Triaxial Fabric Weaving: Hexagonal Tumbling Block Pattern

5 Apr

Two of the reasons I like fabric weaving are: 1) even after planning your project, you can never know exactly how it will turn out; it depends on the color, type, and number of fabric strips you use; the pattern; and how you combine everything. All of that is hard to “see” until it starts to come together. Often, you are rewarded with a beautiful surprise. But sometimes, things just don’t turn out as you imagined. If that happens, then 2) you can easily undo what you have woven and start over, combining the original strips in different ways, incorporating different fabric strips, or even choosing a different pattern.

This weave is the same as the first one I wrote about–it’s a triaxial/tumbling block/madweave pattern–but the fabric strips are woven so that the colors/fabric strips come together to look like hexagons. It is a small example of the diverse results you can get, even with the same basic process.

This is a fairly simple hexagonal pattern that requires only three colors/types of fabric strips. I chose a green motif this time and cut my fabric 18 inches long x 2 inches wide, then made 1-inch strips; see my first post for more info on getting started.

Layer 1: Pin the strips vertically onto your foam board (with fusible interfacing underneath), alternating the colors (1,2,3; repeat).

Layer 2: First, find the 30-degree angle. Lay your ruler horizontally across the Layer 1 strips on your board (in the middle of the board, lined up against the right edge) so you can see how the 30-degree angle is situated. Then weave your first Layer 2 strip so that it approximates the 30-degree line, going up toward the left from the middle of the right side. Check the strip against the ruler, to make sure it is at the correct angle, adjusting it as needed until it is perfectly aligned. You may need to tug it gently into place until it is perfect (see the dark green strip below outlined in red).

The basic weave for Layer 2 is “over one, under two,” though you will need to stagger that pattern for each row/color. In my case, with 15 strips in Layer 1 and using the dark green fabric as my Strip 1, my pattern was (starting from right side and going up to the left):

  • Strip 1 (Dark Green): [Under one], over one, under two, over one, under two…
  • Strip 2 (Patterned Fabric): Under two, over one, under two, over one, under two….
  • Strip 3 (Light Green): Over one, under two, over one, under two….

The photos below show the first three strips of Layer 2 (with WEFTY and Purple Thang tools resting above the top pins), and the finished Layer 2. You can start to see two sides of the blocks/cubes/hexagons forming.

Layer 3: This layer does not have a pattern; every row is the same. Each time, you must find the “bird” or backward “Z” to weave under, making sure to choose the right fabric strip to complete the hexagons properly. With each Layer 3 strip you weave (in the photos below, the strips go from the left side up toward the right), you want to complete a row of hexagons/blocks all in the same fabric. As you weave, you want your Layer 3 strips to form the top of each hexagon/block, meaning you must weave under everything else. See this post for how to identify the “bird” or backward “Z”, and also for how to maneuver your WEFTY tool under and over. The photos below show Layer 3 in progress, and a close-up of the final hexagons.

2 Responses to “Triaxial Fabric Weaving: Hexagonal Tumbling Block Pattern”

  1. sewelna April 6, 2021 at 8:35 am #

    The birthplace of a quilt! 😁

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Learning to Weave with Fabric Strips: Triaxial Tumbling Block/Madweave Pattern | Perennial Pastimes - April 5, 2021

    […] Triaxial Fabric Weaving: Hexagonal Tumbling Block Pattern […]


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