Weaving patterns for twill towels for rigid heddle looms

I just decided to “upgrade” my RH loom to handle 2 heddles, since I’d like to be able to be able do more with it than plain weave. My first goal is to learn to do twill dish towels and I was wondering if anyone has a sequence or a draft that gives the sequence. Also, I’d love to know if you’ve done dish towels in twill; share you pictures and suggestions!

Yes, you can do twill on the RH loom. In fact, Liz Gipson is keeping her latest weave-along class, which is a twill pillow, open for free until April 30, because of current events. You might want to watch those videos even if you don’t have her book Handwoven Home, just to see some of what is involved. There are many things that can be done on a RH loom, not all of which are very convenient, but are worth trying. If you want to try two heddles, be sure to choose a pattern first, so that you will be working with the recommended sett for the yarn you will be using. It can get expensive to have multiple heddles in all the sizes.:wink:


I am just now watching this video by Kelly Cassanova and around 17-18 minutes in, she begins a discussion about using multiple heddles on the RH loom.

Ohhh - I was wondering if I should have a double heddle attachment. :slight_smile:

Hehe - I just fell down a rabbit hole of weaving YouTube videos. :fk:

Thank you, @Carlota ! I will watch those. I may or may not have already ordered a 2nd 10-dent when I ordered the 2nd heddle block from the Woolery, so I guess I should have waited! But I do want to be able to try some finer fabrics, and eventually will probably end up getting a 2nd heddle in my other 2 sizes. Here’s hoping the 10-dent one is the right size for towel weaving with double heddles!!!

I’ll definitely watch the Twill class for the pillow!

So easy to do!!!

@Char If you decide to try two heddles, the second heddle kit is available in the U.S. from multiple vendors, including MielkesFiberArts on Etsy.

I’m sure you will find it very useful. Even if you only set up for plain weave, threading two 10-dent rigid heddles effectively gives you a sett of 20, which should work for 8/2 cotton. I think Jane Stafford of Jane Stafford Online Guild likes a sett of 18 ends per inch for 8/2 cotton tea towels, as the more open sett allows for more drape. But when I did napkins in the Liz Gipson weave-along, she had us use a sett of 24 for 8/2 (so I bought a second 12-dent heddle) and it worked well but was quite firm - I think there is a range of possibilities that are workable, and you are probably well within that range with what you ordered.

@Carlota - I am actually considering a second (bigger) Ashford to make baby blankets :-). The new ashfords come with the double heddle attachment. :slight_smile:

@Char - Oh, that’s cool. Baby blankets are a big agenda item for me too (partly why I recently jumped for a used 4-shaft floor loom). Two wide heddles might be kind of heavy - just something to consider. Maybe you could find some books the same weight and see how that would feel to lift with your arms extended forward. I can report that my two Schacht 20-inch heddles held together were kind of a shoulder workout but still doable and fun. Maybe you would be putting them up and down separately - not sure how that works on the Ashford. I was able to rubber band my two heddles to each other and move them up and down as a unit - therefore the doubled weight. I’m thinking Kelly Cassanova’s classes would probably cover that as I’ve seen her use an Ashford RH loom in her free videos. I am impressed with the stability of the Ashford stand and the fact that the heddles appear to snap neatly up and down in their notches.

@Carlota I actually thought I would put them on the smaller loom to start with. Whether it makes it to the larger loom, who knows. Lol

I have been very pleased with the ashford. In addition to the heddles easing into their spots, I like the warping process - no strings and dowel rods - it is all part of it. :slight_smile:

@Char - Well that makes sense - good idea. Glad you are liking the Ashford. Each manufacturer offers features I think are terrific.

Thanks–that’s good to know! I’ll give it a go when they come!

So now my head is spinning. I’ve been watching Kelly Clarkson’s pillow twill weaving class and some YouTube videos and I’m wondering if using two 10-dent heddles will make the dishtowel too stiff! Maybe I’ll have to experiment and if they are too stiff, they can be placemats! I just hate to shell out another 50 bucks right now for the 8-dent heddle (LeClerc charges higher for that one than the 10-dent or 6-dent.) But I know I’ll probably end up getting the 6 and 10 dent ones eventually since I’d like to do double-wide weaving as well for baby blankets and such.

I also wonder if I could use an 8-dent reed with a 10-dent reed for double-heddle weaving? I’ve seen posts that say you can use different spacing when you don’t have the exact reed the pattern calls for, so would it be possible to use 2 different sizes? I’m thinking I would use the correct size for the back heddle when threading it first, then adjust the front heddle to adapt to that reed size using a reed adaptation chart. It would be a bit hairy and it would be easy goof up, but I wonder if it would be do-able. Has anyone tried this?

I’m a novice weaver but I think it depends on the yarn you choose - if it is 8/2 cotton, the recommended sett for twill is 24 ends per inch, and if you use two 10-dent heddles, your sett is 20, which would be slightly more open, therefore not stiff, but drapey, and some people really prefer their towels that way. I hope someone more experienced here will “sett” me straight, ha ha, if I’m full of prunes. (Also, in the Liz Gipson twill pillow class that I saw, the yarn was much thicker than one would use for towels and therefore fewer dents per inch were used. Just taking a stab at it I think you are okay.)

Thanks, @Carlota , that’s goid to hear. I did notice she was using the worsted weight yarn and thus the 6-dent reed. So I’m going to use her twill pattern and use it on my 10-dent reeds with 8/2 cotton see what I come up! My goal was to learn to weave dishtowels with a twill design, so I’ll give it a try!

You asked if anyone has tried this, and since I have not, I can only report my gut reaction–which is that threading would be very confusing. In theory, though, if you skipped one hole and one dent for every inch of warp width in the 10-dent reed, you would equalize to the 8-dent. But threading two heddles requires steady vision and concentration, and I’m not sure how I would keep any sort of visual placeholding going if the two heddles were not synchronized. With two heddles of the same size, I use a stiff post card doubled stuck through both heddles to keep them lined up but still with enough space between to do the threading, and the differences is spacing of the 10 and the 8 might make it hard to see exactly what thread goes where. Still, I believe it to be possible. Tensioning might be a little wonky if threads have to pass through at different angles, and I’m not sure if you would get clean sheds or if certain threads would catch causing floats. This would be a really good question for Liz Gipson. Perhaps you could ask it in the Thinkific platform for the twill pillow class.

Thanks for that detailed answer! I am inclined to agree with you, especially after setting up even just 1 heddle to work with a pickup stick. I don’t see that it would work for that even, since they ask you do the down shed in order to set up the pickup stick pattern, and if there happens to be extra threads in the holes that normally would be in a slot, it would totally change the pattern, if that makes sense. I’m starting to think that would only work with plain weave. I might have throw that one out to Liz Gipson since I am in her platform for some weaving lessons, but something tells me it would be a pretty complicated situation!