National Costume Archive

Weaving Techniques

Equipment

A four-shaft counter-balance loom fitted with long-eyed heddles is used. A 27-inch loom is sufficient to produce the textiles required. Both Anastazija Tamošaitis and Aldona Veselka used this small loom for all their production here in North America.

FOUR SHAFT COUNTER-BALANCE LOOM

  1. Breast beam
  2. Cloth beam
  3. Beater
  4. Reed
  5. Harnesses
  6. Heddles
  7. Treadles
  8. Warp beam
  9. Back beam
  10. Apron rod and Apron

Weaving and ornamentation

The ground of all the fabrics is plain weave or tabby. Very rarely a balanced twill.

Sett 30 – 32epi
Reed 15 – 16 sleyed 2:2 weft 30 – 32 ppi
Fiber  cotton /cotton-linen blend, wool – fine

Ornamentation

The ornamentation is a combination of pick-up, over-shot and in-lay. Crochet, hem-stitch, leno-lace, embroidery and cross-stitch are also used. In many cases, all the various methods of ornamentation are used on the same article.

Threading

The threading is predicated by the type of decoration. Over-shot produces a row of blocks across the entire width of the fabric. An open shed of threadings 1 a, b, c facilitates the counting of units for pick-up. Many patterns are developed with attention paid to the threading so that the various sheds can represent a pick-up row or be the basis of one.

Pick-up and Over-shot

Treadles 1 and 2 produce the two sheds for plain weave or tabby. When treadle 3 or 4 is depressed then every second group of ends is raised: one raises the even numbered units, the other the odd, thereby facilitating the counting and selection of the units that are required by the pattern for pick-up. These threadings may also be woven over-shot which produces at row of dots, little posts or a checkered pattern across the fabric.

The threading quite often is a part of the pick-up as patterns are developed to take advantage of this assistance.

Raising every second unit across the warp

2 ends = 1 unit = XX
3 ends = 1 unit = XXX
ends = 1 unit = XXXX

1a – 2 blocks
2 ends = 1 unit = XX
1b – 2 blocks
Monk’s belt:
Monk’s Belt is also a two-block threading. It can be used by means of over-shot to create various blocks or lines across the width of the fabric. Due to the varying size of the blocks it is not used to count blocks for pick-up, but may be the foundation for the ornamentation (2 blocks variable size).
Wave or 2+2 blocks on 4 shafts:
This threading produces either a wave pattern or two different block sets. It is usually used as the foundation for the ornamentation. There is scattered “noise” (threads) between the desired blocks but this usually enhances the effect.
In-lay or brocade
There is no threading that would facilitate this method. These designs are symmetrical around the vertical axis and so there are always an uneven number of units horizontally. Each unit usually has 4 ends. To keep the symmetry, the central unit must have an extra end (i.e., 5 ends). However the placement of all ornamentation is in harmony with the rhythm of the overshot bands produced by the various threadings.