Satin’s etymology derives from the Silk Road, via Old French from Arabic zaytūnī ‘of Tsinkiang’, a town in China. It is a structure rather than a type of material. Satin is a dense, often lustrous and smooth. A float or fill structure, it does not have strong diagonal lines like twill. When designing satins, the goal is to avoid these directional lines in favor of a more randomized or scattered effect where all threads are regularly tacked down.
Satin normally follows a systematic naming structure. A single repeat in the drawdown of a 12-point satin will occupy a 12×12 grid. The most weft-faced of this family will be a 1-11 satin, where each pick will have one out of every 12 ends lifted. The most warp-faced will be an 11-1 satin, where eleven out of twelve ends will be raised. The family of 12-point satins has eleven different balances of warp and weft.
There are two iterations of a 1-11 satin, and these are really mirror images of each other. To construct each iteration, we need to find real integers smaller than 12, by which 12 is not divisible, and which cannot themselves be divisible by any factor of 12. The two integers that fit these characteristics are 5 and 7.
In Photoshop, open a 12×12 file window with a white background. Turn on the grid (⌘+’) and select the Pencil tool sized 1×1 and black. Pencil in the lower left pixel.
Count 5 pixels up from the first pencil mark, and fill in the pixel in the next column over. Repeat this counting up from each subsequent pencil mark, wrapping around to the bottom of the grid as necessary.
At the end of this process, you should have 12 pixels marked black, each one in a different row and a different column in the 12×12 grid. This is a 1-11 satin. To save this and use it as a pattern fill or overlay, go to Edit à Define Pattern, and name it “1-11 Satin”.
To create a 2-10 satin, use the magic wand (W) to select the black pixels, and then ⌘+J to create a new layer from the selection. Go to Filter à Other à Offset, and offset the layer by -1 pixel vertically. Make sure that “Wrap Around” is checked. Define this pattern as “2-10 Satin”.
Repeat this last step until the 12×12 grid has only 12 white pixels remaining, and define this last pattern as “11-1 Satin”. You should have 11 patterns defined; always one less than the number of squares in the grid’s width used to construct the structure.