book review: Weaving Made Easy

While I’ve collected and read books about weaving for over a decade, my practical weaving experience isn’t as extensive. I consider a well written book on how to weave a valuable addition to my library. When I found myself the owner of a 15″ Cricket from Schacht Spindle Co this past June, I was thankful I had convinced the publisher to send me a review e-copy of Liz Gipson‘s book, Weaving Made Easy Revised and Updated: 17 Projects Using a Rigid-Heddle Loom. It was a very valuable resource throughout my first experience in warping a rigid heddle (I’ve warped a 4-shaft table loom) and has remained so as I begin my weaving adventures on my new loom.

This book begins with explanations of the common terminology found in weaving from parts of the loom to what the weird (to most knitters) fractions are on yarn cones. In addition, Liz explains how to calculate how much yarn will be needed for a particular project. In the back of the book you can find this information again in condensed form with project planning cards, a warping checklist, sett chart, and project planning sheets.

It is in warping where I found Liz’s book to be the most valuable. Her instructions and the accompanying photos are clear and straightforward. The tips answered the questions that ran through my head as I worked methodically through direct warping and beginning to weave. The tips helped make sure I didn’t do something silly, such as succumb to the desire to pet and comb my warp! Sadly the photos I took of this first warping are all blurry or don’t help tell the story of what is happening. I’d hoped to do a side by side of book photo & my photo as that’s how I checked what I was doing. Here are a few examples from the book (used with permission) to explain what I relied upon to warp successfully and quickly.

If you aren’t interested in direct warping, don’t despair! Indirect is also covered with the same full attention to detail. Liz recently posted an even more in-depth tutorial about how to maintain the cross on her blog.

With the guidance found in Weaving Made Easy and also inspiration found in Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving, The Weaver’s Companion, and The Weaver’s Idea Book, three books I purchased years ago, I’ve made progress on being (mostly) consistent in my beating and working through some basic including a few lace techniques.

Unfortunately other work has interfered and I’ve not yet completed two things I’d wanted to do before I finished and posted this review.

I’ve not finished my first warp! My foster kitten Maddie helped me the other day and pointed out all the errors I was making as I tried to quickly work through the last couple of inches. So I listened to her advice and slowed down to pay attention to my technique.

I’ve also not had a chance to build a stand. Yes, I can quickly purchase one and assemble it, but well, I want to build one. The wood has sat in the garage waiting for me to clear my schedule. Thankfully wood can be patient.

Here are a few projects I hope to make:

Designs shown include: Fully Loaded Scarf, Piping Hot Pillows, Bamboo Obi, No Two Alike Napkins, Leno Runner, and Brookes Bouquet Shawl. I think the No Two Alike Napkins will be the next warped project. I’ll need to pick up some 8/2 unmercerized cotton first but it would be nice to have special and new napkins for Rosh Hashanah.

Several friends have moved house in the past few months so I’m looking forward to Liz’s next book on a handwoven home for ideas and inspiration.

I’ve read many weaving books over the years. This is one I believe belongs on your shelf whether you’ve been weaving for less than 10 minutes or more than 10 years and every bit in-between. There are valuable tips throughout the volume. Many thanks to Interweave/F+W for providing a review e-copy of this title (and extreme patience as I took 3 months to post this). All opinions are mine.

weaving-made-easy-coverWeaving Made Easy Revised and Updated: 17 Projects Using a Rigid-Heddle Loom
by Liz Gipson
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

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