Combined single and double cloths is one of my favourite methods of creating textural weaving because of the immediate possibility of tension differences between the more compact single cloth areas compared to the looser double cloth construction. 

With handweaving, we can do lots of things that industrial weaving can’t, largely because we are generally dealing with a much smaller yardage than industry and therefore, we can get away with tensions that don’t balance out much more easily.  In industry, everything has to balance out in order for the weaving to progress smoothly whereas we can try something with grossly different tensions, cut it off, retie and try something else….  Personally, that’s why I love to handweave – to do what industry can’t!

Anyway, back to combined single and double cloth.  The basics of a simple double cloth are

i)    you can weave single cloth

ii)   you can weave two separate layers

iii)  you can interchange those layers

iv)  you can weave double the width of your loom

v)   you can weave a tube

For my purposes in this blog, we are looking at i), ii) and iii). 

The technical aspect means that you have areas where the warp is very closely sett, and acts as a single cloth, and areas where the warp is divided into two layers and is much looser.  This immediately sets itself up for differential shrinkage, without even taking into account different weave structures and yarns. 

What you are looking at here is the combined single and double cloth draft with the single cloth on shafts 1 & 2 weaving plain weave at a ratio of 2:1 with the back cloth.  In the single cloth areas, I have raised selected areas of the back cloth to interweave with the plain cloth, creating a single thicker layer which moves across the cloth as the pattern moves.  The double cloth areas are where the back cloth weaves plain weave on the remaining shafts that weren’t involved in the single cloth patterning. 

Because the ratio of 2:1 top to bottom is used, the bottom cloth, if it is of a shrinking type of yarn such as wool, will shrink in areas where it is not integrated into the top cloth, thereby creating puckering in a patterned shape. 

You can probably see that this is a great way of using ratios and double cloth to have a lot of fun with texture.  It could work really neatly with colour variations as well. 

Next week, I am going to show you a variation on the theme including floats….