Waffle weave is created on a point-twill threading pattern. Floats around the outside edge of each square, create depth. We wove this fabric on 4 shafts; the more shafts used, the deeper the cells will be. Waffle weave structure is commonly used for towels because the fabric is absorbent and airy. The Wolf Pup is the perfect width for weaving towels. Here, we used 8/2 un-mercerized cotton for an absorbent fabric.
When the waffle weave fabric comes off of the loom and is washed, it will be transformed from flat to springy, sometimes even stretchy. In this example, I chose my colors carefully to emphasize the depth of each square. Planning the warp threading in a weave draft software allowed me to test colors and placement before threading the loom. There are several weaving draft software options available (some free!) and you can also use Photoshop to test out color combinations also!
Tell us about your experience with weave draft software. What program do you like? Please feel free to share your results!
Weave Structure: Point twill. Make sure to use floating selvedges!
Finished Size: 15 x 20” per towel
Yarn: Warp and weft: 8/2 100% Cotton in Wine 62, Mustard 36, Dark Turk 58, and Grape 64.
Equipment: Wolf Pup LT floor loom, 2—11” boat shuttles or end-delivery shuttles, 4” bobbins
Number of Warp Ends: 306, plus 2 floating selvedges
Warp Length: 3 yds
Width in Reed: 17”
Warp Color Order: 2 Wine, 1 Dark Turk, 2 Wine, 1 Mustard, repeat. Note begin and end with 1 extra wine warp thread for the floating selvedge.
Threading/Sleying Notes: If you thread front to back, it works well to make 3 different warp chains- 1 maroon, 1 blue, 1 tan. Thread the maroon first, then go back through and thread the blues and then the tans.
Weaving: You will need two shuttles, 1 light and 1 dark. Following the weft color order as noted in the treadling. Weave plain weave for hem, about 1”. Then, weave 24” in waffle weave, ending with 1” plain weave. This warp allows for 3 towels.
Finishing: Remove the fabric from the loom and secure the ends. Wash the fabric in hot water and lay flat to dry. Steam press. Sew hems by turning a double hem and hand or machine stitching.
I’m not a new weaver, but it seems that no matter how hard I try, I still get wonky edges on my handwoven fabric. My selvedges are not consistent, and I am getting frustrated, HELP!
-Sad Selvedges in Seattle
You’re right, this is a frustrating problem, but luckily there are a few ways to mitigate this issue.
First, using floating selvedges (especially on non plain-weave fabrics) helps keep the edges from looking inconsistent and wavy. A floating selvedge is an extra one or two threads on each edge of the warp that doesn’t pass through any heddles. It stays in a slightly raised position the entire time. While weaving, the weaver must take care to go around that thread to capture it. This however still relies on the weaver to be extraordinarily vigilant about the tension they’re using while weaving.
One of my favorite tools which I have found to improve my selvedges is the End-Delivery Shuttle. It uses an internal tension device and stationary pirns to always give you exactly the amount of thread you need. When set up properly, the weft yarn hugs the selvedge thread just perfectly.
Using these techniques together will get your sad selvedges looking superb!