Ask Madelyn: How to Telescope Weaving Drafts

Madelyn explains how to telescope weaving drafts so you can turn 8-shaft (or more) into drafts for a 4-shaft loom. 

Madelyn van der Hoogt Sep 8, 2017 - 3 min read

Ask Madelyn: How to Telescope Weaving Drafts Primary Image

Photo Credit: George Boe

Hi Madelyn! I consider my weaving level somewhere around advanced-beginner to intermediate. I have weaving software and I am comfortable tweaking drafts to reduce floats, create new designs, and so on. Recently, I learned about a technique called “telescoping,” where you can take an 8-shaft draft and modify it into a 4-shaft one but I haven’t been able to find too much information on how to actually telescope a draft. So my question is twofold: How would one telescope a draft, say a simple 8-shaft twill into a 4-shaft pattern and how does telescoping affect the design? Thanks! Penny

Hi Penny!

Some weaving software programs will do telescoping, but it’s kind of fun to do it yourself. Think of it as like one of those telescoping cups. Any 8-shaft twill threading can be telescoped to four shafts simply by rewriting whatever is on shafts 5-8 on shafts 1-4. I picked the Swedish Snowflake draft from the March/April 2001 Handwoven, page 25, because it is one of my favorite twills. I’m not sure it makes a successful telescoped draft, but it shows the process and also the differences between twills on four shafts and twills on eight.


The treadling is telescoped the same way, but since this draft is woven tromp as writ, so is the 4-shaft version (you use the threading order as the treadling order). You then have to pick a 4-shaft twill tie-up--either 2/2 twill or 1/3 twill (3/1 is the third option but will be the same as the back of a 1/3 twill cloth). The advantage to an 8-shaft twill is that float length can vary, especially important with this particular draft, which gives the design dimension that isn’t possible on four shafts.

From left to right: 8-shaft snowflake twill, 3-3-1-1- tie-up; 4-shaft snowflake 2/2 tie up; 4-shaft snowrflake 3-1 twill tie-up.

From left to right: 8-shaft snowflake twill, 3-3-1-1- tie-up; 4-shaft snowflake 2/2 tie up; 4-shaft snowflake 3-1 twill tie-up.

Happy drafting, Madelyn

Posted December 16, 2015. Updated September 11, 2017. If you have a weaving question please email Madelyn! View related & recent "Ask Madelyn" posts!