A Heddle of Weavers

Recently a parliament of owls stopped by some trees near the Interweave office building. I didn’t get to see these owls in person, but I did get to see the fantastic photos taken by our in-house photographer, George Boe. Looking at the photos, I was delighted, but it got me thinking. Weavers and birds have a lot in common. Don’t believe me? Please allow me to elucidate.

First, we know that birds often travel in flocks. We even have delightful terms for specific groups of birds including the aforementioned parliament of owls, a charm of hummingbirds, and a flamboyance of flamingos. While there isn’t a specific term for a grouping of weavers (yet), we definitely like to hang out together where everyone speaks the same language in our guilds and study groups. We also travel in flocks to events such as Yarn Fest and Convergence. On the rare occasion that we spot another weaver outside of our normal habitats (yarn shops and fiber festivals), we get very excited.


Photos by George Boe

Nearly all species of birds build nests—it’s a primal instinct, a compulsion, if you will, to weave twigs together to create something wonderful. Birds literally surround themselves with weaving as a matter of survival. Weavers feel similarly. When we get a good idea for a scarf or a set of towels, we just have to put a warp on the loom and make our dream projects a reality. Weaving is part of our DNA and who we are. I don’t think I could give up weaving any more than a robin could choose to skip making a nest this season.

Certain species of birds are notoriously attracted to lengths of string and shiny objects. They just can’t seem to help themselves and have to pick these bits and bobs up and use them in their weaving. Similarly, many of us can’t pass a new yarn shop without stopping to take a peek—and leave with a souvenir skein or two. We love shimmery, shiny silks and Tencels, and many of us can’t turn down yarn with a hint of glitter, tinsel, or even sequins.

While there are more similarities I could come up with, I’m going to end with this wonderful bit of trivia. Did you know that crows use hooked tools to get into small areas, just like we weavers use our sleying hooks to get into those tiny heddle holes? It’s true! Only instead of lovely threads, the crows are more likely to pull out grubs or ants.


Owliver Hooter, one of the many wonderful weaving patterns from the Zoo Crew eBook.

I hope you enjoy the owl photos as well as my silly musings, and I would absolutely love to know what you think a flock of weavers should be called. Our copy editor Katie suggested “a heddle of weavers” and while that name makes me smile, I’d love to hear more ideas! Feel free to send your suggestions to handwoven@interweave.com. And of course, if you’re interested in weaving your own little owl, make sure to check out our new Owliver Hooter, one of the many wonderful weaving patterns from the Zoo Crew eBook!

Happy weaving,

Featured Image: A parliament of owls recently spotted outside the Interweave offices. PHOTOS BY GEORGE BOE

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