Throws and blankets have been among the more useful items I’ve woven. But a reasonable size throw is a meter or more in width. Double weave allows you to weave fabric that is wider than your loom, by weaving two layers at once.
The pattern wasn’t going to use all of the yarn, and I really wanted something bigger. So I got out my spreadsheet and did some calculations. How much yarn could I use on the smaller sample and still have enough left for a decent size throw? It turned out that if I warped up 3 yards for the sample I could practice with the double weave technique and still have enough left to warp up 3.25 yards of the wider throw.
The idea was to put the warp on the loom so that I could weave two layers at once, connecting these layers on one side while leaving the other side open.
Then once the fabric is cut off the loom it opens up to twice the width. This magic is achieved by setting the treadles so that the bottom layer is down when weaving the top layer and the top layer is up when weaving the bottom layer. If shafts 1 and 2 are the top layer and shafts 3 and 4 are the bottom layer:
- Raise shaft 1: weave top layer from open side towards fold.
- Raise shafts 1, 2, and 3: weave bottom layer from fold towards open side.
- Raise shafts 1, 2, and 4: weave bottom layer from open side towards fold.
- Raise shaft 2: weave top layer from fold towards open side
After weaving a square sample, there was room on the warp to weave a tube. To make it into a tube you follow this sequence:
- Raise shaft 1: weave top layer left to right (top layer is always in the same direction)
- Raise shafts 1, 2 and 3: weave bottom layer right to left
- Raise shaft 2: weave top layer left to right
- Raise shafts 1, 2 and 4: weave bottom layer right to left
This closes up both selvages, so you end up with a tube. You can also swap top and bottom layers – this weaves them together so that the tube is closed at one end (or both ends). I closed one end of my tube, and found a cushion insert that fit it perfectly. Then I hand sewed the other end closed to make a cushion.
Once the samples were done, I was ready to re-thread my loom to make a wider throw. I carefully calculated the amount of wool left to maximise the size of my throw. Then I designed a stripe/plaid sequence and figured out how to put it on the loom so that the stripes would be preserved when I unfolded the final piece.
The weaving was sett loosely (8 ends per inch) so the pieces needed to be fulled (slightly felted) once they were off the loom. Right off the loom the throw measured 71″ by 57″. After fulling, it was 55″ by 44″, almost 25% smaller than on the loom. The end result was exactly what I had envisioned – a soft, warm throw that looks professionally woven.
I plan to make a larger square cushion out of the sample square for a lovely three piece set. Here is the throw with the smaller cushion.