Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weaving Methods

There are four basic construction techniques or skills for weaving different items that I use. They are twining, plaiting/braiding, coiling and knotting. From these four types many designs and shapes can be made.

Twining is the earliest known method of weaving. This technique involves two or more weavers or wefts are twined around a warp (over and under) and not necessarily twisted. This technique is also called pairing of two weavers and wailing when three or more weavers are used. The diagram shows the technique starting on the left working over the warps to the right, a traditional Haida technique.


Plaiting is also referred to as the checkerboard weave. Where warps and wefts when woven together form a checkerboard pattern. The technique also allows for variation in that the weft can be woven over two warps or more, for patterns and designs, and not restricted to the single over and under checkerboard design. Warps can be envisioned as the skeleton of a basket and the weft or weaver as the skin.

Braiding much like plaiting, consists of 3 or more strands (up to 13 or more if you like thick braids), plaited together. That is each strand is folded crosses over the others to form a flat wide plait of any length. Braids are useful as a substitute for a wide weft on a basket for example or for coiling.

In coiling, a bundle of strands or a twisted strand is stitched together into a spiraling, round or oval form with a thin, flexible weaver. It is a simple straight forward technique, that makes a firm and rigid basket in a relatively short period of time. There are several different types of coiling, including wrapping and the use of braids.


Knotting and Ropework. Rope or twine is made by twisting two or more strands of fiber in the same direction, which in turn, twists the strands together forming a single strand of twine. These lengths of twined fiber can then be knotted in various ways. Macrame is a common form of knotting.