In fact, according to Annemarie Seiler-Baldinger in her inestimable Textiles: A Classification of Techniques, the full name of this technique is (deep breath) staggered weft twining over a double transposed warp. In plain English, you are twining two separate warp layers alternately, at the same time as the warp threads pair alternately with the ones on each side in the same layer. (No, I’m not sure that’s clearer either!)

I first encountered the diagram from Seiler-Baldinger’s book (above) on a photocopied handout when I was on the two-year City Lit basketry course. I do like a challenge, so I had a go at making it, first as a flat piece and then in the round.

And then I forgot about it.

But the beauty of teaching is that student queries or interests often lead you to revisit techniques from the past. On the Creative Basketry Taster course at Morley College, I took these in as samples on the twining session, and one of the students wanted to have a go.

It was a while since I made them, so I made a couple more samples in paper yarn to revise the technique. This reminded me of the importance of ensuring that the two warp layers stay in the same relative positions: in the left-hand photo the green warp is on top, in the right-hand photo the purple layer is on top. Also, the warp threads should not cross (they can if you want, but you should be consistent).

I also made a sample in the round in jute, which was less crisp but still works well. You need an odd number of warp threads in each colour for it to work in the round.

I then went on to see how the pattern changed depending on the colour of the twining weavers. In the photo above, both twining weavers were the same colour – natural jute.

In the photo above, the two warp layers were blue and yellow. I also used two different colour weavers: one blue and one yellow.

In the top half of the sample, the colour of the top weaver was opposite to the colour of the warps – blue warp twined with yellow, yellow warp twined with blue. It gives a zigzag pattern, almost like twill. In the bottom half of the sample, the colour of the weaver matched the colour of the warp – blue twined with blue, yellow twined with yellow. The pattern is more like stars.

Of course the pattern is reversed on the other side. The photo below shows the patterns on the outside and inside together.

Do you ever revisit old techniques and discover something new?

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