A tabby, a basket and a balanced plain weave

If you were picturing a cat in a basket on a rug then I apologise, but I do try to limit myself to talking about weaving…  🙂

Which brings us to the interesting fact that tabby, basket and plain weave are actually all the same thing. They all have over, under repeating structures.

Tabby is another name for plain weave, and it goes like this:

drawing of plain weaveAnd basket weave is a simple variation of tabby/plain weave, where a pair of weft threads is passed under and over a pair warp threads so you get a pattern a lot like in a woven basket:

drawing of basket weaveBoth these diagrams show what’s called a balanced plain weave.

The word “balanced” indicates that the warp and weft threads are equally spaced, but they don’t have to be. The spacing of the weft relative to the spacing of the warp, is controlled by how you beat the weft (push it into place – not as violent as it sounds!).

For example, if you have a lot of space between your warp threads, and beat the weft threads so there’s very little space between them, then you get a different kind of cloth than if you beat just enough to get a balanced weave. Same applies if you have your warp threads close together, but beat the weft lightly.

Playing with this to see how much it changes the way the cloth behaves is one project on my to-do list!