Bergdala Spinnhus

Older weaving literature, variants of writing diagrams


Part 2: Other books - older or foreign

(List of books with links can be found here)

After that drill (see part 1), It was something of a shock to find that nearly all of the rest of the world (including Swedish textile industry) marks rising warps instead of sinking. In fact, looking at older literature, it turns out that there are nearly as many ways to write threading diagrams as there are writers...

Let us begin with some older Swedish books.

  First, an example from v Engeström, Praktisk vävbok. v Engeström's tie-ups are marked for sinking shed (see page 11), so they can be used "as usual". However, one can at first be confused by her way of writing treadling diagrams. This way of writing is very economical with space:
nr 8, page 28
nr 8, page 28

Next example can be Ekenmark: Mönsterbok för unga fruntimmer. It contains a couple of pages with general explanations, tucked in between the pattern explanations and the pictures. There she writes:
5:o Att då uppknytningen skall ske uti nya Väf-Rustningen med Lattor, betyda alla nollorna snören uti de långa Lattorne, men alla de släta eller omarquerade rutorna, snören för de korta Lattorne.
6:o Att då uppknytningen skall verkställas uti gammal Rustning med så kallade Vassor, betyda alla de släta eller omarquerade rutor, snören uti Vassorne, och nollorne utvisa de skaft, som genom öfra knytningen å sålfskaftedn böra lyfta sig för hvarje trampning."
To summarize: Ekenmark is using a rising shed.
The simpler patterns has the treadling written in the same way as v Engeström – with numbers.
Note that Ekenmark usually (but not always) treadles from the left.
fig 4
When you really study the patterned weaves, you can see that you need to keep track of the details yourself. Also, the "pictures" do not necessarily correspond exactly to the threadings.
On plate 31, we see a simple dräll, with alternating 5 narrow and 3 wide groups.
In the threading diagram she gives the border to the left, and it consists of 7 narrow threading groups.
To the right she gives (from the right) the 3 wider groups, followed by 5 narrow groups.
Thus, the illustration is not quite the same as the cloth the threading will give you...
The treadling order is given in the text accompanying the plate (page 25). Below, I have threaded "as written", left a space between the border and the central pattern, and put in the treadling as explained (to be read from the bottom).

My recommendation is: always study the description carefully, before trying to weave it! Check the threading/treadling to find out how the different parts relate ot each other - and to see whether the description is correct.

plate 31
the pattern from the threading
Reading through the descriptions, it turns out that many of the patterned ("façonerade") weaves are made with a separate pattern warp - so it is imperative to keep track of both text and pictures...

All the same, hats off for Mrs Ekenmark (and her printer!) for undertaking such an ambitious project, with the primitive printing methods they had at that time!

  The easily found older foreign literature (writers like Duncan, Murphy, Falcot, Ashenhurst, Donat, Oelsner among others) was usually written for professional weavers/industry. Many of these book contain only weave (structure) diagrams, but some of them have discussions on loom mechanisms and weave construction.
To be able to weave these structures, it is necessary to analyze them to get threading and treadling orders, and the tie-up diagram. They usually are sorted by the numer of shafts needed.

Older books meant for the home weaver, or some re-prints meant to be one professional's "notebook" can pose other problems. The notebooks were probably not even meant to be "readable"...

  Some examples: Bronson: Early American Weaving and Dyeing (subtitled The Domestic Manufacturer's Assistant), published 1817.
(This is the only book I have seen where shafts are called "wings".)
The tie-up markings are not easy to read, but there are explanations on every page.
Bronson nr 7
Bronson nr 7
  As an example of a "notebook" there is Cyrus Uhler. His hand-written notebook is dated August 19:th 1830.
This is what we get from Uhler - a threading and a tie-up. But how, exactly, does the threading look? What kind of treadling did he have in mind? To the right a possible interpretation:
Uhler, suggestion
Uhler, picture

In the beginning of the 20th century, handweaving had "died out" in the US, it was said. In the 1940-ies and '50-ies there were many weaving descriptions published, more or less primitively printed.

Many of these wanted to present American traditions - they were depicting "true" and "genuine" weaving techniques.

One of these enthusiasts was Lou Tate, who had a weaving school and published a number of booklets.
Here is an example from her Cape Breton coverlet patterns.
As we can see, there are many things one has to know before even beginning to understand this threading diagram. (There is no explanation, at least not in this publication.)

The drawing looks like an overshot (daldräll).
Below I have tried to interpret the threading diagram, with the help of the drawing. First I made a profile draft.
In the draft below I have omitted the tabbies. I use the "interlacement" view, to make it more like the drawing, even though it looks like there are very long warp floats.

Tate, detail
  A similar, but "proper" (hardbound) book is Davison: A handweaver's pattern book, ca 1940. Many American handweavers of today regard this as the weaving bible.
I chose page 31, "Herringbone mixture", for my example.
(Davison's tie-ups are for sinking shed.)

All patterns are presented in a similar way, with photos beside the handwritten diagrams.

I have made drafts of all variations, as written.
(It seems ther is a mis-print: nos VI and VII seem to be mixed up in the list of photos.)

(Some of us Swedes will perhaps not see numbers V - VII as twills, but...)

Davison page 31
Davison, detail
Davison, detail
Davison, detail
Davison, detail
Davison, detail

Literature with links

All links open in a new window - most of them go to specific pages at
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  © Kerstin Fröberg 2009