Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Waffle Weave

By Leigh

Here is an update on the other fibrey things I'm doing besides dyeing. I have to admit that my enthusiasm for working with wool (knitting my SSC and spinning that Polwarth) is quite diminished in our heat. This is typical for the southeast this time of year, and it doesn't help that our second floor apartment overlooks a blacktop parking lot which intensifies the heat coming from our already hot afternoon sun.

What's on the loom now, is a sample for some waffle weave dishtowels.

Waffle weave sampler in Christmas colors.It's funny, because when I signed up for a towel exchange with the Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild, I immediately thought Susan's waffle weave projects. So that's what I decided to do. Then I visited her blog, only to discover that she had signed up for a different towel exchange, but was planning to do huck weave after reading my posts about that!

I've done waffle weave before, but it's been quite a few years, and that was before I was in my dishtowel phase. Waffle weave isn't a separate structure in it's own right, rather it's all in the treadling. Here is the draft I am using:

Waffle weave draftThe threading here is the traditional point twill, although Helene Bress's The Weaving Book: Patterns & Ideas, (which I understand is to be republished soon), shows waffle weave not only on point twill threadings, but also on Rosepath and broken twill threadings, as well as Huck, Monk's Belt, and Overshot.

The tie-up involves tying two treadles for plain weave, and tying the rest to lift (or sink) three shafts or one. This creates the floats, which you will see in the close up below. The treadling is tromp as writ, which simply means treadling in the same pattern as the threading draft. For my sample, that means treadling one through four and reverse.

If you look closely, you can see that a combination of warp and weft floats create the "waffles."

Detail showing warp & weft floats.My sample is utilizing 10/2 cottons in a sett of 30 epi. This sett was from a chart, so I hoped it would be correct, as evidently it is easy to create a weft faced fabric if the sett isn't close enough or if one's beating is too hard. The key is to make it a balanced weave, so that the picks per inch equal the ends per inch. So far so good; the little waffles are turning out nicely.

The exchange is in November, hence the red and green stripes. There is a story behind those stripes, which I won't go into here, but will get on to when I weave the actual towels.

One thing I'm curious about will be the total amount of shrinkage. The warp is 10.5 inches in the reed, but draw-in takes the actual woven fabric to 8.75 inches. Being cotton, I know it will shrink a bit more with washing and drying.

I have several yards on for this sampler, and as I weave I'm amusing myself by thinking about what I can do with it. Potholders perhaps? A scarf? Little bags for little goodies? Any other suggestions?

Posted 15 July 2008 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com

Related Posts:
Twills - The Basics - explains the basic twill threadings
Waffle Weave Sampler - Problem!
Light Bulb Moments with Waffle Weave
List of all my Waffle Weave posts
Small Bags For Small Gifts



Well since you asked how about a Holiday table runner, a bread basket liner with cute ties or hand towels for the bathroom. I really love the waffle weave and have a project I'm planning to do the technique in, it should be a real lesson with pick up sticks on my RH.

Woolly Bits said...

the waffle weave looks lovely! I have a large blanket made from cotton waffle that I use during the summer instead of warmer bedding and it feels very nice. I think air is trapped in the waffle shape, which adds warmth to it? I like the grip of the fabric, too. somehow I think I couldn't bear to cut the lovely fabric into small pieces for potholders:)

ladyoftheloom said...

About the shrinkage. Lots. About 30% for my recent waffle towel project!

Changes I would make when I do them again? Use a finer weft for the plain weave hems so they would not flare out from the waffle after washing.

Yours look lovely, I really like the irregular width stripes.

Leigh said...

Deep End and Bettina, thank you for the great ideas! A blanket sounds like a really good future project; I will remember that.

And Alice, thank you for the tips! Very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...


And that is great news about the Helene Bress book! Our old public library had a copy and thought it was the best weaving book I had ever seen. Apparently a lot of other people think so too, because I keep stalking it on ebay, but it quickly goes out of my price. It sells for upwards of a hundred dollars on Amazon and such.

Susan B. said...

Leigh, I love the close up picture! And as always your explanations make things crystal clear. I've woven waffle but now I understand even more!
Shrinkage is huge! 30% sounds right. And weaving the hem in plain weave is a good tip.
I don't care what they are, I'm enjoying this journey a lot!

Leigh said...

Thank you Susan! I'm glad now that I decided to do a sample.

Trapunto, the Bress book is a wonderful resource. It was expensive back when I got it about 6 years ago, $65, I think. But it was worth it.

Jackie said...

Great project! Yet another one on my "to do" list! ANd I like the idea of pot holders.

Helen said...

I love the look of the waffle weave too. I can't think of anyhting excitign to make with the sample except a blanket for the cat. I am sure Rascal would appreciate it!
bw Helen

Dorothy said...

I like the look and feel of waffle weave, and your coloured stripes look good. I'm not feeling imaginative about uses at the moment, I first came across this weave used for wool blankets, later found what nice towels it makes. It would be good for kimono / dressing gown, but that's not really a suggestion for oddments!

Thanks for passing on the news about the Helene Bress book, I shall add it to the list of things I'd like to have.

Kathy said...

Waffle weave is really (I think)! I remember a towel exchange years ago...after finding a well worn rag of a towel in the bin the other day. I think it took 20+ years to wear it out. :)

Have a ball!

Leigh said...

Helen Rascal love to claim anything fibrey that I do! *lol*

Dorothy, I hadn't thought about a kimono or dressing gown. Now I'm curious as to how heavy the fabric will be and you've got me thinking. A lightweight jacket perhaps?

Kathy, who can beat that for wear and tear!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I am also in the middle of some waffle-weave dishtowels, also in 10/2 cotton. I set mine at 24 epi. I finished the first one, removed it and washed and dried. I like how the 24 epi came out. It was 25 inches in the reed and shrunk to 18 inches, and 37 inches long and shrunk to 28 inches (not counting the hems either before or after finishing). I was shooting for 20 x 30 but like the size. I did a 3-end basket weave for the hems, hoping for less flair, but I still got flair. I think I am going to cut off the hems and hem it again with just the waffle-weave to see how I like that before I begin on the rest of them. This is my first attempt waffle weave and I love how it turned out.

I really like your stripes, they're beautiful.

Leigh said...

Thank you so much Cathy, and thank you especially for the information about your waffle weave towels. Very helpful! I wish I could see a photo (do you have a blog?) My 30 epi was just a guess and now I'm curious how they'll turn out. I may have to try 24 epi with the 10/2 cotton as well, just to compare. It's been a long time since I've woven this weave, and I'd forgotten what a lovely fabric it makes.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no blog. Unfortunately working full time makes for slow progress in weaving. I'm afraid I would be a very boring blog. But I'd be happy to try another option of getting you a picture if you have a suggestion.

bspinner said...

Your waffle weave towels are so pretty and colorful unlike my boring tan and brown ones You have such a great color sense.

Priyank said...

This is an amazing piece of information, I am looking for bathrobes and I come across this weave. Just wondering if this is another version of honeycomb weave. Thanks for sharing information.

Leigh said...

Priyank, good question. Both waffle weave and honeycomb are treadling patterns which can be done on a number of threadings.

With waffle weave, the outlines of the "waffles" are created with warp and weft floats (same size thread).

With honeycomb, the outlines of the cells are created with a heavier thread (usually one that matches the warp color). The innards of the cell are a finer weft.

Two similar looks with different approaches. Enjoy experimenting!