Weave Amazing Taqueté Like an Octopus

I need this sample section to practice being an octopus at the loom. I switched from kuvikas to taqueté. Now I am weaving with two double-bobbin shuttles and two treadles at a time. With no intervening tabby treadles to balance my foot placement.

Kuvikas first, then taqueté. Same threading, different tie-up.

From kuvikas to taqueté. Changing the tie-up allows the loom to weave more than one structure with the same threading.

This taqueté uses the same threading as the kuvikas that preceded it. You’ve heard it said, “One change changes everything.” Try changing the tie-up. Everything changes. Treadling sequence, weft arrangement, and picks per inch. I’m struggling like a beginner with this double treadling, double double-bobbin shuttling. But I’m not quitting, because look what it weaves! The cloth is amazing.

Two double-bobbin shuttles for taqueté.

With no tabby picks in between, the double-bobbin shuttles take turns with each other.

Taqueté, with double treadling and double double-bobbin shuttling.

Each pattern block uses two treadles, pressed simultaneously. The treadling sequence changes four times for each complete row of pattern. Each block (a third) of the square-within-a-square pattern has five complete pattern rows.

One life change, good or bad, can bring a struggle. We try to move forward like we did before, but now it’s not working. Too many things are shifting at once. One thing changed, and now we are searching for sound footing. God is present even in our struggles. The warp is the same, the threading hasn’t changed, and the Grand Weaver is still at his loom. God is a very present help in trouble. God is now and near. Right now, right here. And then we get a glimpse of the cloth he is weaving… It is amazing!

May you endure through struggles.

Your weaving octopus,


  • Betsy says:

    Is there a trick to pushing two treadles at once on a Glimakra? I thought one couldn’t do that, and I’ve never tried it on my Standard.

    That fabric is gorgeous!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, Yes, there is a trick! It is an unusual tie-up. It works because the tie-up is done with two freestanding groups, so they can be double treadled. And some of the shafts are not tied up. I’m using a draft from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, pp. 164-165, where this set up is explained. I am fascinated by this fabric, and the whole fact that this is even possible!

      Happy weaving,

  • Annette says:

    I appreciate your comments. In a world gone mad your voice is the calm in the middle of a storm – it reminds us who is in charge. God Bless.

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Kuvikas and Taqueté

Kuvikas and taqueté. There are always new things to try. I’m back to eight shafts. This Glimåkra loom is highly adaptable. It is no problem to set up the loom for a new project. You may have guessed that I like to switch it up. Four shafts or eight shafts, two treadles or ten. And, change the tie-up, too. I don’t mind. With this project, I am going to change the treadle tie-up again at the midway point, switching from kuvikas to taqueté.

Threading eight shafts on my Glimakra Standard loom.

Threading eight shafts. Four pairs of shaft bars have been added to switch from a four-shaft project to an eight-shaft project. Four additional upper lamms and lower lamms have also been added to the loom.

If you know and practice the basics, it’s not frightening to try new weave structures. Every new experience builds on what I’ve learned before. I can trust the system of weaving that I’ve been taught, and that I practice with every project. It makes sense.

Aquamarine cotton. Threading my Glimakra Standard loom.

After the warp is beamed, the warp ends are tied with an overhand knot into groups, according to the threading pattern. In this case, 48 ends are in each group. Counting the ends into groups helps eliminate, or at least reduce, threading errors.

Threading eight shafts for kuvikas and taqueté.

Complex, but not complicated. Warp ends are inserted into specific heddles to set up the loom for a particular type of cloth. Very systematic.

Don’t be afraid. The Lord not only teaches us his ways–his system, but offers us his strength while we learn. I can trust him for that. Trust replaces fear. I don’t have to find my own way, or guess. The system works. It makes sense. I learn to weave, and live, one step at a time, with freedom to enjoy the process.

May you rise above your fears.

All the best,


  • Shirley says:

    Hi Karen, I just love the colour. Can`t wait to see what it becomes. Have fun with it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shirley, I had this color left from another project where I used it for narrow stripes. I wasn’t sure how I would like it all by itself. So far, I’m loving it. I can hardly wait to cross it with weft!


  • Hi Karen,
    My Glimakra has four shafts right now. I wonder how hard it would be to buy the wood pieces the right thickness and cut them to the right sizes to add four more. I have a drill press for making the holes. I just warped mine with linen for a transparency. It’s the first time I’ve done it on this loom with the trapeze. I did 10″ bouts (3) of linen, but discovered that was a bit wide for linen. With linen, I think I’ll make my bouts 4-5″ max. next time, and then the tension will be better. Just wondering if you have experienced that with linen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, I’m going to send you an email to tell you specifics on how my husband made additional shafts for my Glimakra Ideal loom.

      I had that exact issue with my linen bouts when I warped for the transparency. It ended up not affecting the warp tension overall – at least, I never noticed a problem while weaving. But I thought about doing smaller bouts next time. My usual rule of thumb is to stay around or under 200 threads or 10″.

      Happy weaving,

  • JANET PELL says:

    Dear Karen, Thank you for your blogs, I am so in awe of your bravery for ‘going forth’, I love the color of your warp and cannot wait to see your project. How I wish I had your knowledge and experience. But your encouragement to everyone is a blessing for me. Maybe one day I will face the elements, be brave, and change from tabby to something as exciting as your projects.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, You are so sweet! Everything is a step at a time. You will be ready for a brave step in weaving before you know it. Practice and enjoy what you know! There’s nothing wrong with tabby. It’s the basis for everything else at the loom.

      Happy Weaving,

  • Cornelia says:

    Hi Karen,

    I would like to increase the size of the things i’m making. Therefor the question if it is possible to add 4 more additional shafts to my Glimakra counterbalance loom on which I currently have 4 shafts. Could it also be possible that you send the specifics on how to make additional shafts? I would really appreciate that!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cornelia, Probably the best way to add shafts is to get them from a Glimakra dealer. Besides shafts, you will also need additional lamms, and possibly more treadles. My husband has made all these things for my smaller loom, but it was a very ambitious project, and his advice for others is to purchase the parts from a dealer, if possible.

      All the best,

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This Time in Color

Thick and thin in color. The appeal for me is that something so simple can look so complex. How can plain weave do this? By having thick and thin threads that alternate in a certain way. Add color, and the options multiply!

Thick and thin on the loom, using double bobbin shuttle.

Double bobbin shuttle carries the thick weft. 30/2 cotton for the thin weft adds texture and complexity to the plain weave.

For the thin thread, I use 30/2 cotton. This very thin thread has a big impact on the fabric design. Strategically placed in the warp, it helps define the two blocks. Repeating the thin thread in a weft sequence is what produces a block change while weaving. The thin threads are integral to the design, yet they will barely be noticed after the fabric is wet-finished.

It is fascinating how much impact little things have. Character is revealed in the very little things. It’s the special touch you add, the extra time you give, the kind thoughts you think. It’s how you are at home, doing ordinary things for your family. It’s who you are, what you are thinking, and what you are doing. …when no one is noticing. These are the little things that tell who we are at the core. Faithful in little; faithful in much.

May all your little threads fall into place.

With you,


  • Kris says:

    Your piece is beautiful! Thank you for your commitment to this blog and it’s readers. We learn so much from you on so many levels. God bless you!

  • Suzie C. says:

    I LOVE these colors–beautiful, as usual!

  • Debbie Moyes says:

    30/2 – that’s tiny! What size is the fatter fiber? The colors are spectacular!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie, Yes, 30/2 is very fine! You don’t have to go that tiny, this works with 16/2 as well. I like the look of it with 30/2. The thick thread is doubled 8/2 cotton. 22/2 cottolin, doubled, works just as well.

      I’m glad you enjoy these colors!


  • Peg Cherre says:

    Gorgeous! Did you just thread the warp 1thick, 1thin, in a straight draw? Are you willing to share your draft? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Peg, Thanks for the compliment!

      It is threaded as a straight draw, but the second block is formed by reversing the thick/thin order. I’m going to keep my draft under wraps for now, but The Best of Weaver’s Thick’n Thin, edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt, is a great resource as a starting point. The book has a draft for weaving towels similar to this on just two shafts!

      Happy Weaving,

  • Linda Landry says:

    I love the blue green combination! Someone once told me that blue and green are God’s colours. I can’t confirm this with Him personally, but I can see the grass, the trees and all the greenery, then there’s the immense sky and all the lakes, rivers and oceans, so there’s at least a possibility that there could be some truth in that saying!

  • Beachweaver says:


    Your towels are amazingly beautiful. Even more incredible that the black and white ones you made not long ago. I have two questions I’m hoping you can answer:

    1. Is there a reason you use 8/2 cotton doubled rather than 8/4 cotton, which would eliminate the need for a double bobbin shuttle, etc.?
    2. Your color choices are amazing! Do you use only one thin color in the warp and weft or are you varying the color of the thin yarn to match the thick? I can’t quite tell from the photo.

    Love your thoughtful and well written blog. I’m just a hobby weaver (just weave things for myself and as gifts) but your website is so inspirational.

    BTW, have you ever thought about using your same thick and thin technique to weave a soft cotton baby blanket?

    Thanks again for sharing your expertise!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beachweaver,
      Great questions!
      1. The Swedish yarns that I use come in 8/2 and not in 8/4. I don’t know for a fact because I haven’t tried to compare it, but I believe that 2 threads side-by-side will produce a more supple cloth. Without a double bobbin shuttle, you can throw the shuttle across and back, catching the selvedge thread at the turn. I did this the first time I wove thick and thin a few years ago. I definitely prefer the double bobbin shuttle – for time’s sake, and for avoiding excessive wear on selvedge threads. Some weavers would use a floating selvedge to do this. I’m not one of them. I have heard that you can put two short bobbins in a large shuttle, with a bead in between, to use as a double bobbin shuttle, but I haven’t tried that.
      2. I have only one color of the thin yarn (green) that I use in both warp and weft. I purposely chose a dark color that would blend with the other colors. I was hoping that a dark color would help to outline the blocks, which I think it did. The thin thread is 30/2 cotton. The only place I could find it in colors is Vavstuga.com, with their Borgs cotton.

      Have I thought of thick and thin for a baby blanket? Have I ever! My daughter is expecting her first baby this summer, so, yes, I have thinking about how sweet this would be for a baby blanket. I have a colorful sample piece from the end of the warp that I’m going to use to make something for the baby.

      Thanks for stepping in to ask questions. Let me know if you have any more!

      • Beachweaver says:


        Thanks for the prompt and really interesting responses. I’m going to think about this question of 8/2 x 2 versus 8/4. Clearly the two 8/2 threads can lie next to each other which would be different from 8/4. I may have to so some sampling one of these days.

        I can’t wait to see what you come up with in the baby blanket department. Go Grandma!

        Thanks again!!

  • Laurice says:

    I recently started following your blog and love your thick and thin towels. I am a RH weaver and have woven a few towels but needed some inspiration on my next set. Your zebra towels hit the mark for me. On my RH I think I will interpret them as log cabin threading with 2-10 dent heddles using 8/2 unmercerized cotton for both warp and weft. My question to you is if you think I should also double every other thread for the thick and thin effect. Any other suggestions for adapting to the towels to a RH? The only other thin yarn I own is a 10/2 perle cotton.

    • Karen says:

      Laurice, This is a perfect project for the rigid heddle loom because it can be woven on two shafts.
      You will get the most out of this weave if you have a good contrast between thick and thin threads. Yes, you could double every other thread for the thick/thin effect. If you have enough 10/2 perle cotton, I would use that for the thin threads, and I would double the 8/2 cotton for the thick. I think you will get stunning results with that combination.

      The thick/thin pattern variations are produced by reversing the order of thick and thin. Where thick or thin are placed consecutively, the pattern reverses. i.e., thick-thin-thick-thin-thick-thin//thin-thick-thin-thick-thin-thick//thick-thin-thick-thin-thick-thin, etc. This is true for the warp threading and for the weft order in weaving.

      Please keep me posted. I would love to hear how this works out for you on the rigid heddle loom! Sounds like fun!

      Happy Weaving,

      • Laurice says:

        My challenge is on thanks to your encouragement. One thing I’d also like to verify is that in your zebra towels your thin yarn was only in white. In trying to look at your threading it appears that in the black stripe the doubled yarn was in black and the white was the single. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

        • Karen says:

          Laurice, you are correct. In the zebra towels the thin thread is white, exclusively. The thick thread is doubled black or doubled white.

          I’m over here cheering you on. Go for it!


  • […] Do you remember the black and white towels? I love the fascinating results of weaving with thick and thin warp ends, and thick and thin weft threads. That’s why I submitted a project to Handwoven for their November/December 2016 Thick & Thin issue. I gave you only a brief glimpse of the thick and thin towels I wove on an Aquamarine, Teal, and Moss warp, from the palette given me for that issue. (See Tools Day: Loom Cart and This Time in Color.) […]

  • Michelle says:

    I just bought a used band loom with no shuttle. I love yours! Could you send me details?

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