Supplementary Weave Techniques


A supplementary warp design is called dta mok, and it can be used either alone or in combination with supplementary weft patterns. The supplementary weft patterns themselves differentiate into lai kit (continuous) and lai chok (discontinuous). Continuous yarn stretches from selvage to selvage, while with the discontinuous technique the yarn is added only in selected areas.


1.Dta Mok

The process of introducing supplementary warp yarns into the fabric is called dta mok. This is a particularly tricky technique due to the difficulty in maintaining tension in the warp while weaving. Heddles are used to raise the supplementary warp yarns, and various patterns are created, including dok chan (red sandlewood flower), dok keo (jasmine flower), and nak (river dragon).


1.Lai Kit – Continuous Supplementary Weft

For patterns in the weft, the warp yarns can be lifted in various ways to allow extra continuous yarns to pass through them. The design thus created is in addition to the plain weave yarns which hold the cloth in a continuous bond. The string heddles used for these often very complicated Lai Kit are never dismantled and can be bought and sold. Some weavers, having learnt the skill from their mothers, prepare their own heddles, while others may pay another weaver to prepare heddles for them. Knowledge of heddle preparation was passed down as a family heritage. If the heddle are not in use, they can be hung from the loom until needed.

2.Lai Chok – Discontinuous Supplementary Weft

Lai Chok is a decorating technique in which the supplementary weft yarns introduced are discontinuous and occupy only specific areas of the fabrics. These yarns are either threaded in by hand, lifting each warp yarn with a fine stick or porcupine quill, or they are arranged by using heddles which are continuously adjusted. Lai Chok is a favourite technique among the Tai Neua and other northern Lao groups whose patterns are very intricate. With Lai Chok, many colours can be combined in a complicated variety of traditional motifs.

The weaver lifting the warp yarns for Chok (discontinuous supplementary weave) with a flat pointed stick.  The supplementary weft yarns are passed through the warp yarns by hand.  The bow of bamboo in the foreground is stretching the shed to assist the work.  Hanging down below the shed are the supplementary weft yarns.


1. Example for Lai Kit (Continuous Supplementary Weave)

2. Example for Lai Chok (Discontinuous supplementary Weave)

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