Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From the Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America


Much historical velvet was designed to be figural, often in elaborate curvilinear floral motifs, and multiple colours. These complex patterns could be efficiently designed for and executed on the available drawlooms and their successors, the jacquard looms. Faced with such complexity, and the unavailability of jacquard looms and drawlooms, few handweavers have attempted to add velvet technique to their repertoire. However, the basic principles and weave structures of velvet are relatively simple and can be executed on simpler handlooms. Pick-up techniques and simple loom modifications make figured velvet accessible for weavers without access to complex jacquard velvet looms, allowing them to explore velvet techniques, including some of the design potential that historical textiles did not exploit.