g) cone, 1,230 yd (1,125 m)/lb in Cream (white) and Shadow (black).
When thinking about yarn and heddle size, the threading for this structure will result in a sett that is 50% denser than the heddle size. For instance, if you are using one or two 8-dent rigid heddles, the actual density of the warp will be 12 ends per inch. The fiber content of your yarn can also have an effect on your sett selection. For tips on yarn substitutions, click here. I’ll talk more about this during registration week.
Six different looks are possible. The top three patterns shown here are what you see on the face of the cloth and the bottom three patterns are on the back. I’ll show you how to mix up the top three patterns on the loom and you will get the benefit of additional looks on the back. If you prefer to weave the entire scarf with a single color, use sum total of the weft yardage.
When selecting the colors, the higher the value contrast, the more the colors will stand out from one another; the lower the value contrast, the more subtle the patterning will be, both have their merits!
To determine value contrast, take a photo of your of your yarns, select the edit feature, and desaturate your photo.
If purchasing your yarns online, you can use screengrab and desaturate the photo. It isn’t as accurate as photographing the actual yarn, but it is pretty close! See this blog post for more information.
February 2: Registration Opens and Pattern is Available on a pay-what-you-wish basis. Pattern is free for Patrons. Registration information will include an introduction to the project, structure, and how the weave-along works.
February 16: Warping Week
February 23: Weaving Week
March 2: Finishing Week
March 9: Celebrate!
Weave-alongs are hosted here at the Yarnworker School and made possible by a generous Patreon community. There is no cost to participate and the information is available until we start a new weave-along.
There is a discussion area in each lesson that anyone can access where you can ask questions and share your progress. Patrons are invited to weekly livestreams to join in deeper conversations about this weave and any weave.
After the free term is over, there is a fee assigned to continue to access the information. Patrons have access to all previous weave-alongs and enjoy other benefits for supporting the school.
If you haven’t woven twill yet, this is your chance! In addition to enjoy learning a fun weave in the company of your fellow weavers, there are so many avenues to explore through this weave—warp density and sett, creative threadings, color explorations, fiber content considerations, and more. I tend to offer a lot of options, which is both the good news and the bad news. Don’t let all the extra bits of information scare you off. Start where you are and weave along.