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Winter 2021 Weave-Along: Doubleweave Colorwork Ruana

For the first time, we are building on our knowledge from the pervious weave-along to tackle a new one. We will cover the basics of doubleweave again, add in the colorwork portion, and scale up the project.

Don’t worry if you didn’t weave along during the Fall WAL on Tubular Doubleweave, although there is still time if you wish to do so. The Fall project is a much smaller project and a great one for those who are new to doubleweave. I’ll leave the registration for the Fall Weave-Along open until January 27.

This short ruana-style garment offers so many creative opportunities. We will explore a lot of the elements touched upon in Weaving 201: Colorwork, including laying out asymmetrical strips using the Fibonacci series, weaving stripes and checks in the same garment, using value contrast and tertiary shading when choosing colors, and embracing our mistakes.

In addition to these design principles, doubleweave offers additional colorwork opportunities. You can arrange one color on the top layer and a different color on the bottom layer. It is a great structure to use to create a wide garment by connecting one of the layers at the fold. This has an added bonus of creating a continuous plaid back that doesn’t have to be lined up as two separate pieces. The layers are separated on the loom to form the front. The long fringe in the front takes advantage of every inch of loom waste.

I’ll offer a single heddle version for folks who would rather weave two separate pieces and sew them together. We will discuss the pros and cons of each approach.

doubleweave colorwork from three different perspectives
Runa modeled from upper left clockwise: Magdelyn Rich, a weaving student at New Mexico Tech, and my sisters, Meg and Emily Gipson.


This weave-along is appropriate for the adventurous advanced beginner to intermediate weaver. I assume that you understand the basics of direct warping, general weaving terminology, have woven a few projects, and are up for a challenge. We are going to cover a lot of material in this weave-along and weave a fairly big project, but I don’t want this to scare you off. You don’t know what you can do until you try! Weave along, watch along, swatch along—the choice is yours.


We will weave a short ruana-style garment measuring 39″ x 18” across the back and two 18” flaps,  with 10″ fringe in the front and 1″ fringe in the back. I’ll also offer tips for weaving two plain weave panels using a single heddle including seaming options. The pattern is free for Patrons of the School and offered on a name-your-own-price basis for non-patrons. There is no charge for the weave-along itself. Pattern sales go to support the school and future weave-alongs. The pattern will be available during registration.


Rigid-heddle loom with at least a 22” weaving width and the ability to support (or creatively hack) 2-heddles, two 8-dent rigid heddles, 2-6 shuttles, 2 pick-up sticks at least 24″ long.

Single-heddle version only requires a single 8-dent rigid heddle and no pick-up stick.

While it is beyond the scope of the weave-along to offer project modification and all yarn substitutions and all variations, there is ample time during registration to ask these questions and I’ve included some details within these specs that can help you think about adaptations. (Patrons, you know where to find me!)

Some thoughts on sett and weaving width:

This project could be adapted to a narrower width by eliminating some of the stripes.

If you are going to weave doubleweave you need two heddles of the same size. You want to look for a yarn that has a balanced to slightly open sett of a single heddle. For instance, in this weave-along, we are using two 8-dent rigid heddles, so I’ve selected a DK weight yarn that setts slightly open in a sett of 8. For more information about determining sett, check out this blog post or see pages 11-13 of A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn.


As we know, yarns come and go. The yarn I used here, Louet Gems, is no longer available. The original yarn was 100% Merino wool put up at 175 yd per 100g skein or about 800 yd/lb.

Generically speaking, any smooth, well-plied, light worsted to DK weight yarn measuring between 800-1,200 yds/lb could work. This is a very dense warp, so you don’t want a yarn that is fuzzy or tender. I used five different colors.

I created a similar palette, using Brown Sheep Prairie Spun DK that I’ll use for demonstration. Here are those specs: 256 yd/100g ball; 100% U.S. wool, DK weight; 1,170 yd/lb, in Seal Brown (PSDK115), Sandstone (PSDK110), Parchment (PSDK150), Red Barn (PSDK50), and Coral Rose (PSDK45). This yarn is widely available from local yarns shops and directly from the mill. Brown Sheep is a treasure in the yarn landscape and I weave with their yarns a lot!

Total Yardage Required for Pattern: 482 yd brown, 239 yd tan, 179yd cream, 182 yd red, 97 yd orange.

Brown Sheep Prairie Spun Yarn Bundle

The back of the garment is woven in an asymmetrical plaid using all the colors and the front it woven using a single color. You will need one skein of each color and an additional skein of the stripe weft color. The Brown Seal is the closest to the original garment, but I went ahead and swatched all the colors in case one of them speaks to you more. Brown Sheep was awesome enough to offer each as an option. Patrons check out this post for a free shipping code for orders placed in the U.S.

Yarnworker’s 2021 Weave-Along Bundle

This yarn creates a lighter weight garment than the original. Although the color palette isn’t available in this yarn line, you could create a heavier weight garment from Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, which we have used in doubleweave many times in previous weave-alongs. (The put up has slightly less yardage so pay attention to that when purchasing.) The Cotton Fine works well in a sett of 10. Keep in mind, if you adjust the sett, you will need to adjust the yardage requirements. Generally speaking, you will use 20% more for a sett of 10, and 35% more for a sett of 12. As you increase the sett, you also decrease the width by approximately the same percentages.

Color Tips

Here is a bit of background about how I chose my colors if you are interested in creating your own palette: I started with a gradient of neutrals, in this case, brown, tan, and cream, where the brown and cream had high value contrast from one another and the tan had a medium value contrast to the cream and brown. For a pop of color, I chose a deep red and its secondary, orange, with a medium value contrast to the brown and cream and similar to the tan. Pro tip! Avoid using too many primaries in the same color scheme as it can lead to “mud”. In this case, I used just one.

For more information, about value contrast check out this blog post. I took a shot of the Prairie Spun catalog page and stripped the saturation to give you an idea of the value differences in this yarn line.

Note that the Seal Brown in the Prairie Spun is almost black. The front stripes will be darker than the original, which gives the fabric a twill like look from certain angles.


Registration gets underway January 27, 2021. Hop on the Yarnworker mailing list to be emailed the link directly when it is ready. Patrons will always get notifications first.


January 27: Registration and pattern link available, welcome information, tips on selecting yarns and modifying the pattern.

February 10: Warp

February 17: Weave

February 24: Finish

March 3: Share!


I host the weave-alongs at the Yarnworker School of Weaving, a community-funded, virtual classroom for rigid-heddle weavers. There is not charge for the weave-alongs, and the pattern is offered on a name-your-price offering. For more information about the Yarnworker Weave-Alongs and School, check out this FAQ.

A big shout out to all the Patrons who keep these weave-alongs going. Patron producers get a vote in what we weave next.

Heddles Up!


Liz Gipson Widgets
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