Weaving in Plaid

Posted by Jodi Ybarra on

*Homestyle Plaid Towel Kit*

Weaving plaid is so much fun and it’s a great way to make interesting color effect in your handwoven project. 

Let's talk about what plaid patterns can be woven on our rigid heddle looms.  The answer to this is.... all the plaids!

Quite simply, it is stripes of colors in the warp that are then repeated in the same sequence in the weft. This is also referred to as “tromp as writ” and is a balanced weave.

Plaid can be achieved with any number of colors and can also be woven in any sequence. A good way to plan out your warp order is to make a wrap with the colors you will be using.

With this color strip, Peach will be the main color with medium stripes of Natural and thinner stripes of Chocolate.  I will then weave in this same color sequence with my weft yarns.

Plaid can be woven in plain weave or texture weave with a pick-up stick or a mixture of both.

Here is an example that is still on my loom.  You can see the warp order is identical as the weft order.  I've also added some texture weave using a pick-up stick.


Let's weave plaid!

  • Gather your supplies ~ We've supplied a pattern in this blog for inspiration, but we would love to see your own unique designs.  Our goal is to see as many different color combinations as possible! 
  • You can weave the towels from the pattern below or if you want to have fun making your own plaid designs, PlaidMaker is an excellent, free resource to browse and get creative with color.  
  • You can use any yarns you have on hand, or we have this project available as a kit if you'd like to weave the Homestyle Plaid Towels shown in this blog.
  • Let's get our looms warped and weave together!  I'm here for you every step of the way!  

* Homestyle Plaid Towel Kit *

Homestyle Plaid Towel Pattern

Weave Structure:  plain weave and texture weave.  You can weave both towels in plain weave, both in texture weave or one of each.
Equipment needed:  Rigid Heddle Loom; 10 dent heddle; 22” weaving width; 4 shuttles; 1 pick-up stick
Yarns: Aurora Earth 8/2 Cottons; Peach 1120 yds, Natural 768 yds, Chocolate 192 yds. (You can also choose other colors as your main, secondary and accent colors.)
Total warp ends:  440
Setts: 10 epi (doubled in slots and holes); 11 ppi (double threads) in texture weave or 10 ppi in plain weave
Warp Length:  Two Towels 2 ¾ yards (99”)
Other supplies: matching sewing thread for hems


Step 1:  Warping the Loom
Set up your loom to direct warp a length of 2 ¾ yards (99”).  Centering for a weaving width of 22”, sley four threads in each slot.

Warp Order:
Warp four threads in each slot 
10 slots Peach (40 threads)
4 slots Natural (16 threads)
2 slots Chocolate (8 threads)
4 slots Natural (16 threads)
Repeat 5 times
Finish with 10 more slots Peach (40 threads)
Total of 440 threads

Note: You can reduce the number of repeats to weave on a smaller loom.

Step 2:  Sleying the Reed
When all 440 threads are warped, wind the yarns onto the back beam and then transfer two threads from each slot into the holes.  There will now be two threads in each slot and in each hole. 
Tie the yarns in small sections onto the front beam and tighten your warp to get a tight, even tension.  Weave with scrap yarn to spread the warp evenly.

Step 3:  Preparing the Shuttles
Wind three shuttles double strand with each of the three weft colors.  Wind another shuttle single strand natural for hems. (Approximately 15 yards per hem)

Step 4:  Weaving 

Plain Weave Option:
Weave 1 ½ single strand shuttle for hem.
Repeat the following sequence 8 times:
20 picks Peach
8 picks Natural
4 picks Chocolate
8 picks Natural
After 8 repeats of the weft pattern, finish with 20 more picks of Peach.  
Weave 1 ½ single strand shuttle for hem.

Weave a few rows of a contrasting yarn before starting the next towel.  When you have finished weaving all of your towels, weave a few rows with scrap yarn before cutting yarns off loom.

Texture Weave Option:
With this option you will be using one pick-up stick but will be reinserting it every 20 picks for a different set-up.

Set up for pick-up sticks A and B

Pick-Up Stick A:   With the heddle in the down position (slot threads up) and working behind the heddle, insert the pick-up stick under the first 11 doubled slot threads (peach threads and first natural thread), then over one, under one for the natural and chocolate threads, then under the next 11 peach threads.  Repeat this across ending with stick under the last 10 peach threads.  All peach threads will be on top of the stick and the natural and chocolate threads will be over under.



Weave 20 rows following this 4-step pick-up technique.
Step 1. Heddle in the up position 
Step 2. Heddle in neutral with pick-up stick brought forward and turned on edge.
Step 3. Heddle in the up position
Step 4. Heddle in the down position.
After weaving 20 rows, remove pick-up stick A and set up for pick-up stick B

Pick-Up Stick B: 
With the heddle in the down position (slot threads up) and working behind the heddle, insert the pick-up stick under one over one in the first section of peach threads, then under all natural and chocolate threads.  Repeat across.

Continue weaving in the 4-step pick-up technique of 8 rows natural, 4 rows chocolate, 8 rows natural for a total of 20 rows.

After weaving the 20 rows with pick-up stick B, remove stick and re-insert for pick-up stick A. 

You will weave the entire towel alternating blocks A and B and also repeating the four steps of the pick-up sequence.  Each block will consist of 20 rows.  There will be a total of 9 blocks peach and 8 blocks natural/chocolate.  Always start and finish each towel with 1 ½ single strand shuttle for hems.

Weave a few rows of a contrasting yarn between each towel.  When you have finished weaving all of your towels, weave a few rows with scrap yarn before cutting yarns off loom.

Step 6:  Finishing & Hemming
Remove the fabric from the loom and sew a straight stitch across each end with sewing thread before cutting apart.  Using a hot iron, fold each hem over twice to get a nice flat edge.  Sew a straight stitch across securing each hem.  Machine wash in cool water and dry on normal in machine dryer.  Press with a warm iron if needed.  Towels will relax with more washes.

Enjoy or Gift Your Towels!
These towels were so fun to weave and so rewarding!  Gift giving season is coming and towels are the perfect gift for just about anyone.  Your friends and family will be overjoyed to receive such a special gift.  It’s also fun to personalize towels with the colors that match their kitchen décor. 

I hope you enjoy weaving these plaid towels and I encourage you to weave some in your favorite colors!

Happy weaving! 

Jodi Ybarra

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