Greenland Gown Project


Well, I need to write even if it is just to be able to sleep tonight. I hope you will indulge me.

As I have been setting here processing the never ending piles of wool, I came upon a rather scratchy thought. Just how much wool do I need to process to get to the end of the tunnel?

My difficulty is that I do not completely understand the fabric I am recreating. I also do not understand weaving on a common floor loom let alone a Warp Weighted Loom. I have just enough knowledge of weaving to be dangerous.

Now mind you, I am recreating some of the techniques used to build the tools and fabric related to bring this project to completion. But, I am not an all knowing person. I need help…..

How do I figure the amount of wool needed to make the requisite fabric? HELP!

Is this fabric (2/2 twill) a warp faced fabric?

I guess this will not be the only two questions, but these are the most pressing ones at this point.

Again… HELP!


No Really….. Help.

Hubby says, “Good judgement comes from experience which comes from bad judgement.”


Be well,



5 thoughts on “Ok…HELP!!!!

  1. DoreenDoreen

    Please forgive the lateness of this reply. I am back from the summer adventures and pleased to be so.

    Vigdis, your answers are very helpful as are the other contributors an this question.

    I hope to see more contributions from all of you as I continue into the winter with many more questions.

  2. carol

    To figure loom waste, look at the length of warp from the lowest you can easily weave to the weights. That is the actual loom waste, you then need to add in the 10% of the warp for take up to get the final number.
    I find I have much >less< waste on my horizontal looms than my WW loom.
    And remember it isn't cloth till you finish the cloth by washing it and maybe fulling it (depending on what type of cloth) But Fer Sure it needs washing once off the loom.

    1. Greenland Gown ProjectGreenland Gown Project Post author

      Thank You Carol.

      It is very helpful to have the input of those who work with the technology. Coming from a non weaving background in the fiber arts, I will ask many questions and The generous sharing of information makes this so much easier.


  3. Panth

    2/2 twills may be balanced and thus usually neither warp nor weft faced, but I believe Greenlandic vadmal is weft-faced due to the differences in the warp vs. weft yarns (hard, high-twist warp made from the outer coat vs. loftier, lower-twist weft made from the under coat of the sheep) and due to differences in epi between the warp and weft (because the weft is beaten down far, far more than in a ‘normal’ fabric).

    Weavers will be able to tell you how to calculate the warp and weft necessary for a given size of fabric, plus the typical loom wastage. I believe warp-weighted looms give less waste than horizontal ones.

    You may also need to consider whether the fabric will shrink once it comes off the loom and whether you will wash it (and, if so, how much it will shrink then – swatches are really the only way to answer this). The Greenlandic vadmal was not fulled, but it may well have been washed post-weaving. You may want to consider some sort of tenterhook system to help control the shrinkage – this was in use in later eras (e.g. Tudor England) but I don’t know about medieval Europe and definitely no idea about medieval Greenland.

    Good luck!

  4. Vigdis Grafeldr

    2/2 twill is a balanced twill, which means that as much of the warp shows as the weft on each side. Jeans, which are usually a 1/3 twill, are not balanced, which is why the two sides are different colors. That’s different from being warp faced or weft faced or (confusingly) a balanced weave, which is a function of the diameter of the yarns, how widely the warp is sett, and how hard you beat. Twills are usually woven balanced (in this sense). You tell if it is balanced by the angle of the twill lines — if it’s balanced you get a nice 45 degree angle.

    As for the amount of wool you need — of course it all depends. Your best bet is to have your spinner (forgot her name, sorry) spin up a modest sample of the yarn so you can get yards per pound of the finished yarn and the amount of wastage along the way. But I think you will need less than you imagine, poundage wise. IIRC you are working with something like a dozen fleeces which I think is far more than you will need.

    The way you calculate yarn needs for weaving is this:
    warp yarn: sett of threads (say, 20 ends per inch) times width of cloth times length of warp (i.e., how long each thread has to be). Length of warp is length of woven fabric PLUS allowance for takeup while weaving (often about 10 percent for a balanced fabric) PLUS loom waste (amount used tying onto loom, amount you can’t weave at the beginning/end, any space between pieces if you are weaving multiple pieces separated by fringe, etc.). [Length of woven fabric would be length needed for the dress pieces PLUS anything you are going to lose to shrinkage in finishing]

    SO — (making these figures up) if your thread weaves well at 20 epi and your width in the loom is 40 inches wide and your woven fabric is going to be eight yards long and your loom waste is about a yard, figure 800 threads, each 10 yards long, or 8000 yards. If your warp thread is 3200 yards per pound, you need about 2 1/2 pounds of warp thread. Add the wastage figure from your spinner (which ought to be low — I’ve seen her spinning!) and then the wastage you get while processing wool and you know how much you need to process for the warp.

    Weft yarn is simpler. How many picks per inch for a balanced fabric x number of inches of woven fabric. If it’s the same as your warp yarn it’s usually about 2/3 the warp amount.

    Weaving a fine fabric takes many yards of yarn but not much weight of wool. Thick fabric takes fewer yards but more poundage.

    Does this help?


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