Brenda Gibson
$6.00/year payable by October 31st.
One sample exchange per year
Sample Exchange:
One 16 shaft sample exchange per year, due October 31st.
To Join:
Contact the group chair listed above.
Group Began:
Closing Date:

Olivia Stewart wove this handsome table runner based on the satin samples she made for the 2020 exchange. It comprised three blocks of 5-end satin woven in 20/2 cotton at 48 ends per inch. This design was inspired by the beautiful ikat weavings from the Chirala region of India that Olivia encountered on a textile trip there.

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 shafts. 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 their 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 (with special arrangements for international mailings). 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 shafts. 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 / 2016: Lampas / 2017: Echo / 2018: Diversified Plain Weave /2019: Honeycomb / 2020: Satin
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 2021 is Waffle
      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 required for the design.
      2. Procedure for participation in the sample exchange:
      o All active members are eligible to participate in the next sample exchange and are asked to confirm their
      position as early as possible, and by 1 September at the latest.
      o The Chair will invite as many other members of the wider group to participate as can be accommodated
      within the maximum number of active members agreed (see paragraph 8).
      3. Specifications for the sample:
      o Sample must be a minimum of six (6) inches/ 15cm square, finished.
      o All raw edges must be finished.
      o Wet finishing is strongly encouraged.
      o If you weave a design larger than the required sample size, it’s fine to submit a sample of the required size
      that is only part of the larger design with a photograph or scanned image of the complete pattern.
      4. Specifications for documentation:
      o Research the weave structure and share sources.
      o Include on all pages your name and the date of the sample.
      o Include on the first page: your address, phone, and email, yarn type and size, sett and reed, type of loom,
      and software used.
      o Include a draft for a treadle loom or the pegging plan (liftplan) if you use a dobby.
      o Include comments on any particular problems encountered and suggestions for others to use.
      o For permission to share electronically via the CW Library, please include the following statement on your
      notes: “I (name) agree to have this sample and corresponding information shared electronically with other
      Complex Weaver members through Complex Weaver Library. (Date)”
      5. Specifications for physical distribution:
      o Mail all samples and documentation flat in a large envelope. Do NOT fold.
      o Mail during the month of October.
      o Any member unable to mail the samples during October must notify the others in the group to that effect,
      giving a date when the samples may be expected.
      o US members: Send sufficient samples to Claudia Spaulding as Distribution Hub: one for the Complex
      Weavers library, one for the Sixteens’ own library, one for her personally, and one for each active member
      outside the US. Send samples direct to any additional active member within the US.
      o Non-US members: Send sufficient samples to Claudia Spaulding as Distribution Hub: one for the Complex
      Weavers library, one for the Sixteens’ own library, one for her personally, and one for each additional
      active member outside your own country. Send samples direct to any member within your own country, if
      6. Specifications for electronic distribution:
      o Assuming you use weaving software, save your design in the *.wif format so that all weaving software can
      open it. Use the naming format: “SurnameInitial Sixteens 2021”
      eg GibsonB Sixteens 2021.wif
      o If possible, scan or photograph your fabric sample, and save in the *jpg or *.jpeg format. Use the same
      naming format: “SurnameInitial Sixteens 2021” eg GibsonB Sixteens 2021.jpeg
      o If possible, save your notes in the *.pdf format and include the fabric image as the last page of the file. Use
      the same naming format: “SurnameInitial Sixteens 2021” eg GibsonB Sixteens 2021.pdf
      o If you cannot do some of these things yourself, liaise with the Chair who should be able to help.
      o Upload your files to
      7. Membership and dues
      o You must be a member of Complex Weavers to be a member of the Sixteens. Check to make sure your main
      CW membership dues are up to date.
      o Remit US$6 dues for the Study Group to Claudia Spaulding as Treasurer. These may be submitted in US $
      cash when you send your samples, or sent electronically via PayPal or Venmo.
      o The categories of membership are:
      1. Active (for those who were part of the previous year’s physical sample exchange)
      2. Invited (for those who are new to the group but who opt into the current year’s physical sample
      3. Priority Wait Listed (for those Active members last year who opt to sit out the current year’s
      physical sample exchange)
      4. Regular Wait Listed (for those who wish to participate in the group but do not satisfy the
      membership requirements of other categories).
      o Any member who opts in to the sample exchange but does not then send a sample by the end of the
      calendar year in which it is due will not normally be allowed to participate (ie will be obliged to sit out) 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.
      o The Chair may exercise discretion in relation to membership issues, particularly for members who have
      been active on a long-standing basis.
      o 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, and to allow for new joiners from the waiting list.)
      8. Maximum size of the group
      o The maximum number of participants for the physical sample exchange is 24, so that the maximum number
      of samples to be woven is 26 (including the member’s own sample and two for library copies).
      9. Active and Passive Members
      o Only active members receive actual woven samples and hard copy of drafts and notes from the annual
      sample exchange.
      o All other members who have paid their dues will be invited to the CWSixteens by which they will
      receive emails, can participate in discussions, and have the same access to shared electronic records as
      active members.
      o Please notify the Chair of potential new members so they may be sent information.
      10. Library Copies
      o The Sixteens’ samples, drafts and notes will be archived electronically as well as in paper format by the CW
      Library and by the current chair as back up. Both paper and cloth samples and a CD (or other electronic
      form) will be available for loan from the Complex Weavers Library.