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Undulating Twill

I’m weaving a blanket for my husband. The set is 10 epi and I’m beating it as firm as possible to get about 16 ppi. I’m concerned about the end fabric though. The weave seems uniform and firm when I first do it but as it winds around the front of the loom, there are some gaping holes as the threads shift. Is this something I should be worried about or will it work itself out when I wet finish it?

It is probably moving the most where the undulation is and that is because you are floating over so many ends in that space. Right now you have 10 ends in the warp and 16 picks in the weft, which is 26 total ends in a square inch. If you had sett it at 14 and wove it at 14 you would have had 28 ends in a square inch but it would have been balanced and more stable and secure…… it thinks it is weft faced. All you can do at this point is be very careful when you are advancing, making sure that you don’t hit the fabric with your knees or that the knots in the apron don’t cause displacement as you wind around the cloth beam. After it is off the loom you will be able to stabilize more when you full it. Before you full it you will be able to do some rearranging in those areas that are most distorted, guessing it will all be where the undulation is. This is the big lesson about wrapping and sampling……your fabric is a twill and an undulating twill at that. Twills need to be sett closer than plain weave and undulating twills have to be sett even closer than 2/2 twills because the float length can be much greater.

I actually did set it a bit closer, I got 15 wraps per inch and so I planned on a set of 10 per inch instead of the 7 or 8 I would have done for plain weave. I used the 2/3 formula suggested in the Handweaver’s Pattern Directory. Perhaps I shouldn’t be beating it so tightly and let it balance a wee bit more? Would I be better to do 10 and 10? I thought I read somewhere that ppi for undulating should be greater than epi? So for an undulating twill, how would you do the ruler wrappy thingy (yes that’s a technical term) that you showed us. Would I wrap two warp threads together and leave a gap or two for the weft? Not sure how that would play out.

Don’t believe everything you have read. I personally have never heard that about undulating twills. There are several different ways to stabilize undulating twills. One is to weave a very fine plain weave pick between every twill pick. Another way is to change your sett in your reed for the different sections. Where you have those sections that have a much greater float then you sett them a little closer (just in those places). So for instance – your threading goes 1234,1234,112234. In the last part where you have 1122 you are really floating over 4 threads. If it went 1,1,2,2,2,3,3,3, then you are floating over 5 when you step on the treadle tied up to 1,2 and 6 when you step on the treadle tied up to 2,3 so in those areas you could put that reed substitution chart to good use and increase the sett. If you were using an 8 or a 10 dent reed you have more options than if you were using a 12. When I normally do a wrap for a twill, I wrap 2 together and leave a space for 1 warp end, then 2 together leave a space for 1 warp end… When I wrap for an undulating twill, I look at the threading and try to see what the maximum float length will be based on that threading and included some of those wraps in the picture. Generally undulating twills should be sett closer than regular 2/2 twills. This would be a perfect time for you to get over your fear of tensioning a warp. Try my method (do you have the DVD?) and you will be surprised at how easy it is.

I am using a 10 dent reed but I’ve already tied up treadles for plain weave for the first few rows so I like plan A by incorporating plain weave between each twill pick. When you say “each twill pick” you mean (in your example below) the 112234? I planned for a 65” runner and my warp is 4.5 yards long so I may be ok to cut off what I have (18 inches) and start again. I do have the DVD so I’ll review it again.

I can tell by looking at your photo that you are treadling: 12 23 34 14 over and over and over. So what you do is this……….. 12 tabby 23 other tabby 34 first tabby 14 other tabby. This is where the information about right hand tabby is 1,3 – left hand tabby is 2,4……just so you can keep your tabbies straight in this situation.

I’ve got lots of warp (4.5 yards for a 65” finished blanket) so I’m going to start fresh. When you say “fine plain weave between every twill pick… Shall I use a second shuttle with a different fine thread so as not to disturb the pattern?

Yes, use 2 shuttles. Your regular weft is on one and the 2nd very fine weft is on the other.

Does the plain weave go after every pick of just those with longer floats? I would put it after every pick. Can the plain weave pick always be the same lift (i.e. 1,3) or should I alternate 1,3 and 2,4?

You must alternate. Put 1,3 on the right and 2,4 on the left and match it up with the direction you are throwing the tabby shuttle, ie when you are using the 1,3 tabby your shuttle will be travelling from right to left. Then you won’t get mixed up about what tabby should be next. It will be the side that the shuttle is on.