Loom Controlled Lace Weaves

Loom Controlled Lace Weaves
by Carrie May
When I began researching lace weaves, I had a
hard time. I began with library books and issues
of Handwoven magazines. Lace weaves it seems
come in a variety of names, and often many different threadings. I couldn’t tell the difference
between Bronson Lace and Swedish lace. More
than one weave has the name Bronson in it, and
some explanations for what is what are hard to
When lace is woven, the pattern often does not
show up until the fabric is off the loom and
washed. Only when the fabric is relaxed can the
pattern show.
The following hand-out has drawdowns and examples of several types of lace weaving including
Huck Lace, Bronson Lace, Spot Bronson Lace,
Swedish Lace, and Canvas Weave.
Lace weaving is not just about patterns of
holes or spaces. It is about structure. Traditionally, lace is made by two methods. Needle
lace is a single thread embroidered over
foundations threads, and Bobbin lace—hundreds of threads on bobbins moved around a
foundation of straight pins to form lace. Other
techniques for making lace include knitting,
crocheting, and tatting. These methods use
circles and curves to form lace. Weaving however, uses warp threads which are anchored
at both ends and crossed in straight lines by
wefts threads. It is hard to make circles and
curves out of right angles.
Huck Lace is a structure weave which
is produced by alternating groups or
blocks of threads.
Plain weave can also be threaded along side
the huck units— the shafts plain weave
appears on depends upon the huck threading
used. I have used the 1,2,1, 4,3,4 threading
for my samples with plain weave falling on
shafts 4 and 1. The huck blocks can also be
woven to produce only plain weave in areas
if you wish. This makes many designs possible.
In 4- shaft huck, a typical threading
would be 1,2,1,2,1; 4,3,4,3,4... repeating this sequence as many times as
wanted to produce a lace pattern. But
there are also other ways to thread
for the same pattern. Another threading might be 1,3,1,3,1; 2,4,2,4,2.
This is a threading mistake; two
of the same block
side by side.>
Pattern blocks can be more or less than
5 threads in length. For instance, I used
4,3,4,3,4 as an example but if you wanted
to, you could use three thread huck, 4,3,4,
1,2,1, or seven thread huck, 4,3,4,3,4,3,4;
1,2,1,2,1,2,1. The important thing to remember is one unit cannot be repeated consecutively. It must alternate with another block
to make the lace pattern. Repeating units
beside themselves would cause 2 threads to
lie side by side on the same shaft. Example:
1,2,1; 1,2,1.
Some very interesting patterns
can be made by varying the treadlings in huck lace. I have noticed that when two huck blocks
alternate in a checkerboard pattern and warp or weft floats only
are treadled, the cloth tends to
have the appearance of curves or
circles. The warp floats pull inward and the plain weave areas
tend to push outward against the
^ warp spots
<weft spots
< I experimented by weaving columns of warp and weft floats alternating with plain weave. These examples are all done on the same
Some other examples of huck
lace possible all on the same
threading. v
Bronson Lace is similar to Huck Lace in
that one lace block looks like a huck block,
but there are many differences in the
threadings, treadlings, and arrangement of
the blocks.
< Warp floats
v Weft floats
Bronson lace is threaded with every other
thread on shaft one. So half the threads in
a Bronson pattern are on shaft one. Shaft
two threads are used as tie down threads
and appear between every block. Threads
on shaft three and four are used as pattern threads. A block would be threaded
1,3,1,3,1,2 or 1,4,1,4,1,2. Each block
begins with shaft one and ends with shaft
two. Only one pattern shaft is used per
block. Plain weave can be threaded by
using shafts 1 and 2 and can be inserted
between blocks.
Bronson Lace is threaded by repeating
blocks beside themselves. For instance,
blocks threaded with pattern threads on
shaft three are repeated beside each
other with one thread on shaft two between each block. This causes the Bronson Lace to have a window pane appearance, unlike Huck Lace.
< Bronson lace
blocks can weave
either warp floats
or weft floats or
plain weave. The
tie down threads
on shaft two give
Bronson lace a
window pane
appearance. v
Blocks with pattern threads on shaft four can
also be threaded beside blocks with pattern
threads on shaft three. This makes it possible to
treadle plain weave and lace, or all lace.
^ Bronson Lace threaded in two blocks
and woven in all lace or plain weave
< and lace.
Bronson Lace blocks can be treadled
with warp floats or weft floats. When
blocks on shaft three are threaded beside blocks on shaft four, warp floats
can be treadled on one block with weft
floats on the other. But a block with
floating warp threads will not lie directly side-by-side to a block with weft
floats. The pattern on one block will
be shifted by one thread either up or
down, to the next block.
^Two blocks of Bronson lace treadled
with warp and weft floats beside each
other. The warp floats are shifted by
one thread either up or down to the
weft floats.
Spot Bronson has similarities to Bronson
Lace and Huck Lace. It is also called
by many names. Specific drafts of Spot
Bronson include names such as Barleycorn, Bucien Huckabuck, and Martha
Washington’s Towel. This can be very
A similarity between Spot Bronson and
Bronson Lace is that every other thread
in Spot Bronson is on shaft 1. There the
similarities end. Spot Bronson is usually threaded in four-thread blocks, with
threads on shafts 2,3, and on up acting
as pattern threads. A block in Spot Bronson would be threaded 1,2,1,2.
Warp spots
spots fit a
little closer
because the
four thread
block “borrows” from
its neighbor.
< Weft spot
^ Harry’s Spot Bronson Sample
Like Huck blocks, Spot Bronson blocks
are never threaded beside themselves.
They always alternate with other blocks,
or plain weave. Spot Bronson blocks
must always be treadled with plain
weave on all four sides. Bronson spots
look like Huck spots but when compared
to Huck, the Bronson spots fit a little
closer together. This is because the four
thread block needs a fifth thread to complete the block, and “borrows” from its
While the structure of Spot Bronson looks
similar to Huck, when you look at Spot
Bronson cloth, you can see that the floats
tend to push outward with the plain weave
drawing in. In a checkerboard of Huck
spots, the plain weave tends to push out
with the floats pulling in.
Plain weave is treadled by alternating
shaft 1, with all of the other shafts. If an
area in the threading is to be only plain
weave, then a separate shaft is required.
Spot Bronson patterns can be treadled
with warp floats or weft floats. Because
each spot needs to be surrounded by
plain weave, a block with warp floats cannot be treadled beside a block with weft
^ Spot Bronson weft float design. Each block is
surrounded by plain weave. >
Many interesting patterns can be made
with Spot Bronson by adding more shafts.
Diamonds, alphabet letters and twill designs are all possible. Spot Bronson does
not have a lacy appearance, but is very
interesting in how it behaves, and its textural pattern does stand out.
^ Spot Bronson warp float design. v
Swedish lace has many of the characteristics of both Huck lace and Bronson lace.
The threaded blocks for Swedish lace look
like huck blocks, but unlike Huck, they can
be repeated beside themselves. Swedish lace threadings use tie-down threads
to separate repeated blocks, as do Bronson threadings. This gives Swedish lace
blocks the appearance of window panes,
just like Bronson lace. Foundation threads
in Swedish lace are on shafts 1 and 4, and
also act as tie-down threads. Shafts 2 and
3 hold pattern threads. Pattern block “a”
would be threaded 1,2,1,2,1, with a tiedown thread following on shaft 4. Pattern
block “b” would be threaded 4,3,4,3,4, with
a tie-down thread on shaft 1. When blocks
a and b are alternated with each other, no
tie down thread is needed between them
since the foundation threads automatically
shift from 1 to 4 or 4 to 1.
^ Swedish lace warp float design >
Swedish lace weft float design ^
Harry’s Swedish lace sample.^
In Swedish lace, warp floats or weft floats
can be treadled only for an all over pattern. If only warp floats are treadled on
one block, the other block will weave plain
weave. Warp and weft floats can also be
treadled at the same time just like in Huck.
^ all over Swedish lace design
with warp and
weft floats.
^ Two blocks of warp and
weft floats sit side by side in
Swedish lace. Two blocks of
warp floats do not. One block
will be shifted by one thread
either up or down.>
Swedish lace
warp and weft
float design with
a window pane
appearance >
One thing which is interesting about
Swedish lace, is that it behaves like Bronson except when you try to weave two
pattern blocks beside each other. In Bronson lace, two blocks cannot weave warp
floats on one and weft floats on the other.
The pattern will not sit side-by-side, but
shifts up or down by one thread, while in
Swedish lace you can. Similarily, in Swedish lace two blocks cannot
weave warp floats or weft
floats beside each other. The
pattern is shifted either up or
down by one thread, but in
Bronson lace you can. This is
something to consider when
planning a lace weave.
Canvas weave is a two-block structure which
alternates blocks in both the threading and the
treadling. It is similar to Basket Weave in that
pairs of threads alternate in a basket weave
design. The difference between these two weave
structures is that plain weave separates the
blocks in Canvas weave, making it a more stable
cloth. One common commercial fabric which uses
canvas weave for it’s structure is Aida cloth.
In Canvas weave, blocks are threaded 1,2,2,1 &
4,3,3,4. If you threaded the same block beside
itself, you would have basket weave. This is why
opposing blocks must alternate in the threading and treadling.One thing I would add to this
is that it is a good idea to add floating selvedge
threads to the threading. When treadling, the
center thread of each block is repeated, and will
unweave unless caught by the edge threads.
Areas of plain weave can be threaded along
side of canvas weave blocks, but when treadling canvas weave lace, true plain weave
isn’t possible. Instead, horizontal lines two
threads thick will be formed. Alternatively,
when treadling plain weave, any areas
which are threaded for canvas weave will
produce vertical lines two threads thick.
This feature of canvas weave mixed with
plain weave, can be used as a design element.
I used eight shafts in this threading to get
alternating blocks as my design. These
blocks can be woven beside each other
for an all over lace effect, as shown in the
threading here at the left.
Handwoven Laces by Donna Muller
Interweave Press
Loveland, Colorado
The Best of Weaver’s Huck Lace
Edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt
Published by Alexis Yiorgos Xenakis