Becoming A Weaver

Last time I wrote I shared my first weaving project and promised to come back and share the resources I used to get started weaving. I like to learn concepts by reading and techniques by illustration or video so my list below includes a combination of both.

cover of the book inventive weaving on a little loom. shows a small loom with a yellow weaving project on it as well as inset photos of 5 different weaving patterns.

I began with the book Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom by Syne Mitchell based on the recommendations of the rigid heddle weaving group on Ravelry and I am glad that I did. This book is a thorough explanation of how weaving works, the different parts of weaving structure, how to set up and use your loom for plain weave and various different patterns and how to troubleshoot issues. This is a reference that I will continue to refer back to when I try a new technique or need to refresh my memory on an old one. The book includes a number of projects at the end to introduce the techniques from the book and I have several dog-eared to come back to.

The second resource I used to get started and weave even my first swatches was Liz Gipson’s Yarnworker School. To be honest, I usually do not like to watch courses on crafting because I find they move too slowly for me – I want to see the 30 seconds of the video that demonstrate the technique and then move on with my life. But I truly enjoyed the Weaving 101 course from Liz and went on to view some of the older weave-a-long videos to learn some of the methods from those projects. The videos are to the point but not rushed and I appreciated seeing things done one way by Liz and another way by Syne in her book – it was healthy for me to see early on that there are multiple approaches and I can try them out and see what works best for me or the situation. I continue to get Liz’s newsletter and learn from her weaving geekery, and would happily enroll in future courses from her.

cover of the book weaving within reach. features a pair of hands tucking in strands of yarn on a project as well as a cup of tea, scissors, and a fluffy ball of yarn to create a cozy feel.

The second book I read was Weaving Within Reach by Anne Weil, which is written to include projects ranging from loomless to simple DIY looms to rigid heddle. It is photographed like a coffee table book, with cozy scenes around the woven objects you will create. This book covered some specific weaving structures I would like to try out on my rigid heddle loom, but on the whole is not designed to teach how to weave on that kind of loom. I bookmarked more projects in this book than the first, things like a bento bag made of twill tape or a sweet rabbit lovey made from fabric you weave and then sew into shape.

cover of intermediate SAORI clothing design. it shows a shirt made of handwoven fabric with green stripes put on a dressform in front of a fuzzy wooded background.

In looking at weaving projects on Ravelry for inspiration, I was quickly drawn to the handwoven clothing projects. I have not been able to find a ton of resources for these kind of projects, they seem to mostly come from the brains of the crafters. I did find the book Intermediate SAORI Clothing Design by Kenzo Jo helpful in learning the general principles I am after in tackling these projects on my own. The projects come sized for the 5’4″ 120lbs average Japanese woman so they won’t fit me as drafted, but they cover the geometry involved in each garment and how to plan to cut a neck hole or sew a hem, etc, so I can use the information. The garments are all simple shapes with minimal seaming so they are not hard to size up or down. I was incredibly inspired by the clothing in this book. It’s all sewn from Saori fabric, which I find incredibly beautiful. I am really hoping to make myself a handwoven tank this summer and am currently torn between going off an indie clothing pattern or designing my own based on the concepts in this book.

And that ends the recap of the resources I began my rigid heddle weaving journey with. Since then I was given a lovely little inkle loom and have begun playing with that, so there are definitely more weaving posts ahead this summer as I continue to learn this new craft. I would love to hear any resources I left out that you recommend – please share them in the comments below!

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