Twill Class

Twill Weave


Structure, weft goes over and/or under more than one warp. Binding unit shifts same direction using consistent number, usually 1.

  • Europe

    • 800 BCE Central/Northern Europe 2/2 Twill

    • Anglo-Saxons

      • 2/2, 2/1 twill wool tweeds (Geijer attributes these Brika finds to British Isles) 4 end twills 1 spun warp and 2 spun weft napped and fulled

      • Z/Z 2/2 Twill (Rogers)

      • 2/2 Z/Z chevron and diamond twills (Rogers)

      • 2/2 Z/S twill (Rogers)

      • 2/1 twill later 5th early 6th C to 7th C straight and some chevron twills attributed to Roman weavers (Rogers)

      • Rosette Twill, variation on diamond twill in which “the warp to jump three threads and the weft fout at a time” see Fig 3.14 a pg 80 (Rogers)

    • Viking fine worsted wools- diamond twill Geijer, broken diamond twills from Birka attributed to Sweden, Norway the British Isles and Iceland 32-55 ends per centimeter warp, 12-21 epcm weft

    • 3 end twills 2/1 & Ostergard

    • 4 end twills ex 2/2 & Ostergard below

    • lozenge/diamond broken twill (Geijer, 1979)

    • Geijer states the finer textiles could not have been produced in Viking lands. She says the Vikings lacked the production system, practical knowledge and the political-social background for such sophisticated textiles.. Earlier scholars surmised these textiles had been brought by Frisian merchants. The textiles lack selvedges, which makes it difficult to determine if they are warp or weft faced. Geijer supports the theory that these textiles were originally woven in Syria on treadle looms.

    • Norse Weaves defined by Ostergard (2004)

    • characterized by strong smooth warp made from closely spun hairs

    • stf weft spun from the combed off underwool

    • 2/2 twill most common, also 2/1 twill (Ostergard, 2004)

      • Ostergard notes the “right” side of a Greenlandic twill is the Z side, because this is the side where the twist of the yarn and the diagonal of the twill are the same.

      • 2/2 Twill Z spun warp, S spun weft 20/18 thread/ cm

        • Herjolfsnaeis 82.5% 2/2 Twill

      • 2/1 Twill, as noted by Geijer early researchers thought 2/1 twill was impossible on the warp weighted loom. However more recent finds in Lund, Ol Town in Oslo and the Faroes have uncovered 2/1 twills with tablet woven borders showing the were woven on warp weighted looms. 2/1 twills are still not prevalent among cloths woven on a warp weighted loom.

    • Vaomal means “loth measure” from Middle Ages to 19th Century used as a measure of value and could be used as payment

    • Bragoarvad fine quality could be used to pay tithes to the church

    • So called Herjolfsnaes hose 2/2 diamond twill Squared pattern Diamond is offset

    • Striped Weaves

    • Greenland (Ostegard)

  • Farm Beneath the Sand

  • 2/2 twill goats hair with Narrow stripes in Artic hare

  • Probably from 2 Shep are white on brown

Check weaves

  • Striping in both Warp t weft

  • 3 fragments

    • 2/1 twill Brown and White 9/6 th per cm

    • English twills Show in that 14th C Woolen check weaves often used pillow and blankets Find from London checked tabby another domestic textile.

    • Skjoldehamn Check blanket " used as winding Sheet'' 2600 x 1450 mm 2/2 twill

  • Rome twill 3rd C Z/Z Twill (Wild, ed Jenkins)

  • “The Continental Germans” Jenkins

    • 9th C silk attributed to Constantinople

    • The Late Period 850-1050 AD

    • Tabby

    • 2/2 Chevron Twill

    • 2/2 Diamond

    • Z spun warp more common than S weft

    • Z and S spun still combined in warp and weft

    • 2/1 Diamond twill first found in 10th C Birka find

    • Piled textiles found, outside the scope of this paper

  • Scandinavia 400-1000 Jenkins

  • 2/3rds of all textile 2/2 twill z/z

  • Most textiles still close to balanced weave, begin to see more perfectly balanced weaves in this period

  • Silks become more common in Scandinavia during this period.

  • Arrival of Lampas and other complex weaves

  • Silk warp is spun usually Z twist

  • weft left unspun to achieve full lustre

  • warp-weighted loom outdated in Rome in this time

  • 3/1 damask

  • Taquete

  • Both in wool before the end of the 1st C AD and in silk in 3rd C AD

  • Samitum 5th C

  • 3500 textiles found dating to 4th and 5th C in the settlement of Karanis, Egypt

  • 95% Plain weave, including and most often taquete

  • twills rare

  • some tapestry

  • 6th C silk characterized by small overall patterns in two weft colours, sometimes one weft is wool

  • 7th C Samitum

  • Later Roman and early Byzantine east 300-1000 AD Wild from Jenkins


Allgrove-McDowell, J. (2003) The The Sasanians (224-642 AD). In Jenkins, D. The Cambridge History of Western Textiles. (Pages 153-157). Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Becker, John. (1987). Pattern and Loom. Rhodos International Publishers, Copenhagen.

Geijer, Agnes (1979). A History of Textile Art. W.S. Maney & Son Ltd. Leeds.

Harris, Jennifer (1995). 5000 Years of Textiles. British Museum Press. London.

Hoskins, N.A. (2004), The Coptic Tapestry Albums & the Archaeologist of Antinoe, Albert Gayet. Skein Publications in Association with University of Washington Press. Seattle and London.

Hoskins, N.A. (1992). Weft-Faced Pattern Weaves: Tabby to Taquete. University of Washington Press.

Jones, E.M. (2011). Notes and photos from visit to the British Museum Medieval Exhibit.

Jones, E.M. (2004-2007, 2000, 2014) Notes and photos from visits to the Victoria and Albert Textile Study Room/ Clothworkers Centre.

Jorgensen, L.B (2003) The continental Germans. In Jenkins, D. The Cambridge History of Western Textiles. (Pages 118-123). Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Jorgensen, L.B (2003) Scandinavia (400-1000). In Jenkins, D. The Cambridge History of Western Textiles. (Pages 132-137). Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Musee National du Moyen Age (2003). The Cluny Thermae Album. English Edition. Paris.

Rogers, Penelope Walton. (2007) Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England. Council for British Archeology. York

Rogers, Penelope Walton. et al (2001) The Roman Textile Industry and it's Influence. A Birthday Tribute to John Peter Wild. Oxbow Books. Exeter

Owen-Crocker, G. (2004) Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. The Boydell Press. Woodbridge.

Ostergard, E. (2004) Woven into the Earth: Textiles from Norse Greenland. Aarhus University Press. Denmark.

Trilling, J. (2008). The Roman Heritage: Textiles from Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean 30-600 A.D. The Textile Museum. Washington, D.C.

Weibel, A. C. (1952). Two Thousand Years of Textiles: The Figured Textiles of Europe and the Near East. The Detroit Institute of Arts. Pantheon Books. New York.

Wild, J.P. a (2003) Later Roman and early Byzantine East (300-1000 AD). In Jenkins, D. The Cambridge History of Western Textiles. (Pages 140-152). Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Wild, J.P. b (2003) The Romans in the West (600 BC-400 AD). In Jenkins, D. The Cambridge History of Western Textiles. (Pages 77-117). Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Wild, J.P. c (2003) Textiles in Archeology. CIT Printing Services, Ltd. Pembrokeshire.


Other Resources for viewing Medieval Weaves and Fabric


Bender-Jorgenson, L (2010). North European Textiles. Medieval Textile Study Group. Complex