Monday, October 13, 2008

Profile Drafts

By Leigh

Profile drafts are a shorthand form for writing weaving drafts. With them, a weaving pattern is laid out in blocks rather than thread by thread. Profiles can be written for threading, tie-up, and treadling. I'm just going to try and explain threading profiles, because they are more common and I understand them better.

The first question we need to answer is, what is a block? A block is a repeatable section of an overall pattern. Blocks consist of units, which are smallest number of threads needed make the weave unique. (More on that in this post.) Blocks can have as many repeats of a unit as the weaver desires.

As an example, let's look at this summer & winter dishtowel I wove about a year and a half ago. It is a simple 4-shaft design, using a Fibonacci sequence in both the threading and the treadling.

Below is the thread by thread draft for one pattern repeat. You can click on it to enlarge it.

Here is a profile of the same draft.

Each square in the profile represents a threading unit. If you compare it to the thread by thread draft, you see that from the right, unit A is threaded once, then unit B twice, then A three times, etc. The profile has two rows, because it uses only two blocks. The first row is for block A, the second for block B, and so on for additional blocks.

The beauty of a profile, is that its pattern can be adapted to any block weave. For example, here's the same profile in M's & O's (click to enlarge)

Or, a Multiple Tabby Weave (click to enlarge)

As you can see, profile drafts are not only easy to read and write, but are very versatile as well.

Posted 13 Oct. 2008 at

Related Posts:
Shadow Weave Profiles


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Leigh. Profile drafts are so helpful in getting a general idea of a design down.

Peg in South Carolina said...

I don't remember that lovely dishtowel. Glad you reposted it. It's enough to make anyone want to weave S&W.

Connie Rose said...

Gorgeous, Leigh. I love these colors -- that's always what draws me to a piece first!

Anonymous said...

I think this is the clearest presentation I've seen of blocks, anywhere. Thank you.

neki desu said...

Way back in my early weaving days looked at profiles and was puzzled by all those threads in the same shaft.
Many years later while reading Madelyn van der Hoogt's introduction to her book i found out with delight that i had not been alone in my puzzlement:)
Yes,profiles rock.

neki desu

Leigh said...

I appreciate the feedback! I admit that I was puzzled over profile drafts at first too, in fact I'm still working on understanding tie-up and treadling profiles.

Neki, I'm looking forward to working my way through Madelyn's book, especially the section on tied weaves to start with. Understanding some of these basics is my first step!