Designing for Summer and Winter and Taqueté
Designing your own weave drafts is fun and rewarding. It lets you express yourself creatively through the cloth. You can weave pictures, words, abstract designs…almost anything you can imagine!
In this article, I explain how to design drafts for 8-shaft summer and winter and taqueté. I start with the profile draft, which is a weave-structure-independent representation of the design. Then I'll show you how to convert the profile draft to into a weave draft. I'll also discuss how to expand your design options using ploychrome, color blending, and "treadled pickup."
A weave draft can be expressed in one of two forms:
- For a loom without a dobby, the draft includes the threading, tie-up, treadling, and drawdown.
- For a loom with a dobby (or a table loom), the draft includes the threading, liftplan, and the drawdown.
Either verison creates a complete illustration of the structure with the cloth design. This article explores drafting in the latter form: threading, liftplan, and drawdown.
(Note: If you have a treadle loom, you can convert a liftplan into a tie-up and treadling either by using weaving software—where it's often just a click of a button—or manually, using graph paper and pencil.)
A profile draft shows the design without the weave structure added. It's a way to look at a design abstractly. Using a profile draft allows you to focus on pure design without worrying about the details of any given weave structure. After you've designed a profile draft, you can express in any number of weaves: twill, huck lace, summer and winter, and so on.
A complete profile draft includes the profile threading and the profile tie-up with the profile treadling or liftplan and the profile design.
In this article, we will focus on designs based on an eight-shaft point profile that can be woven as summer and winter or taqueté.
The profile shown above is called a "point profile" because it comes to a central point. With a point profile, whatever is created on one side of the design will be mirrored on the other side.
(Note: On the profile drafts in this article I've added two additional "A" blocks on the right and left sides of the point to form a border around the design. Most of the designing is done with the B-C-D-E-F blocks. A pure point profile would not have this border.
When we express the profile threading above as summer and winter, the threading of the weaving draft becomes:
Comparing this weaving-draft threading to the profile-draft threading and you will see that each block in the profile draft is now represented by four threads in the weaving draft. This is because summer and winter uses a minimum of four threads to create one block.
Creating a Profile Draft
You can create profile drafts by computer, using weaving software that supports designing in the profile, or by hand, using graph paper. In this article, I will show you how to design on graph paper. Working manually is a great way to expand your understanding of this structure and how it works.
I recommend using graph paper, a #2 pencil, a good eraser, a straight-edge and a triangle. The triangle slides against the straight-edge and provides a perpendicular line to the straight-edge.
If you put the point profile on graph paper you can draw your design within its parameters.
The first step is to draw a design on your graph paper and "square your blocks." If one of your lines goes through a square you will need to decide which blocks to fill in, because you can't weave half-blocks.
Summer and Winter: The Tree
Below is a profile draft showing a simple tree. Using this design, you can figure out the pattern lifts for the profile draft. At the top of the tree there are two "profile rows" with no tree showing. You must lift all of the pattern shafts to weave the pattern profile on those two lines. In the lift plan to the right of the profile design, indicate the pattern lift as: "3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8."
Note: The reason we are starting the numbering for the profile draft's pattern liftplan at 3 is that we are planning to later convert the draft to summer and winter, and in that weave structure, shafts 1 and 2 are used to weave the tie-down threads. So to save having to renumber everything later, we're starting our liftplan count at 3. If we were not looking ahead to expressing the profile draft as a weave structure, we could have started at 1.
At the top of the tree this is a single Block F which is on pattern shaft 8. In order for the pattern weft to show in Block F, shaft 8 needs to be left down (not lifted). The pattern lift for this profile line is thus: "3, 4, 5, 6, 7 _" (no 8).
On the next profile line down from the top of the tree the patterns shows in Blocks E and F or on patterns shafts 7 and 8. The pattern lift will be "3, 4, 5, 6 _, _" (no 7 and no 8). Continue configuring the pattern lifts in this manner. (The complete draft for The Tree woven in summer and winter is shown below.)
To weave the tree with the profile information, use the treadling sequence (alternating tie-downs) below for each profile pattern line.
|Pick 1||Lift 1 + profile pattern shafts||pattern|
|Pick 2||Lift 1-2 (a tabby)||tabby|
|Pick 3||Lift 2 + same profile pattern shafts||pattern|
|Pick 4||Lift all the pattern shafts (3,4,5,6,7,8) (b tabby)||tabby|
|Pick 5||Lift 1 + same profile pattern shafts||pattern|
|Pick 6||Lift 1-2 (a tabby)||tabby|
|Pick 7||Lift 2 + same profile pattern shafts||pattern|
|Pick 8||Lift all the pattern shafts (3,4,5,6,7,8) (b tabby)||tabby|
(Note: If the tree is to be woven right side up, begin weaving at the bottom of the profile design.)
The draft above shows the treadling for weaving Summer and Winter using alternates. Other treadling sequences are illustrated in my previous WeaveZine article: Summer and Winter to Taqueté.
If you weave this on the sewing-thread warp reccommended in my previous article, Summer and Winter Bookmark, use a total of four strands of embroidery floss between the two wefts. I wove the sample pictured above using three strands of embroidery floss for the tree pattern weft and a single strand for the tabby weft. It is easier to begin with both shuttles on the same side of the warp.
When treadling for the pattern lift, 'shaft 1' will be added from the first side and 'shaft 2' from the second side. The same applies to the tabbies, the first side will be with 'tabby a' and the second side will be with 'tabby b'. (Sticky notes labeled "1," "a," "2," and/or "b" are useful visual aids when positioned on the loom.)
Taqueté (two colors)
The next profile is the same tree design, only now it has background added, so it can be woven in taqueté. The background lifts are figured in the same manner as the previous tree pattern. For the first two profile lines at the top of the profile design, only the background color shows. Therefore all of the pattern shafts have to be LEFT DOWN for the background shot: Only the tie-down (1 or 2 is lifted). When no pattern shafts are lifted I like to write "0" on these lines.
At the top of the tree on the third profile line down, the background shows in all of the pattern blocks except Block F, or Shaft 8. The background pattern lift is "_, _, _, _, _, t8" (8 only.) For the second design line of the tree, the tree is on Block E and F. The background pattern lift is "_, _, _, _, 7, 8" (7 and 8 only). One of the things noted is that the pattern lifts are opposite. The tree pattern lifts all but 8, then the background lifts only 8. This happens when only two colors are woven in taqueté. As you'll see later on, taqueté woven with more than two colors works differently.
To weave this profile use the following treadling sequence for each profile line.
|Pick 1||Lift 1 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern weft|
|Pick 2||Lift 1 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern weft|
|Pick 3||Lift 2 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern weft|
|Pick 4||Lift 2 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern weft|
|Pick 5||Lift 1 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern weft|
|Pick 6||Lift 1 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern weft|
|Pick 7||Lift 2 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern weft|
|Pick 8||Lift 2 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern weft|
The complete drawdown for weaving The Tree in taqueté is shown below. For the cloth sample, I used three strands of embroidery floss for the tree pattern weft and two strands of embroidery floss were used for the background weft. Begin weaving the design from the bottom of the draft to have the tree appear right side up as it is woven.
The next step is Summer and Winter Polychrome and Taqueté woven with four colors. Starting with the same tree design, I added red ornaments, a yellow light on top, and presents beneath the tree. Weaving the tree with the ornaments, light and presents using a tabby background is called Summer and Winter Polychrome. Polychrome means more than one pattern color. The tree profile is the same as the previous tree profile draft. I re-figured the profile for the added colors. (I find it easiest to figure the profile for one color at a time.)
To weave the tree profile for Summer and Winter Polychrome, use the following treadling sequence for each profile line.
|Pick 1||Lift 1 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern|
|Pick 2||Lift 1 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern|
|Pick 3||Lift 1 + 3rd pattern shafts||3rd pattern|
|Pick 4||Lift 1-2 (a tabby)||tabby|
|Pick 5||Lift 2 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern|
|Pick 6||Lift 2 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern|
|Pick 7||Lift 2 + 3rd pattern shafts||3rd pattern|
|Pick 8||Lift all pattern shafts (3,4,5,6,7,8) (b tabby)||tabby|
|Pick 9||Lift 1 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern|
|Pick 10||Lift 1 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern|
|Pick 11||Lift 1 + 3rd pattern shafts||3rd pattern|
|Pick 12||Lift 1-2 (a tabby)||tabby|
|Pick 13||Lift 2 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern|
|Pick 14||Lift 2 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern|
|Pick 15||Lift 2 + 3rd pattern shafts||3rd pattern|
|Pick 16||Lift all the pattern shafts (3,4,5,6,7,8) (b tabby)||tabby|
Note: Each weft crosses the warp sequence four times. With four wefts this means it takes 16 picks (aka weft shots) to complete a profile line.
To keep the blocks balanced and square, I used a single strand of embroidery floss for each color when I wove the sample.
Summer and Winter Polychrome
Download draft as WIF file
Taqueté (four colors)
To weave the Christmas Tree in Taqueté, the pattern lifts for the background need to be configured. They are shown as Natural in the profile draft below.
To weave the Christmas Tree in Taqueté with four colors use the following sequence.
|Pick 1||Lift 1 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern weft|
|Pick 2||Lift 1 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern weft|
|Pick 3||Lift 1 + 3rd pattern shafts||3rd pattern weft|
|Pick 4||Lift 1 + 4th pattern shafts||4th pattern weft (*)|
|Pick 5||Lift 2 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern weft|
|Pick 6||Lift 2 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern weft|
|Pick 7||Lift 2 + 3rd pattern shafts||3rd pattern weft|
|Pick 8||Lift 2 + 4th pattern shafts||4th pattern weft (*)|
|Pick 9||Lift 1 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern weft|
|Pick 10||Lift 1 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern weft|
|Pick 11||Lift 1 + 3rd pattern shafts||3rd pattern weft|
|Pick 12||Lift 1 + 4th pattern shafts||4th pattern weft (*)|
|Pick 13||Lift 2 + 1st pattern shafts||1st pattern weft|
|Pick 14||Lift 2 + 2nd pattern shafts||2nd pattern weft|
|Pick 15||Lift 2 + 3rd pattern shafts||3rd pattern weft|
|Pick 16||Lift 2 + 4th pattern shafts||4th pattern weft (*)|
(*) The fourth pattern weft was woven as a tabby in Summer and Winter polychrome.
(Note: Compare the Christmas Tree woven in Summer and Winter to the Taqueté version. The Christmas Tree woven in Taqueté is a little more distinct and the entire piece is a bit more compact. Taqueté "packs in" tighter because there is no tabby to hold it apart.)
Combining Two Colors to Produce a Third Color
When you are working in a small scale, with multiple colors of weft, you can simulate even more colors by overlapping colors in your design. This is because your eyes visually combine the overlapping colors. Since there are actually two different colors together, your eyes see this as a more lively color than the single-color areas as it tries to decide exactly what color it is.
You can also use this concept of overlapping regions of color to add shading to a design (overlapping with black) or highlighting (overlapping with white.)
The God's Eye design below uses four wefts, each a single strand of embroidery floss. In this design the colors are combined to create other colors. The red and blue colors overlap, and the red and yellow colors overlap. Using only four colors of weft, there now appear to be six colors
in the woven cloth. The red and blue overlap creates the illusion of purple and the red and yellow creates the illusion of orange.
Profile Draft for God's Eye
I add the treadling sequences for Summer and Winter polychrome to create the complete draft.
Profile Draft for God's Eye in Four-Color Taqueté
As before, you can also express the profile draft using the use the sequence for taqueté in four colors.
"Treadled Pick-Up" in Summer and Winter and Taqueté
This far, we have addressed designs on the point profile that are symmetrical. It wouldn't be worthwhile to weave a completely asymmetrical design on a point profile. But what about a design that is mostly symmetrical, with just one small area of asymmetry?
Consider the design below: The cat has a tail that is not symmetrical. Using "treadled pick-up" for two lines in the block draft, you can change the symmetry of the point-profile threading in that one area. Treadled pickup is easier and faster than traditional pickup, because the loom does part of the work.
Below is a simple cat with a tail curled toward the right side. The only time the "treadled pick-up" is used is for the two profile lines where the curled tail appears.
In this profile draft, I separated the first and second pattern lifts for the curled tail, for clarity.
In the weaving drafts that follow, I stack the two pattern lifts on top of each other in the area where the tail is asymmetrical.
Note: For both versions of the woven cats I used two strands of weft on each shuttle.
Cat With Tail as Summer and Winter
Weaving Treadled Pick-up
The basic procedure for weaving treadled pickup is as follows:
- Treadle the right side of the design.
- Insert the pick-up stick half way across the design area (to the central point of the design.)
- Treadle the left side of the design.
- Now move the pick-up stick completely across the weft to finish picking up the rest of the design.
- Turn the pick-up stick on its side to open a shed and throw the shuttle. (In other words, treadle twice before throwing the shuttle for these two profile design lines.)
Note: The following instructions show a variation on the above steps. Depending on the design, I sometimes pick up all the pattern blocks, and drop those I don't want to weave. This is sometimes easier than locating the center of the design.
The photographs below show me picking up the pattern from the right, because I am right handed.
Below is the complete profile draft for the Cat With Tail in Taqueté.
The same sequences apply to the Taqueté and the "treadled pick-up" as already discussed.
Cat with Tail as Taqueté
(Note: The Taqueté drawdown has eight more picks than the Summer and Winter version. The additional picks are the result of having treadled pickups for the asymmetrical tail.)
In this article, we've discussed drafting on an point profile, converting profile drafts to weave drafts for 8-shaft Summer and Winter or Taqueté. In addition to the drafting, I've talked about adding more than two colors, overlapping color blocks to create the illusion of additional weft colors and "Treadled pick-up". With these concepts and tools you can design nearly anything you can envision.
Try designing something using a point profile; it's a lot of fun. Begin with a simple design and work towards more complex one. Enjoy!
Lillian Whipple has been weaving since 1971. In 1990, she received her COE-W from the Handweaver's Guild of America and is a Master Weaver. Her in-depth study was "By a Fine Silk Thread."
For the past fifteen years, she has chaired the Fine-Threads study group for Complex Weavers.
Photos and graphics: Grey Whipple