top of page
  • Sara Nordling

Principles of Design: Repetition

Double weave with 4 blocks woven as small squares in a pattern.

Repetition is an element of line, shape, hue, value or texture that is used, repeated, several times in the design.

Repetition can occur in the weave structures themselves. They can also occur with line, shape, hue, value, or texture changes not related to the weave structure. You can repeat one element or motif multiple times or have two or three that repeat. The repeats need to be similar enough to be recognized as such but they need not be identical. You may, for example, repeat a set of three stripes with space in between, and each set repeated is in a different hue.

In repetition, one element can be repeated or several. Be careful not to repeat too many things or the effect of repetition is lost and the result is more chaos with no identifiable repetition.

Graphic rectangle with repeated rows of 3 stacked red squares, 8 times, interspersed with 3 blue lines.

Here red squares are repeated but so are blue lines. The change up adds interest.

Repetition is also an easy one for weavers. You learn it the first time you repeat a threading or a treadling. Treadle 1 & 2, 2 & 3, 3 & 4, 1 & 4, for example. That is definitely a form of repetition. Yet repetition can be used more subtly or with some minor variations to make a weaving that goes beyond the ordinary.

Graphic of lavender rectangle with 1 purple stripe.

This graphic might well make an interesting scarf but nothing here is repeated.

Even if the weave structure in the background might have a repeat, from

this distance it does not show up so it would not, for our purposes, be considered repetition.

Graphic of a rectangle with 9 shapes on one end and the same 9 repeated on the other.

This graphic could be a table runner with a overshot pattern on either end

a plain weave in the middle, leaving an open spot for a centerpiece.

When I first began making my own designs, I was happy and proud if I came up with a motif or project and was content to repeat it over and over again. That works, and is repetition. However, the more I design the more I ask myself if what I’m doing could be just a bit better, have a bit of something special, even a little thing that takes it beyond the ordinary to something unique. It is easy to fall into the just good enough area and repetition is one of those areas, especially for weavers. I am challenging you, as a designing weaver, not to settle but to keep looking at what you make to see if it’s the best you can do. To see if just a little change here or there would add to the specialness and the design.

Black jack of woven eyelash fabric, the background behind the eyelash rows is a sparkle yarn.

Here a repeated texture was used for an overall effect on this evening jacket.

Challenge: Create yardage for a garment using repetition and the elements of color(hue) and texture (remember texture does not have to mean fuzzy, furry, lumpy).

284 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page