My first weaving lessons were 22 years ago. I learned to warp a rigid heddle loom, and a few log cabin pattern variations. The scratchy New England wool was in pink and magenta, two colors I famously avoid, and it was in the middle of a very hot, very dry summer. In the afternoons when the sun was too strong and there was no shade, I would prop my loom up against the cool brick chimney in the middle of the house and call my best friend. With the phone cradled between my shoulder and my chin we talked for hours and I wove… what what did I weave? A table runner? I don’t recall, I hated the color.
I didn’t try to weave again for another 10 years or so. When my Grandmother passed away, we found a rigid heddle loom in her basement and it reignited my interest. This is when I started accumulating information. I have less time for weaving then I would like—really, I have less time for any hobbies then I would like, so despite the fact that I first learned rigid heddle weaving about 22 years ago, my skill level is still pretty much “beginner.” Nevertheless, I continue to accumulate a library of references and resources for the hobbies I wish I had time to pursue. This is a little round up of my favorite books on weaving.
The first book I got when I was learning how to set up a rigid heddle loom as a teenager was Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Lin Davenport. This is a good starting point, a slim volume with a few basic projects and a few aspirational ones to get you inspired. This book has all of the basic information you need to get started and the trouble shooting section has been invaluable to me.
Where Hands On starts, The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick (co-founder of Schacht Spindle Company) picks up—this is a favorite, an indispensable resource for Rigid Heddle weaving, in the way that a good stitch dictionary is invaluable for a creative knitter or crocheter. Lots of ideas, good pictures and all the information you need to design your own first projects.
More recently I received a copy of Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom by Syne Mitchell, and it’s quickly become my favorite—the warping instructions are the clearest I have found, there is a good amount of detailed information to ensure that you get your project off to a good start, and it includes a detailed overview of the various methods and approaches to nearly available to a beginning or novice weaver. What is really exciting to me about this book is all of the interesting innovations in Rigid Heddle weaving it introduces—this book goes far beyond log cabin and rep weaves. It introduces additional heddles allowing one to create overshot and other techniques that I always thought were only possible with a 4-shaft loom—exciting stuff!
Are you a weaver? Are there any books we missed? Leave a comment below letting us know your favorite weaving books for little looms!