A New eBook: Weaving with Linen

I will never forget my introduction to weaving with linen. I threaded a linen warp on a borrowed Dorothy table loom for my first-ever weaving workshop. The workshop was held at The Weaver’s Store in Columbia, Missouri, the nearest big town to our very rural farm. (At the time, I mistakenly thought that every town had a Weaver’s Store, an impression that was reinforced by the Coupeville Spinning and Weaving shop when I moved to Coupeville twelve years later. If you are lucky enough to have a local weaver’s store, visit it today!)


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Towels by Sharon Alderman  

Runner by Tracy Kaestner

To this workshop (in the early 1980s), I drove my pristine 1955 salmon-pink and white Nash Rambler with continental kit, a not very appropriate vehicle for farmers that I had just inherited from my grandmother. I only mention it because I was sure something would happen to this collector’s car in a big city if I didn’t park where I could monitor it during the workshop. So I worked very hard to parallel park (not one of my skills; I will walk miles from a space that doesn’t require parallel parking) in a too-small space in front of the store. When I got out to check the position of the car, I was way too far away from the curb (more than two feet). I decided I’d better take the loom into the store and then go back to look for another parking space. I opened the door to the back seat with this in mind, and the loom fell out. At the same time, the brake released, shooting the three yards of linen warp into the wet, dirty gutter. The only other thing I remember about the workshop is that I didn’t have to weave on my warp at all. No one did. Everyone let me weave my samples on their looms. I came away thinking that parallel parking is hard, weaving with linen is easy, and weavers are wonderful.


Ever since that mixed experience, I have loved linen. Linen fabrics have an indescribable drape. I’ve tried to think of words for it—that certain heavy, drapey, smooth, almost slinky feel, and I can’t come up with any that truly match. Linen, however, has a reputation for being hard to warp and weave with—maybe from those who have tried to use very fine singles linen with its tendency to twist and fray and break. If you’ve been afraid of weaving with linen, here is a new eBook to get you started. Warping and weaving tips by linen expert Linda Heinrich will be your Linen Handbook and “Weaving with Linen without Tears” by Lynn Tedder will add to its gifts. 


Placemats by Kathryn Wertenberger

Runner by Suzie Liles

And twelve absolutely beautiful projects will inspire you to start your linen journey (or add to it if you are already on one of your own). They include lace weaves, waffle weave, log cabin, twill­, overshot, and leno—and more than half are on four shafts. All of them show off the sheen and hand of linen yarns. Most use only one shuttle, so warping and weaving are quick. Consider table runners and/or towels in linen for your next guild sale, for example. Linen has the same mystique for the public as it does for weavers. And lucky for weavers, linen is available in an amazingly varied range of colors. 


I like to think that in this day of internet access, eBooks like this can play the role that weavers did in my first workshop­­—lifting you over hurdles straight to the joys of weaving.



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