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  • Sara Nordling

Elements of Design: Line

Lines created with supplemental warp.

Lines created by supplementary warp, tacked down with an occasional weft thread.

Where do you find a line in weaving? Let’s start with the obvious; a thread is a line. Warp and weft are lines. Some are thick and some thin, some smooth and some fuzzy, some shiny and some dull.

A line has weight (thickness/darkness), length (short or long) and direction (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curvy).

Each thread line does not act independently but can be used in various ways to create yet more lines in weaving. I see these lines as falling into two general categories: lines created with color or value changes, and lines created by structure or texture changes. Then, of course, you can combine them as well to create even more lines.

Lines in warp and weft plus twill line.

Tartan created by warp and weft color stripes and a structural twill line.

A partial list of lines

Color stripes in warp or weft

Tartans (two-way stripes)

Fibonacci series stripes

Warp faced weaves such as rep weave

Straight twill lines

Network twills

Undulating twills


Point twills



Kente cloth

Some overshot designs

Monks belt

Using yarns of different types for your stripes

Shadow weave

Log Cabin

Are these obvious? Perhaps. It’s what you do with the line that matters. When we explore the principles of design you will see that using a line isn’t always easy or straightforward. When we begin the principles, I will be proposing some design challenges for you to play with if you choose to do so. For now, just think about line in weaving and all the various ways you have seen it used. Add to my list, it is not exhaustive. In doing so you will be making a collection of line options you can use in the future.

Stripes created with one color warp, one color weft and transitioning from warp-faced to weft-faced satin.

Lines created with one color warp and one color weft. Satin weave transitions from warp-faced to weft-faced creating the lines. The alternate is happening on the edge stripes.

Line created with weft color change and with twill line.

Lines created by a twill variation plus added weft stripes as accents on either end of the scarf.

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