Corkscrew Weave, Or Something Like It.

As promised, here are my samples of Corkscrew Weave. Or are they?

This is the first time I encountered a weave where the definition differed from author to author; it happens with weaving, I've known this, but it was still unsettling.

I consulted Strickler's 8-shaft book first, then Oelsner (always a big mistake for me), and Bartlett's Shadow Weave and Corkscrew Twills. After becoming throughly confused, I consulted with Rose Pelvin of Blenheim, and I went back to Strickler and summed up these elements/requirements for Corkscrew:

* Twill threading: I went with 7-ends, (so I use my usual 14 shafts) and asymmetrical undulating for interest, (which is a result of Problem 2 below);
* Batavia, in 2-2-3-3-1-1-1-1 to create long floats as well as stitched parts;
* Woven as drawn in, for simplicity; forgetting that my picks are often more packed than the sett might have contributed a little to the Problem 1 below.

I designed the drafts so I needed only one color in the warp and another in the weft; when measuring the warp, I promptly forgot this. So while sampling, I tried using warm colors that may diffuse the different values of the two blues in the warp. In the end, I chose the darker, third blue of the same constitution, 100% merino, because of the familiar texture and finish, to submit to the sample exchange.

The colors in the drafts below appear reversed; I used white wefts in the drafts so the designs show up clearly, but I wove with a blue weft darker in value than the two in the warp in the samples. And drafts, by nature, appear upside down against the sampled fabric.

This is the first draft I created. Maximum float is 7 ends, and after sampling, I discovered Problem 1: the woven shapes are not in the near-uniform width as they appear to be in the draft; I've check the threading several times, but my eyes glazed over, so I haven't located the mistake; the slaying was uniform. And this is why, although I've finished weaving these several weeks ago, I haven't sent them to the members of my group yet! Ouch.

The sample on the left is woven in dark blue; the one on the right with an orange wool with value close to the darker blue in the warp, and shows the reverse side of the textile.

Below is the second draft, and here's a trick I most likely picked up from Bonnie Inouye: the two drafts are identical, except the direction of the tie-up; maximum float in this case is 5 ends.

Again, the left is woven with dark blue weft, showing the A side; the right is woven in a very wiry yellow wool, and shows the B side.

On paper, I like them both equally, but I preferred the clarity of the first draft in the samples for the purposes of the exchange. And here comes the funny bit.

I spent a few hours reviewing the books and making notes and discovered Problem 2; I am suddenly not sure if these are in fact corkscrew weaves at all.

My draft used Shafts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13 for the first set of twills, using Shaft 1 as the first shaft. Second set of twills used Shafts 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14, using Shaft 8 as the first shaft.
For those who are interested, most examples show, I now realize, the use of all shafts for all sets of twills, meaning, on an 8-shaft loom, we intertwine 8-end twills, instead of reserving specific shafts for a specific set of twills. However, if you look at p. 68 of Strickler, weaver Kathleen Bradford reserved Shafts 1-3 for the first set of twill, and 4-8 for the second set. And there lies the seed of my confusion. And if you don't get it, don't worry, I'm not 100% sure how to fix it, either.

At any rate, after consulting with Rose Pelvin for the @#$%th time, I decided these samples will be sent as they are. Whatever the name or the nature of this particular way of combining twills that I've just experimented, I do see some design possibilities; in particular, I see some shape-related designs with comparatively short floats and, therefore, structural stability. With this second draft, I even see some warpwise Randying possibilities.

I'm trying to tell myself I'm a genius rather than a total looser just now. You have to excuse me while I go away and laugh hysterically.


  1. What ON EARTH are you talking about, Meg...?!

  2. Don't you worry your purdy lil' head, JB; leave it to weathered weavers.

    Well, one who is not weathered at all, but who knows her weaves, my friend Agnes in Kaitaia, says this:
    "Yes, it would be a shadow weave type if you would have done another tie up and used the two colours in the weft or it could also be an Echo weave if you would have set the warp closer (anywhere between twill and double weave), used a opposite tie-up and treadled any twill variation."

    So, not Corkscrew. Darn.


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