Oscar Beriau Sampling Group

Oscar Beriau, appointed by the Minister of Agriculture to be Director-General of Handicrafts of the Province of Québec in 1930, became a significant force in weaving in Canada in the 1930s and 1940s.  Beriau founded a school for the domestic arts, hired weavers from the US and Europe to instruct future Québec teachers in the most modern, attractive, and efficient methods of weaving, and created a system for delivering these skills throughout the province.  He published a book on natural dyeing, followed by two weaving books.  The detailed instructions in these books, on everything from preparing and spinning wool to making ‘original’ works from drafts, was unprecedented at that time in materials available to home weavers.  The drafts gave specific uses or functions for each woven piece.

The chair of this group began researching Oscar Beriau in 2001 with the intention of publishing a book to include both a history and sets of samples recreating the original drafts and drafts created by the sampler.  There are no known collections of the original samples used in the original Beriau books.  Beriau took care to suggest to weavers how they might take existing drafts and alter them to make something original.  And in the spirit of Beriau and weavers at that time, we create both reproduction and original drafts.

There are two very different skill sets for this group:  weaving something exactly as written, using materials appropriate for the time period; and creating a ‘new’ piece of cloth by altering fibers/drafts/etc.  Sample drafts will be assigned (owning a book is not necessary), but weavers can indicate preferences.  Participants receive a complete set of instructions upon joining.

It is the chair’s fondest dream that a trip be planned to Québec for all participants to experience the historic & beautiful areas of Québec where weaving thrived during Beriau’s time.



The picture shows a Takadai with Kumihimo in progress; from Sandy Jessett

There is one exchange per year, with samples due at the end of April. For the swap, each member will make enough samples for the group, plus one extra for the CW Library. These are to be mailed to the group chair prior to the due date. Each participant who submits samples will then receive a packet with sample braids from each of the others in the group. Following email discussions within the group, a new topic and the date for the next sample exchange will be decided. Samples of other braiding strands or techniques may be accepted.  The samples are presented on card stock along with the braid diagram and all information pertinent to that braid,  ie; name of braid, number of bobbins, yarn(s) used. We communicate by mail and e-mail and occasionally by telephone. Please contact the chair at the address above for further  information.

Twenty four, More or Less

In the featured image: “Last April I purchased a used 32 shaft V Loom with an e-lift from a woman living in the USA. After a four day road trip with a friend, the loom was home in my Canadian Studio. The loom, barely used, required some work to get it up and running.   The cat fabric was woven with a warp of 2/20 Tencel black (tie-down thread) and a 50% Silk 50% Wool grey (pattern thread) with a weft of 2/8 Tencel in black. The tie downs were on shafts 1 & 2, pattern threads were on 3-32. The sett was 28 epi in a 12 dent reed, dented, 2, 2, 3. It was woven with an alternating tabby. The cat motif was taken from a knitting pattern.” By Catharine Wilson.

The CWSG more/less was originally designed in the fall of 1997 by Terri Tinkham as a way to share 24 shaft designs.  This was for all levels of weavers with 24 shafts:  challenging new owners to use their looms.  Someday a break off from CWSG 24 may occur requiring originality and virtual samples.  Even then, this original CWSG 24+/- will be maintained.  Dottie Smith became chairman in 2004. We do a woven sample exchange. Anyone interested in using drafts with a minimum of 17 shafts is welcome to join.  Those with more than 24 shafts are also welcome. This group encourages all levels of weaving.  There are no limitations as to structure, fiber or design. There is no particular study assignment to a given year, the sky is the limit.  We do ask that you submit a record sheet including the complete draft, software, loom, warp and weft yarns, sett and picks per inch with the woven sample. We encourage you to design your own drafts.  We ask that your drafts be designed so that your woven samples will have at least two repeats of the threading and treadling if possible.  Stand-alone motifs may be woven as just a single repeat.  If your threading and/or treadling draft is extremely large, we will allow this but will ask for a decent representation of the draft and a complete computer draw down of the entire draft.  A discussion of problems encountered, design process and thoughts, and notes of interest should be included. New members should contact Dottie Smith for a membership form.  Invitation to membership goes out June 1st, with active membership dues paid by September15th, when membership closes.  October 1st a letter goes out to all active members with a count of samples to be mailed anytime after October 31st and no later than February 15th.  Exchange CWSG24 Packets will be mailed March 1st.

Additional Information/Requirements

  • June 1st:  Invitation to membership in CWSG 24 +/- sent.
  • By mid-September:  Membership and dues due to CWSG 24 +/- chairman, Dottie Smith. Membership closes for the current year at this time.
  • October 1st :  Notification of the number of samples required for February 15th.  Exchange and membership list sent.
  • Samples must reach Dottie no later than February 15th.  Exchange sample and draft mailed to CWSG chairman, Dottie Smith.
  • March 1st  Exchange samples mailed out to participants.

Tied Weaves

For weavers of Intermediate to Master skill levels to explore Tied-Weave and Tied-Unit weave structures.   The broad study group goal is to better understand, create and define Tied-Weave structures, as well as create variants and methods to “break the rules”.   Each member will explore any Tied-Weave structure of interest.

Mandatory sample and information exchange due May 1 of each study group year.

On-line discussions and a private website for sharing photos, drafts and other visual information are in place. Members can share their questions, ideas, drafts and photos, enhancing our on-line study. All newsletters and correspondence, and the accompanying write-ups for the yearly sample exchange, will be done via email.

Write for a more detailed welcoming letter.  Su Butler, cwtw@subudesigns.com


Shown:  A fancy twill.  See the February 2009 CWJ for details.

Weave structure lesson topics are posted, and members can work at their own pace.  Email, internet access, and weaving software that can write wif files required.  Drafts will be shared on the Yahoo web page; dues cover the cost of a CD every two years.  Send email to judie@eatough.net to join.  Topics include:

  • 01-Intro-Plain weave
  • 02 Basket and Rib weaves
  • 03-twills-3 and 4shaft
  • 04-6 and 8-shaft twills
  • 05-Repweave
  • 06-As-Ifs
  • 07-Lace weaves
  • 08-Tied Weaves-assign
  • 09-Satins
  • 10-Twill variations
  • 11-Creating Fancy Twills
  • 12-Motifs
  • 13-Telescope analysis
  • 14-Thoughts on Designing Double Weave


Philis Alvic’s ground warp is 10/2 cotton in purple and maroon with warp ties of 10/2 rayon in Hot Pink.  For pattern weft, she used 3/2 cotton doubled, while the ground weft is 10/2 cotton in purple plus a strand of lurex.  The structure is Beiderwand, which was the Sixteens’ assignment for 2010.

The Sixteens is a sample exchange group for weavers using 16 shafts. The weaving skills vary from some who are very knowledgeable to some new to 16 harnesses.In 1978 Marian Hoskinson circulated a letter to her wide circle of friends and acquaintances in the weaving world announcing the starting of a sample exchange group for “16-harness weavers”. Marian established the rules that we still live by. Each year a topic is selected, usually a weave structure. The weaver is to do research and exert her personal creativity in the sample. The sample is to be large, at least six inches square and must be extensively documented.Each year during the exchange month the members mail the samples to each member on the list. Marian limited the membership to 30 and for about half of the years a waiting list existed. Membership is currently set at 25. A core group from The SIXTEENS was involved in the founding of Complex Weavers. The idea was first suggested at Convergence in Colorado and then organized at the Midwest Weavers Conference. A group of us gave $5.00 each to Eleanor Best and told her to start a newsletter and gather other members. We realized that others with common interests in technical weaving possess other types of equipment and membership was not limited to weavers with looms of 16 or more harnesses. We wanted to build a network to share information, collectively investigate new topics, and help each other with individual problems. The objective would be beyond that of a sample exchange.

Past Projects

1979: Twill / 1980: Biederwand / 1981: Damask / 1982: Doubleweave / 1983: Clothing Fabric / 1984: Double Two-Tie / 1985: Doubleweave / 1986: Park Weaves / 1987: Lace Weaves / 1988: Combined Weaves / 1989: Pique / 1990: Lampas / 1991: Twill Variations / 1992: Damask / 1993: Star & Diamond / 1994: Network Drafting / 1995: Stitched Doubleweave / 1996: Taqueté / 1997: Brocade / 1998: 3 or 4 Tie Block Weaves Structures / 1999: O’Hara Technique / 2000: Bronson Lace / 2001: Integrated Cell Weaves / 2002: Blended Drafts / 2003: Network Drafting / 2004: Turned Overshot / 2005: Piqué / 2006: Turned Taqueté / 2007: Crackle / 2008: Shadow Weave / 2009: Echo Weave / 2010: Beiderwand / 2011: Corkscrew and Manifold Twills / 2012: Double Weave / 2013: Collapse / 2014: Four Color Double Weave / 2015:  Deflected Double Weave
The notebooks, which can be borrowed through the Complex Weavers Library, are a valuable source of research on each individual weave structure.


The assignment for 2016 is: Lampas.

  1. All the skill and creativity of the weaver should be expended on the sample. Yarns, colors, designs, and sett are at the discretion of the weaver, but all 16 shafts should be used  in the design.
  2.   Specifications for the sample:
    • Sample must be a minimum of six (6) inches square, finished.
    • All raw edges must be finished.
    • Wet finishing is strongly encouraged.
    • If you choose a design larger than six inches square, send a 6″ x 6″ sample of a part of the piece and a photograph or scanned image of the complete pattern.
  3. Specifications for documentation:
    • Research the weave structure and share sources.
    • Include on all pages your name and the date of the sample.
    • Include on the first page: your address, phone, and email (if you have it),  yarn type and size, sett and reed, type of loom, and software used.
    • Include a draft for a treadle loom and the pegging plan (liftplan) if you use a dobby.
    • Include comments on any particular problems encountered and suggestions for others to use.
    • Do NOT attach the sample to the documentation sheet.
    • Do NOT punch holes in the sheet.
  4. Specifications for distribution:
    • Mail all samples and documentation flat in a large envelope. Do NOT fold.
    • Mail during the month of October.
    • Send one sample to each person on the list.
    • Send two samples to the Chair (see above): one for the Complex Weavers library, and one for her personal collection.
    • Remit $3.00 dues to the Chair. These may be submitted when you send your samples.
    • A member who wishes to resign, or to sit out for a year, should notify the Chair of that fact as early as possible, and certainly  before September 1 of the sample year. (This is to help the rest of group plan the number of samples they will need to weave.)
  5. Remember, you must be a member of Complex Weavers to be a member of the Sixteens. Check to make sure your dues are paid.
  6. Failure to comply with the above regulations:
    • If a member is unable to mail her samples during October, she must notify the others in the group to that effect, giving a date when the samples may be expected.
    • Any member not sending a sample by the end of the calendar year in which it is due will not be allowed to participate the following year.  However, exceptions may be granted for good reason. Requests for extended delay should be addressed to the Chair and include a reason for missing the deadline and the anticipated date of sending the samples.
  7. Please notify the Chair of potential new members so they may be sent information.
  8. The 16’s samples will be archived on CD as well as in paper format. Both paper and cloth samples and the CD will be available for loan from the Complex Weavers Library.

Sample Exchange the Old-Fashioned Way

This group does a swatch exchange once a year. Notification of the number of samples required is sent out sometime in March and the sample due date is determined yearly. The group is limited to 15 members which, with a sample for the archives, means a member never needs to make more than 16 samples. This upper limit allows members to work on samples before actually knowing how many will be needed.

The purpose of this group is to allow members to create samples which are focused on their own particular areas of interest or to explore a facet of weaving which they have not tried before and are uncertain if they would continue to be interested in pursuing. Samples can be woven on any number of shafts, of a size to clearly show the structure, usually about 6″ by 6″, and are to be accompanied by the usual information: materials used, drafts, setts, finishing, shrinkage, as well as comments as to purpose, problems encountered and possible solutions, or whatever information is felt to be of interest to other group members. The “Old-Fashioned” means that samples can be woven on a standard treadle loom without use of a computer interface; treadle, table and computerized looms have been used in the past exchanges. CAD is fine.

The fee is US $7.50. We communicate mostly by e-mail, occasionally by phone or surface mail. Any level of weaving skill is acceptable. The idea is for each member to set their own learning goals and to share them with the other members. Over time quite a good, varied collection of samples will be accumulated.

Sample distribution will also be accompanied by a CD of drafts and pertinent information from those members who so consent.

Japanese Textiles

Shown: Omeshi nuitori shisyu bird and blooms.  This tough double-faced omeshi silk from a kimono has a warp and weft of alternating red and black.  The pattern is jacquard woven, with red flowers on a black ground (reversed on the back).  The bird has white silk and gold metallic threads added in a supplemental weft technique called “nuitori shishu” that looks very much like embroidery.  Fabrics like this were very popular in the 1950’s through 1970’s.

We are fascinated by the range and depth of Japanese textiles, from the simplest to the most complex. We focus on learning as much as possible from the study of Japanese textiles of any era and sharing our research and applications. The group is open to members of CW who are weavers of any level and to non-weavers who are interested and willing to contribute to the topic. We are not experts but merely fellow learners. There will be no teaching section in the newsletter, just your contributions. Each member is required to contribute one on-topic article, sample set and/or design set each year. They will sign up in advance for the April or October newsletter (due April 15 and October 15 respectively). Contributions will be sent as .pdf files (or equivalent) or in the case of samples via postal mail to arrive in time by the deadline. In the case of physical samples, notify the chairperson and send him or her enough copies for the entire group plus a library copy.  By joining the group, members agree to give permission for a CD of the group’s newsletters to be kept in the library for back-up and possible circulation to CW members only. We have a private Yahoo! Group listserve for discussion and Yahoo! web site where members may post links and photos, and references to on-line materials may be made.