Pebble weave and thread shifting

Pebble weave is one of the simple but robust weaving structures.  It is woven either as one twill – one plain weave and repeat or 2 twills – 2 plain weaves and repeat.

As such, it is 50% plain weave and 50% twill, mixed evenly.  And, as a result, it gives a thinner fabric than twill.  It is thicker than a fabric in plain weave, but retains the drape of twill.

But because it is a thinner fabric, it may feel like a loose fabric.  Well, let’s have a look at it.

The structure with 2 picks (a weaving term for weft threads) of twill and 2 picks of plain weave is the same as 1 plain weave – 2 twills – 1 plain weave and repeat.

Twill threads in the weft go over 2 thread in the warp and then 2 threads under.  Plain weave is always 1 over, one under.  So, twill threads have more space to move in the fabric and gravitate towards each other.  The same, but on a grander scale, happens in the lace development process.  Result:

Pebble weave structure

The vertical twill structure with 2 floats looks denser:

Vertical twill structure

Thus, the pebble weave fabric will feel lighter and looser than any of the twills.  And it is confirmed by the GSM (grams per square metre) numbers:  260 GSM for pebble, 310 for twill for 10/2 mercerized cotton for both warp and weft.

However, the plain weave grid keeps the twill threads in place, and with the right sett there should be no thread shift in the normal course of use.  As with other handwovens, the pebble weave fabric can have snags, pulls and even temporary shifts (with enough force applied to an individual thread, you can move it a bit). The moved thread should go back to its place though when you stretch and move that part a bit.

With breaking in the wraps, the threads may stretch a bit, resulting in a temporary thread shifting.  If this happens, a wash in hot water for a cotton, cottohemp or cottolin wrap should shrink the stretched threads and the thread shifting should go away.

And if that does not help – contact me.  🙂




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