A new addiction?

Weaving coverGiven the nature of my last two posts, in which I was blown away by the National Wool Museum, perhaps it’s fortuitous that I was sent a great book to review: Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom, by Syne Mitchell.

It looked interesting to me, with a great mixture of basic advice and more adventurous techniques, but I’m not a weaver.

OK, I was sent it a bit ago, but I knew we had a weaving day coming up at the Llyn Guild, so I wanted to run it past some of our experts – because, as I say, I’m not a weaver.


As soon as I produced it, several people pounced. One, a great weaver, already had it and pronounced it ‘excellent and inspirational’. The others went through it, checking various techniques, and then agreed. Then they asked that I could kindly donate my copy to the Guild library because, as they pointed out, I’m not a weaver.

We’ll see about that, because somehow it fell open at this:


It could be fate.

My first experience of weaving was at school, where our incredibly hearty RE teacher also taught weaving. (I’ve been trying to remember if she also wore sandals and socks and tie-dyed clothing, but I’m not sure about all of that. Sandals, yes, certainly – because I remember that she had very hairy toes and that I vaguely supposed she might be a hobbit. She also boomed like an ent.) I escaped the RE – my militantly ‘laïque’ father was quite willing to write me any kind of ‘daughter can’t possibly do that, we’e atheists / Jewish / pagans / blue with green spots’ letter that I requested – but was very keen on the weaving. Unfortunately it stopped too soon, almost as soon as the headmistress noticed, in the interests of more academic pursuits.

We did produce scarves, though not any as lovely as these:

and reading this book has made me remember how much I enjoyed the classes, tutorial booming and hairy feet aside. We were disciplined, though, made to weave organised checks or stripes, and improvisation was not allowed. But then, we were learning, so I suppose that’s fair enough. Now, of course, I wouldn’t have to be bound by such constraints. And neither is this book:

wild weaving

I’m open to its influence at the moment, because some of my friends are into Saori weaving and I just love the textures and colours and forms that they achieve. At last year’s Fibre and Fabric Fair in Harlech I was next to Rosie Green of Saorimor in Bangor, and was able to have a go (maybe I’ll be next to her at this year’s Fair too, but I might just give in before the end of July anyway). But something tells me that if I do succumb, I’ll need the pages in this devoted to troubleshooting:

book 3

so it probably won’t end up in the Guild library. But if it doesn’t, they are going to have to get one, because this is good. Very good.


8 thoughts on “A new addiction?

  1. Deb Olliff

    HI Kate. First of all, I apologize for a very long absence from commenting here. Long story made a tiny bit shorter: We are retiring to Orcas Island. Lots of work to get ready to move and I have semi-abandoned anything yarnish because I have been concentrating on my watercolors. BUT–that is changing because I miss my spinning wheel and making things out of yarn and the island will be perfect for that–especially in the colder months. We are not used to seasons here in San Diego, CA.

    Anyway, this particular post caught my eye. I have a 20″ Schacht table top loom that my hubby got me a million years ago. I made one funky wall hanging and then gave up. It was the warping process that slowed me down. I am very impatient and it just took too effing long. But every so often I get sort of interested again…like when I have to move it and contemplate selling it, but think “No…you might want to do this some day.”

    So this has inspired me. Thank you!
    Deb, the wayward spinner/knitter/someday weaver

    1. kate Post author

      Hi Deb,

      Good to hear from you again. The move sounds really exciting – seasons, hey! That should indeed be perfect for all things wooly, and you must absolutely NOT get rid of your loom. It is clearly meant to be!

      Seriously, this is a great book – lots of basics and then an equal ammount to inspire more committed weavers. Love that you don’t need a complex loom; a simple rigid heddle can produce goodies. Or it can if someone else does it, in my case. For the moment!

  2. Lydia

    Oh dear, now I think I am going to have to buy this book… perhaps it may even turn me into a weaver! Then, of course, I will be looking for a little Schacht Cricket Loom which will fit very nicely right in front of me here… and then… well need I go on? Even without being surrounded by hobbit feet – although, you never know!

    1. kate Post author

      Oh stop… just what I’ve been doing!

      Wonderwool Wales is soon (April 23-24), so I might just be having a little look…………

  3. Lydia

    Me again – I might add that I used to listen to Syne Mitchell’s wonderful podcast Weavecast now no more…. she used to write science fiction and it was on a science fiction writing course that she met her husband. She currently works for Google and is obviously a brilliant computer technician with enormous experience writing about and teaching weaving. She also ran her own online Weavezine. An interesting lady.

    1. kate Post author

      Wow, how interesting!

      I’m not surprised at the computing link at all – many years ago I was a baby bookseller and knitting a Fair Isle. Friend and fellow bookseller wandered past, came back, looked at my chart and asked me if I’d ever done any programming. I said no, that I was hopeless at maths. He gave me a very funny look and wandered off (to, eventually, a glowing career at Apple). Of course as soon as I did encounter coding I took to it immediately – what else is knitting?


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