I keep seeing the instructions “weave to square” in Handwoven projects and I’m not sure exactly what that means or how to weave to square. Can you help?
Hi Mary Ann!
I think I might have addressed this before, but it is worth a bit more attention.
“Weaving to square” usually means making a design or motif symmetrical (as tall as it is wide). It’s easy to see the importance of weaving to square if the design is an actual square, as in the photo of doubleweave squares shown above. In many cases, weaving to square also means weaving as many picks per inch as ends per inch, as is true of the doubleweave squares. However, if your beat were a bit too lose or a bit too firm, you’d still want to make the squares look square. You could achieve this by adding or subtracting a sequence of picks.
The doubleweave table motif shown above would not look right if it weren’t symmetrical. For this design, adding or subtracting a sequence of picks to compensate for beating too firmly or too loosely would be harder to do. In cases like these, you will need to practice beating until you can get the beat exactly right to make the motif symmetrical before you weave the final piece.
For overshot, in theory you should weave as many tabby picks per inch as warp threads per inch for a balanced plain-weave cloth. This would mean the total weft sett (tabby plus pattern) would be twice the warp sett. This is usually almost impossible to do. So for overshot, choosing the number of pattern picks to weave for each block means doing whatever number it takes to make the motifs (and the individual blocks within them) symmetrical.
When twills or laces create diamonds or crosses, those designs are usually intended to be symmetrical, too. To achieve this in these weaves, the weft sett must be exactly the same as the warp sett. That means practicing your beat until you get it right. Sometimes this can be a real challenge when figuring out how to weave a project, but the results are worth the effort.
For more information and tips on how to weave to square, check out Pattie Graver’s book Next Steps in Weaving: What You Never Knew You Needed to Know. This book is full of techniques, projects, and explanations that will help you take your weaving from beginner to intermediate (or solidify your intermediate status!). Get your copy or download the eBook today! ~Andrea