First, you don’t need to. 🙂 Drafts are for more complicated looms with shafts, and the instructions in patterns for rigid heddle weaving are usually just written in text. You can ignore the little drawings. However, if you are like me and curious about it anyway because you found that great free resource online for weaving drafts, (third link below), here is some very basic info to help you out.
There’s no reason to go over what has been said before, so I refer you to this blog where the basics of reading them have already been explained, then I will elaborate:
After reading this page, I understood way more than before, but still needed a little more help.
After finding this example below, it all became clear. This is the weaving draft drawing for your typical plaid, (which, if you have a loom, you have probably already made). You would get this by warping alternating blocks of 2 different colors. For example, 4 strands green (using both slots and holes), 4 strands white, repeat. Then when you weave the weft, 4 “picks” (or rows), one color, 4 picks the other color, repeat. This is what that looks like in a draft drawing:
So you can see from this, you warp your loom following the skinny line at the top with green and white. It tells you 4 green, 4 white, (putting one thread through each slot and each hole), repeat. The skinny line at the right tells you the order for the weft (4 white, 4 green, repeat). Now look at the black and white blocks below and to the left of the skinny lines. The bellwether told you that this is the number of strands and that one row can be slots and one row holes. So whenever you have a draft that looks like this one with only two rows, with one black block and one white block alternating in a single checkerboard, this tells you that you only need one strand of yarn in each slot and one in each hole, (how you would normally thread your rigid heddle loom). So when looking at a draft, if you see that, you know you can now then ignore all of the checkerboards. Just warp across, following the colors in the skinny line at the top, putting them in both slots and holes, in order.
Now that you know this, here is a page with some of these types of drafts, (that great free resource):
I found a good selection of ones with 2 rows of black and white alternating single squares by clicking “draft search” and selecting “Min Shafts 2, Max Shafts 2, Max Treadles 2”, then select the book “A Handbook of Weaves (G.H. Oelsner)”, then click “Search by Book(s)”. (You can of course search any way you like, but there’s a start.)
If you find a draft that has 2 rows, so you know you can do it on your rigid heddle, but has more than one black block or white block in a row, this is going to get more complicated, you would need more than one strand in a hole or slot. (This is also what Ask the Bellwether was talking about. As she mentions, you will have to keep in mind how thickly packed you want your fabric to get, and you may want a heddle with more or less spaces per inch.)
Looking at this one may help explain: http://www.handweaving.net/PatternDisplay.aspx?PATTERNID=52376 Here you see by the skinny lines that the whole warp is all green, and the whole weft is all white. You need 2 green warp threads to raise and 2 to lower for each row when you raise or lower your heddle. You can see by this draft that there are 2 black blocks alternating with 2 white blocks to show you this instead of a single one-by-one checkerboard pattern. You can achieve this on the rigid heddle loom by putting 2 green warp threads in each slot and 2 in each hole, then weaving the entire weft with 2 white on each row.
The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick has shown that you can do more rows of black and white blocks on drafts using a 2nd heddle and pick up sticks, so there is hope for such drafts if you really have your heart set on it. Her book is not really about drafts, and I haven’t played with doing anything from a draft that complicated, only followed her text written instructions in the book for doing things with pick up sticks. So I can’t say any more about that, as I really have not wrapped my brain around it. But hopefully this information helps you get the beginnings of understanding at least the free online drafts if you are interested.