Weaving Techniques

Weaving Technques || Weaving a Monk’s Cloth

Weaving a monk's cloth with the basket weaveRecently I was asked about how to weave a Monk’s Cloth on a lap loom. My first thought was, what even is a monk’s cloth?! I have never heard of this before and of course I had to look into it.

It turns out a Monk’s Cloth is a basket woven cloth that was used many centuries ago by monks. The weave pattern follows 4 woven weft rows that pass over and under 4 warp threads. If you’re interested in learning about it, I found a lot of interesting information about it at this website here.

So now I know it’s a basket weave, which makes a nice pattern and is definitely an easy weave to make on a lap loom. My first attempts at weaving this didn’t look as nice as I wanted at first, so I made some adjustments to get the look I wanted. I used the same yarn for my weft and warp. I also used a thin, lace weight yarn because I found it looked better in the pattern. Here are the steps for my monk’s cloth weave:

Weaving a monk's cloth with the basket weavestep 1|| After my first attempt, I released a lot of the design relies on a tight set of warp threads. In order to get more warp threads on my loom, I had to double warp it. This worked out perfectly to get the effect I was after. If you need more information on how to double warp your loom, see my post on it here.

This pattern requires warp groups of four, so I made sure I warped enough of the loom that I had groups of four warp threads. I then designated the first two warp threads and the last two warp threads as my boarder threads. I’ll explain why later.

step 2|| I first wove two rows of plain weave to lock in my warp threads and add a border.

step 3|| In the third row I started my basket weave, but with my first two warps I did an over 1 under 1 as my boarder. To better explain the boarder at both sides of the weave, I weave the boarder threads in an over/under pattern regardless of the basket weave in the row. I just make sure that they are woven opposite of the row above them. This adds stability to my weave and gives it a nice edge.

So the row is over 1, under 1, over 4, under 4, repeating until the last two warp threads which are over 1, under 1.

Weaving a monk's cloth with the basket weavestep 4|| In the fourth row I return weave over 1, under 1 and then weave over and under the same four warps ending with the last two warps in an opposite weave pattern from the row before it. Besides at the boarders, the weft for the basket weave follows the same over 4, under 4 pattern for four rows. After those rows, the next four rows are done in an opposite pattern of under 4, over 4.

I wove multiple rows before taking a picture of the steps so that you could easily see the basket pattern that is being made. After double warping my loom, the threads look like a really nice basket weave that looks tightly packed.

Have you heard of a Monk’s Cloth before? Or maybe have come across a weaving technique that is new to you but has a long history in weaving? I love to learn about the history of woven fabrics and read about how they were used in the past. And then make new things using those techniques!

Happy Weaving!


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  • pat cooper
    September 2, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Are you planning to do anything specific with this or is it just a sample weave? looks like it would make nice placemats

    • Kate
      September 29, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      Yes I agree it would make for nice placemats. I just wove it up as a sample because a reader asked me how to make this weave, but it’s still on the loom so maybe I’ll finish it? haha.