You’ve got an inkle loom, you’ve got your yarns, and you’re excited to weave some projects—so let’s talk about reading inkle drafts. The first important note about inkle drafts is that they apply only to the warp. Inkle weaving is a warp-faced weave, meaning you do not see the weft except at the selvedge, and even then just barely—so no weft color order is needed. Instead, you’ll get a warp color order and information about which warp ends need to be threaded on string heddles.
One of the inkle drafts from Joan Sheridan's Flatware on the Go Project from Easy Weaving with Little Looms Summer 2023.
The inkle drafts you’ll see in Easy Weaving with Little Looms and our sister magazines, Handwoven and Spin-Off, will have a grid with 2 rows of squares—you can see an example at top. Each colored square represents 1 warp thread, which we call an “end.” The empty squares are there to balance the grid and do not represent any warp ends or spaces, unless otherwise noted within the project. You can find this notation in the yarn color key. The color key shown below goes with both drafts you see in this article. Always check out the color key before warping your loom.
Now let’s look at the draft again. The top layer of squares is typically labeled as “heddled” and the bottom as “unheddled.” When you’re winding your warp onto your loom, only those ends in the “heddled” row need to be threaded on string heddles. Though many simple inkle drafts are symmetrical, and thus can be warped by reading the draft starting from either side, it’s easiest to read drafts from left to right, just as you’d thread them onto an inkle loom. In fact, you’ll usually see a note saying as much right next to our drafts!
This draft, also from Joan Sheridan's Flatware on the Go project from Summer 2023, features two areas of repeats.
To save room, we’ll often abbreviate the draft by putting in symbols showing where and how sections of the draft should be repeated. You’ll see these areas on top of the draft. They will feature a bracket telling you how many times to repeat that section. Let’s look at the draft directly above. Reading it from left to right, the draft begins with a repeat of 2x which is then followed by another repeat of 7x. This means you’ll warp the first two ends twice and the next 4 ends 7 times. In both the draft at top and the one directly above, we’ve expanded the draft to show the repeats.
That’s it—now you have everything you need to know to read a basic inkle draft.