Monday, December 19, 2011

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Towels

Did you check out the halvdrall runner in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Handwoven?  I've been eyeing the structure for several years after I received a sample in a Complex Weavers exchange several years ago. After I read the article in Handwoven, I decided to try it out, but with a twist or two.  I have lots of little balls of yarn left over from bobbins (I save everything) and cones of yarn with just a bit on them.  I collected oranges, browns, pinks and a few lavenders for warp yarns and set to work to wind a multi - multi color warp.  It took a bit of planning because the halvdrall threading blocks vary between 9 and 10 threads, so I did a whole thread by thread drawdown and expanded the four shaft draft to eight so that I wouldn't have to reload heddles on the first four shafts of my Baby Wolf.
Once I had gotten the warp on the loom and started weaving, I decided that some of my variegated yarns would be terrific thicker wefts - with so many colors in the warp it made them busier and better (IMHO).  I also pulled out my box of little balls of cotton yarn and started using them up, ball by ball.  The weave structure uses a tabby weft in a finer grist followed by a pattern weft with heavier yarns and I found I could use most medium value colors because there were so many colors already present in the warp.

One thing  I found after I had threaded my loom was that I needed a straight draw threading at the beginning and the end of the warp so that the pattern wefts looked good at the selvedges and also so that I could do plain weave hems.

While throwing everything into these towels possible, I ran across a very good cookie recipe with the same name - not halvdrall, but Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies from Cookiepedia.  Try them, I think you will find they are as tasty as the towels are colorful.

Here is a P.S. to the post.  A weaving friend asked Madelyn van der Hoogt what the meaning of halvdrall was.  Here is her answer

I'm going to tell you this off the top of my head, but I’m pretty sure it captures the gist. Shaft movement in Swedish counterbalance looms is operated by pulleys called drall pulleys (should be two dots on that a). In some weaves, such as damask and turned twill, all of the shafts in the pulleys operate against each other (I’m not saying this right. Maybe it’s better to say that each block has its own separate shafts, so when you change from one block to the next, you change the operation of both groups of shafts on the pulleys). These are drall weaves. In halb drall weaves, the pattern shafts for each block are different, but the tie-down shafts are the same for both blocks. This affects the way the pulley system works; only “half” change their operation from block to block, hence halb drall.

So, turned twill is a drall weave. Summer and winter is a halb drall weave.


  1. Wonderful colours! So much happening and it all works together. I hadn't particularly noticed the runner in the magazine, but your extra twists have really woken it up.

  2. Hi. I have 'dräll' pulleys for my 4 shaft counterbalance loom, set aside for future 5+ shaft weaving, but there are 4 shaft/4 pedal Halvdräll weave patterns which do not require the use of 'dräll' pulleys on a counterbalance loom; a set of conventional counterbalance pulleys and a set of heddle horses are sufficient.

    Having just completed your project, you might be interested, also, in a gorgeous 4 shaft/4 pedal Halvdräll pattern with project instructions for cushion covers and tablecloth, in "Happy Weaving from Vävmagasinet" (English edition. Editors Lillemor Johansson and Charlotta Bosson, 2004, pp.46-47). I haven't woven it yet, but it is on my rather long list of projects to weave.

    Thank-you for your interesting post, and kind regards.

  3. Verrry late to the party, but: dräll (the a with 2 dots over it) are used for (seldom) 6-shaft weaves, then 6 ->
    Dräll puleys do require an "opposite" tie-up, as each shaft is connected to its opposite:shaft 1 connects to shaft 8; 2 to 7; 3 to 6; 4 to 5.
    Halv- (half) dräll is (probably) "half" because other simplified drälls handle 4 blocks on 4 shafts (compare daldräll ("overshot") and jämtlandsdräll ("crackle"), while this threading idea can only handle 2 blocks on 4 shafts.