Learning Path 1: Weaving with Muted and Neutral Colors


“Dull” colors aren’t dull! By choosing the right near-neutral colors, you can make a piece that gives the visual impact that YOU want – dramatic or calm, dark and moody or full of light, with a clear or subtle pattern. In this Learning Path, you’ll discover how “dull” colors can make fantastically interesting pieces.

You’ll also find out the properties and potential uses for cotton yarn, the secrets of sett, and much more.

Rigid heddle weavers will find this Learning Path particularly helpful, because our structure for this Path is plain weave – making everything applicable to the rigid heddle loom!

You’ll learn:

Color and design:

  • How to design with a palette of muted and neutral colors
  • Ways to use value contrast (contrast in darkness) to create cloth with the visual impact and mood you want
  • An effective visual design process for any woven project (with example projects!)

Physical design and drafting:

  • How to calculate sett using Ashenhurst’s Rule/our sett calculator
  • Project calculations: all the math you need to design your woven projects
  • The scoop on drawdowns: why they’re underrated and what you can learn from them
  • Cotton yarn: its properties, how to use it, its limitations, and when to choose cotton for your project.

Weaving technique:

  • Sampling: when and why to sample (and no, you don’t always have to!)
  • How to wind striped warps quickly and effectively
  • How to throw a shuttle ergonomically and efficiently
  • How best to wind a bobbin or pirn.

Class Descriptions

Shaft loom suitable

= most appropriate for shaft looms

Rigid Heddle Suitable

= most appropriate for rigid heddle looms

Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

= appropriate for both shaft AND rigid heddle looms


Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

Understanding Value
You might be surprised to learn that the most important part of a color is its value – how dark or light it is. In this class, you’ll learn why value controls the patterning in your handwoven cloth and contributes strongly to the mood of your designs. You’ll also learn how to determine value accurately to help you design, and explore your tastes in value combinations.

Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

Value in Design
In this class, you’ll learn to create a piece that fits your style and design goals. You’ll learn about mood and pattern, the two major components of visual style, and discover how to use value to design both. You’ll also design and weave a lovely set of napkins in your favorite style.

Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

Color Recipes 1: Value and Stripes

Did you know that you can do an infinite number of cool things with just a few basic “color recipes”?

When we say “recipe,” we don’t mean rigid formulas, but foundational patterns as flexible as a chef’s recipe for soup stock – a solid, simple base that can be modified in millions of ways to create your own beautiful, unique designs.

In this class, you’ll explore some of these foundational patterns, learning “recipes” that will enable you to create interesting and beautiful designs in even the simplest of stripe patterns.


Physical Design

Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

Cotton Yarn: A Weaver’s Guide
Get the scoop on common cotton weaving yarns!

In this class, you’ll learn about cotton’s vital statistics and important characteristics. You’ll find out good setts for common weights of cotton yarn in various structures, understand what projects are ideal (or not) for cotton, and know what to watch out for when working with cotton. You’ll also learn how to wet finish and care for cotton fabrics. 

Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

Ashenhurst’s Formula to Determine Sett

Did you know you can use a…well, let’s call it a relatively simple mathematical formula to figure out a good sett for your yarn with nothing more than its yards per pound and some information about the threading you’ll be using?

Ashenhurst’s formula will give you a much better starting point for sett for fancy twills and other structures than the commonly recommended “wrap some yarn aroudn a ruler and divide by two or multiply by two-thirds”.

(We also have a convenient Ashenhurst Calculator tool available to our members!)

Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

Crunching the Numbers
Math is unavoidable if you want to design your own projects or modify a project designed by someone else, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. This course takes the anxiety out of the necessary number crunching by providing detailed, step by step instructions and clear explanations for all your project math.

You’ll also get easy-to-follow worksheets for all the calculations you might need to make.


Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

The Design Process
An effective method for designing handwoven projects, from finding inspiration to finishing and polishing your design. Full of tips and checklists for each step of the design process, as well as a workbook to help with design, it’s a class you’ll find yourself coming back to many times.

Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

Sampling: A New Approach
Think sampling is about creating swatches of cloth before you start your project? Think again!

Sampling isn’t just creating woven samples – it’s any method you use to test your design. In this class, you’ll learn what a sample is, when it’s worthwhile to sample, and how to choose the right sampling method for the purposes at hand. You’ll also learn twelve sampling methods, and the pros and cons of each.

Project Weave-Along/Wrap-up Class

Shaft AND Rigid Heddle suitable

From Dull to Brilliant: Spring 2023 Weave-Along

“Dull” colors aren’t dull! They can produce wonderfully exciting pieces as well as more subtle, elegant ones. This end-of-Learning-Path class gives you the opportunity to create a gorgeous scarf, practicing everything you’ve learned!

Plus, get inspired by the 450+ photos of others’ work already posted in the class discussion group!