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SIMPLE PATTERNS ON A FRAME LOOM - WEAVING TWILL, CHEVRON, DIAMOND

simple patterns on a frame loom - kaliko

If you are a weaver who works on a frame loom, you might have come across floor loom weaving patterns that look equally interesting and intimidating. Floor loom weavers have to know how to read weaving patterns, to be able to set up their floor looms properly: thread all the ends in the right sequence through the heddles and tie the treadles to the shafts accordingly.

 But the patterns can come handy for frame loom weavers, too - if you know how to decipher them, that is! So reading them can still be a useful skill. Luckily, there is no longer set up needed when weaving simple patterns on a frame loom, just some focus and following a strict sequence.


How to read weaving patterns

Every pattern draft consists of 4 areas - the threading (bottom left), the treadling sequence (right), the treadle tie-up (bottom right) and the big weaving pattern area that shows how the pattern will look like woven. In a weaving pattern, every vertical row of boxes corresponds to a single warp thread, and every horizontal row of boxes corresponds to a single weft thread. Solid box means a weft thread shows over a warp thread, a blank box means a warp thread is visible, with a weft thread going under.

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko


Deciding on the number of ends (warp threads)

To be able to warp your frame loom properly, you have to have a look at the threading sequence of the pattern (the box on the bottom left side) and look for the pattern repeat. For houndstooth, it’s 4. Multiply your warp by the number of ends in the pattern repeat. You can also add extra ends on each side for stability. I prepared a warp of 20 (5x4) plus extra 2 ends on each side = 24 ends.

Writing down the sequence

The same applies to the treadling sequence. Look for the pattern repeat to know how many passes create a full block. For houndstooth it’s 8 passes: 4 white threads + 4 black threads. That means you will have to pass the weft 8 times before you repeat this sequence over and over to create a pattern.

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko


Warping a frame loom for a houndstooth pattern

As you can see in the pattern draft, the houndstooth pattern is made with two colors of yarn. First, you have to prepare the warp. I am using black and white wool for both warp and weft. Make sure to use rather chunky yarn for this pattern, as it looks best when it’s dense.

I add two extra white warp threads at the beginning, then I start warping: 4 black threads, 4 white threads, 4 black threads, etc. When I am done, I add 2 more white threads at the end. These two threads at the beginning and at the end are there for support. I will only weave a plain weave there, always starting my houndstooth pattern sequence from the thread number 3.

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko 


Houndstooth weaving sequence

To write down the weaving sequence use a single weaving pattern block, corresponding to the pattern repeats of the threading and treadling. Start at the lower left-hand side - this is the first crossing of the warp and weft - and work your way through all the warp ends in the sequence. This is the pass number 1. (OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2…, etc.). Go to the row on top of it, and write down the sequence, again starting on the left-hand side (UNDER 1, OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2…, etc.). Work your way through all 4 passes. This is the correct weaving sequence for the houndstooth pattern:

1. OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2…, etc.
2. UNDER 1, OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2…, etc.
3. UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2…, etc.
4. OVER 1, UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2…, etc.

Weave steps 1-4 using the first color. Then repeat steps 1-4 using the second color.
Your first block is finished!
Repeat the full pattern sequence until the sample is woven. 

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko


Weaving the first pick of weft

Start by tying your weft to the first warp thread on the left hand side, then go under the second thread to anchor your weft and start your weaving sequence. As mentioned, I start at the warp thread number 3, going over 2 threads, under 2 threads, over 2 threads, and I finish before the last two warp ends - these are again woven in plain weave. 

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko


Working from left to right with a shed stick

Because my sequence is written down counting from left to right, this is how I am counting the warp ends, too. It might get confusing to go from left to right and then from right to left, that’s why I rather stick to counting from left. I use an extra stick to help me count and work as a heddle. I skip the first two warp threads and start counting from the thread number 3 again, going under 1 thread, over 2 threads, under 2 threads etc. I skip the last 2 threads again and open the shed (opening in the warp) by turning the stick. Now, just like before, I weave tabby (plain weave) on the last 2 threads, pass the weft through the shed and weave tabby on the first two threads, to anchor the weft. The first pass is complete!

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko 


Finishing the first block

The full block is 4 passes of white yarn. For the third pass I skip the side threads and start counting from the thread number 3 again, going under 2 threads, over 2 threads, under 2 threads etc. For the final pass I use a shuttle stick as a heddle, and counting from left to right I go over 1 thread, under 2 threads, over 2 threads, under 2 threads etc. and pass the yarn through the opening. The first block is now finished and it’s time to change the yarn. 

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko


Repeating the sequence in black

The houndstooth pattern is made by alternating between two yarn colors. Both warp and weft are woven in a 4-thread block. After finishing the first block of white weft, use the second color and simply repeat steps 1-4. You will see the pattern slowly emerging. 

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko


Working the pattern

After 4 passes of black yarn change the color back to white and repeat the full sequence: steps 1-4 in white, steps 1-4 in black, etc. You can see a very distinctive pattern building up by now. Continue according to the sequence until you’re happy with the size of you weaving. 

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko


Making wall hangings, patches, samples

You can use this technique to make patterned wall hangings on your frame loom, either a pattern itself or integrate the pattern into a broader design.

You can also make small patches or patterned coasters, or any other small projects really, I listed my top 10 ideas in a blog post. But sampling patterns on a frame loom can be also a good idea for floor loom weavers. You can quickly test how the yarns work together, without the long set-up of your floor loom.

I pinned some pattern examples to this Pinterest board. Some of them are far too complicated for a frame loom but there are some simple ones, too! 

weaving patterns on a frame loom - kaliko


Straight twill weaving sequence

Twill pattern is a very simple yet beautiful pattern consisting of visual diagonal lines formed in the weaving. The sequence developed from the twill pattern draft (from left to right) goes as follows:

1. OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2… etc.
2. UNDER 1, OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2… etc.
3. UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2… etc.
4. OVER 1, UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2… etc.

Repeat the pattern sequence.

The houndstooth pattern is basically a twill pattern with two alternating colors.

twill weaving pattern - kaliko


Reverse twill (chevron) weaving sequence

This pattern is also called chevron pattern - a very elegant yet simple one. The sequence starts just like straight twill and reverses after first 4 steps. This is the sequence (left to right):

1. OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2… etc.
2. UNDER 1, OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2… etc.
3. UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2, OVER 2… etc.
4. OVER 1, UNDER 2, OVER 2, UNDER 2… etc.
5. Repeat STEP 3
6. Repeat STEP 2

Repeat the full pattern sequence.

chevron weaving pattern - kaliko


Diamond twill weaving sequence

Here’s another variation of twill, making up a lovely diamond pattern. The pattern repeat for the threading is 6 ends. That means for this one you have to prepare a warp multiplied by 6 ends. A single pattern block here consists of 6 warp threads and 6 weft passes. The sequence (left to right):

1. UNDER 1, OVER 3, UNDER 3, OVER 3… etc.
2. OVER 2, UNDER 1, OVER 2, UNDER 1… etc.
3. OVER 1, UNDER 3, OVER 3, UNDER 3… etc.
4. UNDER 2, OVER 1, UNDER 2, OVER 1… etc.
5. Repeat STEP 3
6. Repeat STEP 2

Repeat the full pattern sequence.

diamond weaving pattern - kaliko


Notched weaving looms with a heddle bar

If you’re in a need for a small notched frame loom with warp tensions adjustment, have a look at my shop. I offer wooden looms in three sizes, made by a small woodworking company from south Germany.

These looms come with a heddle bar, that speeds up weaving tabby (plain weave) considerably, but can be detached for weaving more complicated patterns.

And if you don’t have a loom yet but you’re itching to try weaving anyway, have a look at this blog post about DIY cardboard looms.


Thank you for following along! If you are interested in behind-the-scenes of my handmade business, you can find me on Instagram. If you’d like to receive my monthly thoughts on self-employment and creativity, add your email to my Substack subscribers list.