book review: Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom

What sets an introductory book apart from the rest? Clear photos and comprehensive information that prove useful long after the basics are mastered, Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom is one of those special titles.

As expected, all the steps needed to begin successful weaving are covered in the first three chapters, from choosing your first rigid-heddle loom to learning how to identify, troubleshoot, and fix common issues after you’ve calculated the yardage, warped the loom, and started weaving. From there the full potential of the loom is gradually revealed; Mitchell covers colour theory, working with different types of fancier weave structures both slow (leno, tapestry, and weft-pile, to name a few), and fast (floats and working with double or triple heddles), and creating effects with materials that aren’t often considered weaver’s standard repertoire, including creating e-textiles with wire and LEDs. If all of this wasn’t enough for the volume, the appendix covers loom maintenance, working with the cloth, and additional information in further reading and online resources.

In general, I’m wary of books that claim to be useful for both beginners and those comfortable with skill. Mitchell has gathered together a range of material and presented it in a way that I believe works for those new to weaving and those who are comfortable and confident at the loom. Why? The organization of the content, clear photos, and interspersed reference materials (charts, worksheets, and yes formulas) make it a joy to read cover-to-cover and also easy to turn to while weaving and looking for ways to either fix issues or prevent them in the first place. For example, in the third chapter, Get Weaving, the photos that explain issues with selvedges are clear and show not just the problems, but also ways to correct them. Personally I found the LED bookmark to be my favourite project and it has sparked ideas for several e-textile projects, I need to make some time for them at my loom and find my bobbin of conductive thread.

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While the information within Inventive Weaving can be found over several other titles published over the past few years by different authors, it is nice to see a range of weaving information in one volume that could be kept by the loom for quick reference. Syne Mitchell has packed several weaving courses into this book and it deserves a place on every weaver’s bookshelf whether they are on their first warp or experienced and looking to take this oft-overlooked loom to new places.

Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom: Discover the Full Potential of the Rigid-Heddle Loom, for Beginners and Beyond Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom: Discover the Full Potential of the Rigid-Heddle Loom, for Beginners and Beyond
by Syne Mitchell
Storey; $29.95

NetGalley generously provided a copy of this title for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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