100) Return of the Krokbragd

I haven't actually woven any more krokbragd since my earlier post, but I've been thinking about it a fair bit.  I wanted to explain how this weave actually works, and I've come up with a way of 'virtually' weaving krokbragd that allows me to play with the possible designs quickly, on my computer.  (*ahem* at work *ahem*).

Before I get started, I need to acknowledge Geodyne as the originator of all of this.  Whilst I was working on my Rampton Bag, she was working on her's.  In krokbragd.  Go see it!  And her krokbragd post, too.  When she mentioned it was a three-shaft weave, I knew I could play with it on the RH loom, and a minor obsession was born…

A Krokbragd Summary
I've actually found out relatively little about Krokbragd on the Internet, so here are the facts:

  • Krokbragd is a three-shaft, weft faced weave, and I believe it comes from Norway
  • The threading is a point twill (1-2-3-2), so repeats over 4 threads.
  • According to this website, it is always treadled in a simple sequence, so the order in which the sheds are lifted is 1&2 – 2&3 – 3&1.
  • Because of the way the weft packs down over the warp, it actually
    takes three weft shots before the eye sees a single, finished 'row' in
    the fabric.
  • The weft-faced nature of the fabric, plus the threading pattern, is incredibly well-suited for making patterns.

In krokbragd, three throws of the shuttle interact to produce a single 'row' of colour in the growing fabric.  Or, of course, one throw each of three different shuttles, which is where the fun begins.  Because three colours can be used in each row, and there are two different patterns that the colours can show up in, the design possibilities are immense.

A quick search for krokbragd on Google Images shows, straight away, how very different krokbragd fabrics can look.  It reminds me most of Fair Isle knitting, which uses only two colours per row, and yet can produce such a huge variety of design.  I'd love to include some of those images in my post, but of course – they aren't mine, so it would be rude.  The beauty!!  Please, go look!

The details
So.  I ended my previous krokbragd post with a picture which looked little-to-nothing like the weaving I'd shown at the start of the post:


This picture has different warp colours for each shaft (1-2-3-2), and always the same colour in the weft.  that's not how krokbragd works.  In krokbragd weaving, the warp is completely covered by the weft, and it's the weft that changes colour.  So, if we take the same image as above, then change it round so the warp is all black, and we are alternating colours in the weft:


Then look at the back of it, otherwise produced by raising two shafts and once instead of only one, so 'overs' become 'unders' and so on:


Then make the warp realllly skinny:


Now you can see how, if we beat harder, the weft will pack down on the warp, so that three successive weft picks smush into the gaps left by their predecessors.  Leaving:


Stripey!!  Notice how half the stripes are red.  The other half are split evenly between red and blue.  And you don't have to do anything very complicated to swap that pattern out for this one:


After a few repeats of yellow-blue-red, we throw in one lot of yellow-blue-blue, then switch to red-yellow-blue for a bit.  Then one lot of yellow-blue-blue, and back to the original.  See?

This next pattern shows up all over in krokbragd designs, can you see how it works?


What about this one?


Or this?


And you can get quite delicate with the designs, too:


Essentially, you have a design block four 'pixels' wide.  The colour sequence in the block will always be A-B-C-B, where any or all of the colours may be the same.  The same block will repeat across the whole row, but the colours can change as much as you like between rows.  You can swap weft colours as often as you like to build your design, but note that the 'A' elements will always stack up on each other,
as will the 'B' elements (of which there are twice as many) and the 'C'
elements.  Bearing in mind I've stuck to a total of three colours in my little 'samples' here, I can't even begin to imagine the variety possible with more.

I was going to talk about how I used Microsoft Word to mock up all these patterns, but…  it seems to me this entry is long enough as it is.  Later!


  • I love krokbragd. Both Nancy Hoskins in her book Weft-Faced Pattern Weaves and Katherine Larson in her book The Woven Coverlets of Norway discuss krokbragd. Have fun with it!
    Tommye Scanlin

    2nd December 2009
  • I love krokbragd too. The patterns are always so fascinating. Your description is excellent. I made one sample a long time ago for a design board and have always meant to revisit it someday for more in depth study. I’ll be interested in your experiments.

    2nd December 2009
  • This is such a great post! I’m supposed to help teach this structure next month but have never tried it myself so have been hunting for some technical info on how it works. Am SO glad you tweeted about this or I might never have found it. Now I can absorb all your techy bits (yay!) and weave some samples and feel like I really can be useful during this part of the workshop after all. 😀
    I have a couple of burning questions that you didn’t address in your post, though: 1) how did you weave this on a RH loom? Did it require two heddles? and 2) what software did you use to create those diagrams? Am pretty sure Fibreworks PCW can’t do that.

    3rd December 2009
  • Thanks for a great post! It’s incredible how so many possibilities open up out of something that starts out looking relatively simple.
    I just need a few more lifetimes.

    3rd December 2009

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