Understanding profile drafts

Hi everyone,

I'm having difficulty understanding how to "translate" the tie-up portion of a profile draft.  I understand how to handle the threading, and the treadling, but I can't figure out how to translate the tie-up, especially in Fiberworks PCW.  I think that is at least partly because I can't find any examples.

Is it possible for someone to post two drafts to Weavolution, one a profile draft and the other an interpretation of that profile draft in a specific weave structure, so I can get an idea for how it works?



Posted on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 07:58

Hi Tien,

One way to think about it is to discover what happens when you tie the pattern treadle up - do you get pattern?  Or do you get background?  Once you know which you get you will know whether or not you want to tie the treadle or leave it untied.  Does this help?



Posted on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 15:14

 Kerstin, thank you for the article.  I love some of the tips you gave on reading Swedish drafts (color of draft tells you whether it is a profile or a detail) and the illustrations.

Your explanation is clear and your writing easy to understand!  regards Deb

Posted on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 17:05

Ulla Getzmann's "Weave Structures the Swedish Way" is a developmental book on drafting that starts with very simple drafts and works systematically into a chapter entitles "Profile Draft and Thread-by-Thread Drawdown".

This title should be available through most weaving suppliers. 

Posted on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 18:42

As Kerstin's wonderful article illustrates, the same profile draft can be woven in several different weaving structures so your tie-up will vary accordingly.  The profile draft is just a series of blocks where each block is a representation of a threading or treadling sequence and in itself doesn't have a tie-up.


Posted on Mon, 12/28/2009 - 13:30

Thanks Kerstin!  Your article helped a lot, and I think I'm starting to understand.  What I was trying to understand is what happens if you introduce three or more structures (instead of just having "pattern" and "background", having "Pattern A, Pattern B, and Pattern C") and what the profile tie-up had to do with that.  I'm still not entirely sure I understand it (at least not well enough to communicate it), but I think I'm getting a better grasp on it.  At least, my experiments are producing more predictable results, and that's a start.

Sara, I'll try to track down that book as soon as I get home.



Posted on Mon, 12/28/2009 - 14:17

... and now, I have posted a translation of part 2  - it is found here. Part 2 is about combining different structures.
The block substitution article also has some reasoning about how to translate crackle profiles into crackle "details", including the tie-ups. I compare a couple of Swe books with an Am book and two software programs.

- I can't get the navigation to work as I wish. However, if you click "articles", then click "articles" again, the sub-menu opens, and stays open as long as you are browsing the articles... eliminating the need to go back and forth to see the rest of them.


Posted on Tue, 12/29/2009 - 14:21

Thank you Kerstin!  This is really helpful.

I have another question, now: is a profile draft interpretation limited to two patterns, pattern and background?  I have created and uploaded a profile draft and an interpretation that contains three patterns:

http://www.weavolution.com/node/7184 (profile draft)

http://www.weavolution.com/node/7185 (interpretation in three patterns)

Can this still be called an interpretation of that profile draft?  I'm just curious about the terminology.

I think what was causing most of my confusion was precisely the question of what happens if there are more than two patterns in a profile draft - I sort of wanted to "color code" the "tie-up" part of the profile draft (I know it's not really a tie-up but I don't know what else to call it) to show which pattern showed where, instead of just having binary black/white.  Is there another way to handle this?


Posted on Tue, 12/29/2009 - 18:32

Well - *I* would certainly call that an interpretation of a profile draft. However, don't ask me about correct terminology in English...(And yes, I would call it the "profile tie-up" with a dierct translation from Swedish, too)

The software I'm using most often is PCW, and there is no possibility (that I know of) to use colour in the tie-up area - but if/when I want to explain "better" I take the whole thing over to Paint, and do just that.
On a guild outing, we saw a cushion with a "different" pattern - here is how we did the ananlysis for that cushion. Text is in Swedish - but the interesting part for you is the first schematic (sp?): black means plain weave, red and blue mark the float structure. I think it is, in principle, called M's and O's in your parlance. We (Swedes) "always" weave that on only 2 blocks, so this was a little different - and there were areas with only plain weave.

The problem with colour-coding with the help of Paint is, of course, that it then has ceased to be a .wif ot other weaving file type...

Posted on Tue, 12/29/2009 - 20:00

There's no reason a profile draft can't work with as many different structural options as you like.  Huck and Swedish lace weavers often use a profile drawdown that shows float direction (three options - pw, warp floats, weft floats).  You can make ersatz versions with weaving software.  Another place the idea is commonly used is with halftones in 8+ shaft overshot, 1/3 and 2/3 tones in Park weave, double two-tie options, and then combining completely different structures.  The problem is more in the representation in the software than in the idea.  I've used Illustrator or Photoshop and similar programs when I needed something more, or even colored pencils and graph paper for something simpler. It can be easy or hard to get it back into a weaving program depending on what you have done with it.  You can do the color coding freely in the drawdown of Patternland software as I recall, then substitute in interlacements as desired there or in a different program. There's a free or shareware program for drawlooms that might have some useful features (Pike's Peak guild?).  In Fiberworks I have built the profile in a normal (black and white) way, and then substituted in the different structures in the tie-up according to a secondary plan.  Eventually you get to the point where you may want to unblock it and go into serious shaft envy.  Sounds like you are having fun!

Laurie Autio

Posted on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 00:40

Hi Laurie and Kerstin,

I'm using Fiberworks PCW as well, and am not too disturbed about the "tie-up" being black or white - I think I can fiddle around with colors and make that work out somehow, even if I have to grid it out outside of PCW.  I would be interested in what you're doing with Photoshop - are you using a "Fill with Pattern" technique and multiple layers/colors to produce the desired simulation?  I do have Alice and Bhakti's book so I am familiar with that method, but would love to hear more about how you do your simulations.

Laurie, I'm signed up for your blocks workshop in January and really looking forward to it!

Oh yes - I have 24 shafts on my loom.  It's never enough (LOL!) but I can do quite a bit of interesting work with blocks - been fiddling around with it for a few days now, in between visiting relatives!


Posted on Thu, 01/14/2010 - 16:58

After I read everyone's comments I was inspired to go back and fiddle around some more with my PCW.  I learned about using profile drafts and blocks many years ago before we had weaving software and had to figure things out with pencil & paper.  Going back to Tien's original question about "translating" the tie-up - one way I learned how to do this with PCW is to design the profile draft in the threading and treadling areas using the freehand tool and then going to tools/block substitution, choose a weave you like and it automatically generates a complete drawdown.  I also read somewhere that you can do a profile in the threading area while in the liftplan mode then draw in the liftplan area just clicking where you want things to be and then use block substitution to change the profile into the weave structure of your choice.  You do need some knowledge about weave structures so that, for example, if you want overshot you have to click on the option that incorporates plain weave into it.  This stuff is still newish to me and really amazing.


Posted on Thu, 01/14/2010 - 17:07

Better than just clicking on program options is doing a few simple profile drafts with pencil and paper to understand what is going on - at least at the beginning.

A profile draft is nothing more than a "sketch" of pattern geometry - in shorthand, if you will, showing how the pattern is built, but saying nothing about the individual threads or their structuring.

ANY draft is built on three segments - all three being needed every time - 1. threading, 2. tieup, 3. treadling.

Using just 2 "shafts", and 2 "treadles" it is easy to construct a pleasing geometry. Alternate between 1 and 2 for a while. Fill in the tieup square with one black square for each row. Create a pleasing geometry by filling in the "treadling" or use "tromp as writ" to square it up. Now you have a geometric figure created.

To make a weaving draft of this figure, first determine how many "blocks" are needed - in this case only 2.  This would translate well to a simple Monk's Belt.  Now you need to determine which of the myriad weaving structures out there will make your geometry attractive. Build a "block" - for instance a Monk's Belt block1. Then create the opposite "Block 2".

Now fill in your drawdown on 4 shafts/6 trreadles using the 2 block threadings based on a Monk's Belt structure. Substitute Block 1 for all squares on "shaft" 1 of your profiloe draft, Block 2 for all squares on "shaft" 2 of your profile draft. Substitute the proper tieup squares and treadling sequence and you are ready to weave.

This process can be developed to include many more blocks, but is in principle always the same. The profile shows your geometry - the translation shows the thread by thread diagram that you weave from. It is quite possible to design home textiles where the same, or similar, geometry is used with huck for towels and napkins, rep for rugs and placemats, turned twill for drapes, etc.


Posted on Sun, 08/06/2017 - 17:55

Greetings,  How do you interpret the tie ups in a Swedish draft?  Are the black squares where the shed rises or is it the black squares?  It's very confusing.

Posted on Sun, 08/06/2017 - 19:46

I recently presented a lesson on huck and generating a huck draft and tie up from a profile draft.  Tien, I am sure once you review the recommended materials you will be a pro!  The tie up can usually be derived from a portion of the full draft, the huck lace has a fun way of "adding, removing tie ups"  which as Sara recommends, doing it old school is sometimes what makes the penny drop.  The profile draft is merely a pattern abbreviation and requires inputting the threading/treadling/tie up components for the desired structure.


Posted on Sun, 08/06/2017 - 20:56

It's not just Swedish drafts, but drafts from many sources use a mark, whether an X or a black square as the shaft going down, and the weft on top of it when  you make a drawdown. 

In Mary Black's book, Key to Weaving, she was one of the first weavers to change the traditional draft.  She included both the traditional treadle tie-up draft and another with Os to represent rising shafts. Perhaps she was adding this for weavers who were weaving with table looms.  Other books continued to use the traditional drafts.

Then Handwoven magazine decided that they would just use Os.  Now they use numbers and that represents rising shafts.  There are so many looms now that have more than 16 shafts, so the numbers are necessary.  And those looms are mostly computer operated jack looms.

Today, you need to read the introduction to a book to find out how the draft is written.