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  • Writer's pictureJaime

Twining Hearts

This year for Valentine's Day I was eager and (I thought) early to come up with some fun sprang heart designs. Since it's now nearly a week after the holiday, clearly I wasn't as prompt as I thought I was going to be. Oh well, better late then never!

In preparation for this post I made a lot of hearts. Double sprang hearts, twined hearts and embroidered hearts. In this post, and at least one follow up post, I am going to introduce you to making patterns in sprang using twining threads and double sprang. I'm also going to show you an easy way to create beautiful motifs on your sprang without all the work.

Hearts are a great motif to learn the different maneuvers needed for twining.

Check out the progression of my heart samples!

If you are already familiar with those techniques, but need a blueprint for creating the design, I hope I am able to supply that for you. I don't always chart out my designs ahead of time, usually I just sort of make a rough outline and then do multiple tests. However, I would like to be able to provide you with easy to follow patterns and charts for making your own sprang projects with less work. So please let me know how I can improve my patterns so they are easier to read and understand.

I will be sharing two things today: sprang motifs you can use in any project, and some ideas for small projects using these motifs. They're all hearts by the way, in case you couldn't tell from the post title. These are all easy, beginner friendly projects as long as you are comfortable with basic interlinking.

Here is what I will cover:

- Twined Hearts - Disconnected

- Twined Hearts - Connected

- Mock Twined Hearts:

A follow up to this post will be the double sprang hearts and finally a project that includes both techniques.

First, what is twining? And how does it fit into sprang?

Twining is a simple way to add a pattern to sprang. Using one back thread and one front thread, you will pick and drop these threads around either a front or back thread of the main sprang interlinking. Usually the twining threads are a different color from the main sprang.

Twining threads running to the right will twine around front threads and twining threads running to the left will twine around back threads. This means that the twining threads going to the left will be less noticeable then the ones running down to the right when the sprang is relaxed.

By twining multiple sets of threads, you can make the left running threads much more noticeable, such as on this cotton hat where I twined to both directions with two sets of threads.

Key points to twining:

- Twined threads do not contribute to the structure of the sprang cloth.

- Twining will not impede the stretch of the cloth, though stretching will distort the pattern.

- Patterns are limited to diagonal and vertical lines. You can create less steep of a diagonal by twining over two front or two back threads, but doing so will impede the stretch of the fabric.

- Twining threads can be incorporated into the main interlinking threads and then changed back to twining as needed for the pattern.

- Twining threads can float at the back of the fabric and not show up on the front at all.

Ok, lets dive into our first pattern!

Twined Hearts - Disconnected

The first motif is relatively easy and super cute! The project that I recommend for this is a bookmark or bracelet. You can leave the band whole and use the entire length, or you can cut it in the middle and make two. Which method you choose, will dictate the length of your warp. So I won't be giving a warp length, but I recommend at least 15 inches.

I am using Lily Cotton and Cream in White and Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton in Black.

It's best if your yarns match in size, but if they do not, it's better that the twining threads be bigger then the main threads overwise they may get lost in the main threads and not show up well.


Your warp should be at least 10 wraps wide of the main color (mine is white and I will be referring to the main color as white from now on), but any even number will do.

Warp up in whatever style you are used to, I generally warp in a continuous circle, not a figure eight, but that's mostly because I am lazy.

When you have half the number of wraps of threads you are planning on, stop warping the white and tie on the twining color (mine is black, and I will refer to it as black from now on). Warp 4 wraps of the black and then cut and tie it off. Continue warping the white until you have 10 wraps total of the white. Don't count the black in the total wraps.

Basic Maneuvers:

There are six basic maneuvers you need to learn to create these hearts.

- Twining the black threads to the right and to the left.

- Working the black threads that are not in use and are floating at the back of the work.

- Starting the bottom of the heart and starting the top of the heart, which are essentially just a combination of twining and floating the black threads, but since this is the most complicated part of the pattern, I thought I would show it separately.

I have provided both a short video illustrating the these basic moves as well as written and photographic explanations below. The line by line pattern and pattern chart are described after the basic moves.

Because the black threads that are not in use are just floating at the back of the work, they are not interlinking with any other threads and are just twining around each other. Because of this where they are sitting in your warp will slowly move, either to the right or left depending on how you work them. Learning how to move them in the direction you want will get them in the correct place for when you are ready to use them in the pattern.

Working the floating threads towards the right: when you reach the point of one remaining front white thread before the black threads, you will work all the black threads before the white thread. You will do this by picking a back black thread then slipping the next black front thread under the front white thread. Do this with all the black threads. At this point you should have the front white thread that was originally on the right side of the black threads as the next front thread in your left hand. Interlink that thread with the next back white thread and continue on as normal.

Working the floating threads towards the left: when you reach the point of one remaining front white thread before the black threads you will work that white thread with the next back white thread (laying to the left of the back black threads) over the top of all the black threads. Do this by dropping the front black threads from your left hand. Pick up the next back white thread and drop the front white thread. Pick the front black threads back up and work them as normal then continue on with the normal interlinking.

Twining to the right: when you reach the point of just one remaining front white thread before the black threads, you will begin twining by picking up the next back black thread and then slipping the next front black thread over the top of the front white thread and drop it to the back. Now work the next back white thread with the front white thread. Unless this is the bottom point of the heart, then follow the instructions for the starting the heart below.

Twining to the left: when you reach the point of one remaining white thread before the black threads, pick up the next back white thread by slipping it over the top of the back black thread to it's right. Drop the next front white thread then do a normal pick/drop of the two black threads. Continue on with normal interlinking.

Starting the bottom of the heart: since I am working the hearts starting at the bottom, the bottom point is formed by making a triangle. When you reach the eight black threads work the first set as for twining to the right. Work the next two black sets as floating black threads to the right. Then work a left twining of the last set of black threads.

Starting the top of the heart: to begin the top part of the heart, make sure your floating threads are situated evenly in the middle of the heart. If following my pattern chart below, there should be two white threads to either side of the floating black threads.

When you reach the point where there is one front white thread left before the floating black threads, work the first set of black threads to twine to the right over the front white thread, then work the next set of black threads to twine to the left over the back white thread.

Here are the movements row by row. Note that I am only giving the movements for the black threads. Once you understand all the basic maneuvers, this shorthand will help you remember what to do each row.

Rows 1 and 2: Work a normal shift and basic row working just the white threads. Float all eight black threads at the back first to the right, then to the left.

Row 3: Twine right, float right, twine left

Row 4: Twine right, float right, twine left

Row 5: Twine right, float left, twine left

Row 6: Twine right, float left, twine left

Row 7: Twine left, twine right, twine left, twine right

Row 8: Twine left, twine right, twine left, twine right

Row 9: Float left, float right

Row 10: Float left, float right

Repeat from row 3.

Use this as a blueprint for your first heart, or first band. From there, you can make bigger or smaller hearts; put more space between the hearts; or, move onto the next pattern, which is connect hearts.

Twined Hearts - Connected

Working a continuous pattern of hearts is easy and just requires that you turn the top of the heart into the bottom of the next heart.

When you reach the top points of the heart, rather then working all the sets of black threads at the back of the work, you will continue twining the second and third sets of black threads while floating the first and fourth sets.

As a warning, working the right and left floats while also working the twinings can get a little complicated, so take your time and double check each row before continuing.

I have a video on this, but I am still editing it and I may only publish it to my new Patreon page (coming soon).

Finishing Ideas

Right, I did say I would give you some ideas one what to make with your heart bands.

Threads held in place with chaining, cut into two pieces: I do not mean to chain the warp threads, but to take a piece of thread and chain into the meeting point threads.

I like this for finishing a bookmark. Keep in mind that the chaining is only held in place by the friction against the warp threads, so you could easily slide it out if you tried.

You could also use this to temporarily hold the cut warp threads in place while you knot them.

Wrapping and cutting: this works well for both a bookmark and for a bracelet.

Here I have left one side just wrapped and cut and the other side I turned into a bracelet by sewing a button on.

When wrapping, I like to pass the thread through the warp threads, around the back and through the warp threads again before pulling tight. Then I start wrapping the thread around the all the unworked warp threads.

I finish by sewing through the wrapping and warp threads a few times. The more holding stitches you put in place, the more secure the wrapping.

Wrapping and sewing: to make a double wide bracelet, I wrapped the meeting point, folded the band in half and sewed up one side.

I could have added a button to the top, but I decided to just loop a thread through the end loops and tie that loop into the wrapped end. I'm fairly dexterous, so this is pretty easy for me.

Or you could sew a button to the wrapped end and use the looped end to loop over the button.

Note: I blocked all of these bracelets and bands before photographing them. If I had not, the twist in them would have been much greater.

Mock Twined Hearts

Ok, so now that I have shown you how to do twining properly, I am going to show you how to cheat at it. This is great if you want just one little heart motif decorating your sprang project. Twining with the threads warped in is great if you want to be able to move from the extra twining threads to interlinking and back to twining again to create your pattern. Or if you have a continuous design with the extra threads. But for just a few, isolated motifs, I say lets save the work and keep our project looking tidy by adding the twining after we've finished.

Compare these two bands, one is my band from the disconnected heart pattern above where I worked the twining with the sprang. The other is an all white band that I worked then added the black hearts afterwards. Can you tell which is which?

The technique for doing this is as easy as this: I embroidered them!

Here they are flipped over. Now it is very obvious which is which.

I was lazy and just tied my ends on the embroidered band. If I had taken the time to properly weave in my ends, the back side of the embroidered band would be the mirror image of the front.

So, which do you prefer? Ready to try adding cute heart motifs to all your sprang items using this technique?

The trick to this technique is to mimic twining by working over the same threads twice. So on the first pass follow the same path as just one of the twined threads, going over/under each front or back sprang thread. On the second pass, work the opposite, going under/over each front or back sprang thread. Make sure that you alternate which side of the first pass thread you come up and go down on. So for instance: if you go down to the left of the first pass thread, come up on the right and so on.

Here is a bracelet I had already made that I added mock twining to as well.


While working on these heart motifs, I also worked up this fun twined pattern. It works up much quicker then the hearts since all the twined threads are always in use. Which means it also looks the same on the back as does the front!

Are you inspired to make your own sprang heart project? Or some other twined pattern? If you do, please share! Tag me on Instagram or Facebook: @solrhiza.arts

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