Converting a 14-Shaft Draft to 8

A while ago, I wove few of what I call "Donat's Diamonds" from Kris Bruland's Handweaving.net; these are draft numbers 27454-27473, and I wove them turned on 14 shafts straight draw.

I'd forgotten that one of the things I did was to weave with undyed merino warp and undyed merino/mohair weft, and left it in a dye bath as an experiment, and gave it to my mother. This was before digital cameras, and I can't remember much else.

So, bless her, she wants the draft years (?) later, and can I please send it to her, but no hurry, dear, anytime you get around to it. It took a few trips down dusty archived folders lane on another computer before I figured it was maybe, probably, hopefully, Draft 27463. Except it's in 14 shafts, and the most shafts she has is eight on a table loom. So the dutiful daughter that I am, I set out to try to replicate the mood of the draft on 8 shafts, something I've done for the first time. And boy, is this difficult!!

This is the original draft, turned, and converted to a lift plan.

My first method was to try to create a draft as close to the original as possible in a tie-up mode. I didn't like that the diamonds were so squashed, but experimenting with only 10 or 12 treadles, I felt I was stuck with them. The diamonds are pretty flat in the original draft, but but that didn't help.

So I studied the lift plan of the original, and started to make elongated diamonds. After a while I was doodling in the lift plan as usual, and half a dozen drafts later, I got this.

This is too lacy and not diamond-shaped, but does convey the atmosphere of some of the other drafts in the series, so I decided to send this to her. Some of the earlier, simpler drafts might have been closer to the original, but I didn't like any. I haven't found the trick to capturing the mood of a draft.

I think I can do better. Since this request had sat on my desk for two months, I decided to send these to her for now. Mom is capable of working out drafts herself, so I hope she will try something as well, she does have a computer, and I would like to revisit this another day so I can send her something better.

It remains to be seen whether this was the draft in question in the first place; I'll either get a joyous, lilting phone call, or a "Huh?" fax soon.


  1. Thanks for posting this and sharing your thinking about the drafts. Drafting really is something to bend your mind around.

    BTW...I'll be attending Randall Darwall's workshop at Penland next month. I've rec'd the acceptance letter, but not the class information yet. Your posts from his visit to NZ have been very encouraging to me.

  2. owwww! It hurts my mind.
    I'll be sticking to 4 shaft twills for a long while.

    Valerie...so lucky to go to Penland! COngratulations. Please let us know all about it.

  3. Wow, Valerie, I am positively purple-green with envy, and at the same time, I didn't know one had to apply and be accepted for Penland, so I'm glad I wasn't the one holding my breath until I heard back. Like Lynne, I do look forward to your report.

    The workshop I attended used to be held in Nelson and was a residential workshop; starting the year Randy came, it moved to the North Island and became no longer a residential one. I can well imagine one gets SO much more from residential courses. ENJOY!

    My mind is bent, ok, with drafts, especially with reducing the number of shafts. I increasing seems a little easier, though I've only done this in a block fashion, not this "same essence, more/less complicated" thing.

    Lynne, oh, why not? When I finally upgraded from rigid heddle to a four-shaft, I thought I'd be good for the next 20 years. I bought the 16-shaft only because one came up for sale only 90 minutes away from Nelson, and around here, when something as rare as a computer-controlled 16-wheeler becomes available, you just grab it if you can afford it. And I did.
    I admit to letting the loom sit while I wove on the 4-shaft for three years, however. I felt like a six-year-old with a Lance Armstrong bike; this was in his heyday.

    The cashmere yarns I use need to be in a uncomplicated weave with as long floats as possible, (which at 15EPI is about 2), so they've all been four-shaft twills, and I haven't come up with a suitable, more complicated weave to show off the softness of the yarn.

    For one of my absolute favorites, spot weave, I only need four and still love it. That one is all about balance and proportion and I enjoy putting on long warps and varying the look.


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