So you have taken a couple weaving classes- or you have been teaching yourself from a book. You are so excited to actually do something other then plain weave. You have in front of you a book of weave structures, not knowing what is in store- you open the pages giddy with excitement. And then…
It is a bunch of grids with beautiful pictures and you have no idea what any of the terms mean or how to even comprehend.
I have been there.
I have also been where I think I know what something means in a draft and I am completely wrong.
So today, I will be letting you know what some of the basic terms are when used in writing and reading a draft. The two books that I learned how to read drafts from were The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon, and the infamous A Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Marguerite Porter Davison. These are great books to start out with because the drafts are clear, have wonderful samples of what the draft looks in woven form, and they have so many options to show for a four-harness loom.
Here are some of the basic terms used in drafts:
Draft: This is the weaver’s pattern record. Here the weaver writes the threading along the top of the grid and the treadling along the side of the grid. In one of the corners (for the books referenced above, this is in the upper right corner) the tie-up of the treadles is recorded. And in the body of the draft is the drawdown. The reason why drafts are shown and drawn out in a grid is because this most closely resembles the interlacement of the warp threads with the weft.
Threading: Threading is the way the warp threads are pulled through the heddles. This can either be in a straight draw (1,2,3,4) or in a specific pattern.
Treadling: The treadling order is listed along the side of a draft. This is to indicated what order to press down the treadles in order to lift the specific tie-up pattern. In some cases it will read Tromp as Writ or TAW: this indicates that you will “tromp” the treadles in the same order as the threading pattern. The treadling can also indicate how many times a weft will need to be inserted through the weft at that point.
There will also be an occasion where at the top of treadling diagram it will read Use Tabby. This means that in between each of the pattern shots, you will have to insert a tabby or plain weave shot. This is to help maintain the integrity of the fabric. And writing out use tabby at the top allows for more ease of reading the pattern.
Tie-Up: At this point in the draft, this is where it will indicate which harness need to be connected to which treadle. So examining the hopsack draft above: The treadle is connected only to the first harness. The second treadle is connected to harnesses 2,3, and 4. The third treadle is connected to harness 1 and 3 and the fourth is connected to 2 and 4. The last two treadles make a tabby (or plain weave) pattern.
So now, whenever the second treadle is pressed down, harnesses 2,3, and 4 will be lifted creating a shed for you to throw the weft through. You will know which treadle to press and each point in the pattern when following the treadling.
Draw-down: This is the main body of the draft. Some weavers will draw just this image for others to derive information from or an image of the final woven cloth will be shown instead of a graph image. This is the image that will inform the reader of the draft what overall structure of the cloth will look like using this pattern. Some drafts will offer different treadling options for each tie-up to create different patterns. This is a very handy piece of information to have because if you only have this image- you can derive the threading, treadling and tie-up through fabric analysis. But if you have the other information but not the draw-down, you can still create the image to visualize what the pattern will look like by following the instructions of the threading, treadling and tie-up and using your pencil as the weft and warp threads.
These are just some very basic terms for reading a draft. In the next couple weeks I will be going more in depth on how to read and fully utilize a draft to design your own woven cloth. If there is something that you need clarifying, leave a comment and I’d love to help clear things up!