Learn the Basics of Shadow Weave

I love refreshing my understanding of different weaving concepts so downloadable courses such as Introduction to Shadow Weave are perfect for me.

Susan E. Horton Nov 17, 2021 - 4 min read

Learn the Basics of Shadow Weave Primary Image

Jannie Taylor has an enthusiasm for shadow weave that bubbles up naturally. Photo courtesy of Bananabones

When I was given the chance to preview the new Introduction to Shadow Weave course with Jannie Taylor, I was eager and willing. I’ve heard some weavers can easily hold weave-structure specifics in their head, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them. We’ve noticed an uptick in shadow-weave proposals to Handwoven, and I wanted to know more about the cloth I was looking at. It’s not that I’ve never woven shadow weave, but I needed and wanted a refresher course.

Before I go further, I should probably explain, as Jannie does, that shadow weave isn’t actually a weave structure but a color-and-weave effect. The structure is mostly plain weave with 2-end floats that disrupt the over-under pattern every so often. What is wonderful about shadow weave is the vast number of design possibilities it delivers on a 4-shaft loom all in stable (almost) plain-weave cloth.

SW video-cover-Graves

Don’t skimp on doing the exercises. I found them worthwhile. The concepts you learn build on each other as you progress. Photo by Matt Graves

To make my learning experience complete, I used the downloadable workbook provided with the course and followed along with the exercises. I found Jannie’s explanation of shadow weave interesting in that there are some familiar weaving aspects such as opposites, twill lines, and twill tie-ups, but the end result isn’t so familiar, and even with those elements of twill, as I said in the previous paragraph, it isn’t twill at all.

SW rose and star

Shadow weave isn’t overshot, but look at these samples that have the feel of overshot without the floats. They were woven on the same warp, one “rose” fashion and the other “star” fashion. Photo by Matt Graves

Perhaps even more than learning about shadow weave, I loved Jannie’s enthusiasm and the twinkle in her eye when she talks about it. She may even have a weaver’s crush. Jannie found shadow weave early on in her weaving career, and her love of it has stayed with her. A teacher who cares about her subject is always better than one who is lukewarm.

If you are looking to progress in your weaving career or, like me, need to be reminded of the principles of shadow weave, I recommend you give this new course a try and do the exercises. At first I thought I could understand without practical application, but it turned out that just by filling in a threading draft or two, and saying the shaft numbers out loud, I grasped some concepts more firmly. Give it a whirl, I think you’ll agree.

With your All-Access Subscription you can watch this new course (plus more than 125 other videos), or visit our shop to learn more about the video download version.

Weave well,

P.S. Meet Jannie and hear about what she hopes you'll get from her course: