Monday, April 26, 2010


Posted by Peg in South Carolina 


There are a number of good books to learn from.  My two particular favorites are Weaving and Drafting Your Own Cloth by Peggy Osterkamp and The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers by Madelyn van der Hoogt.  Osterkamp’s book includes an explanation of peg plans. More information about her book can be found at her website

Peg plans are useful not only for table looms and computer looms, but for reading drafts in old books such as G.H. Oelsner’s A Handbook of Weaves. For Oelsner’s drafts, go here.


If you have been follow this blog recently, you will see that I have discovered what for me is turning out to be another good way to learn and understand difficult-for-me weaving drafts.  Difficulty here is relative.  An extremely experienced weaver used to weaving many different weave structures probably finds few or no drafts difficult to understand.  Indeed, he can probably visualize the cloth from the draft before he even starts weaving it.  A beginning weaver, on the other hand, might find a 4-shaft Rosepath draft difficult to figure out.

In any case, what I have been doing is to begin with a draft I simply did not understand.  Indeed, I wasn’t even clear as to where the blocks were or what they were.  And precisely because I could not understand the blocks, I then set to create a straight twill set of traditional crackle blocks.  To see an example of this go a post I wrote a few years ago called  Weaving Four-shaft Crackle.

I then went to work to create the shadowing draft. These crackle blocks, with their shadows. I then modified by doubling some of the warp ends.

I tried to figure out which warp ends to double by trying once again to analyze Smith’s draft.  It was at this point that I became able to figure out the block structure of the original weave.  Having done that, I then tried to create that weave structure from scratch.  And so on. 

Doing this has been and continues to be an exciting adventure for me.  Yes, I have said/complained that drafting is tedious.  And yes, drafting is tedious.  But the adventure has turned out to be very exciting because it is leading me to a more profound understanding of this weave.

Perhaps there is a reason I am unhappy when my hands are not busy.  Clearly my hands are an important learning tool for me. I never could write papers for college classes in my head;  I had to sit at the typewriter. 


As you my readers might have figured out, I have not yet returned to threading the 1500 empty heddles waiting on my loom.  Sigh….

I am now doing physical therapy for my back and it is improving greatly.  In fact, I plan to make a start this week.   But it will be a slow and gentle start.

Related Post:  Weaving 4-Shaft Crackle
The Hard Work of Draft Designing

Learning the Ins and Outs of Drafting”  was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on April 26, 2010. ©2010 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Shani Phethean-Hubble said...

small steps, small steps... you have come this far, don't overdo it by wanting to take on too much too soon...


Peg in South Carolina said...

Thanks, Shani. I shall try to be patient.