A New eBook: Weaving with Wool

  Sharon Alderman's Wool Swatch Collection

A wool swatch collection

by Sharon Alderman 

  Nell Snamierowski's Wool Samples
  Wool samples by Nell Znamierowski 
  Jane Patrick's Wadmal Vest
  Wadmal Vest by Jane Patrick

My first weaving was a sampler. The warp was 8/4 cotton carpet warp (orange) and the weft was Aunt Lydia’s rug yarn (army green). The yarns and colors were chosen by the teacher, whose intention was for us to learn how it all worked, not to produce a quality item. That was fine with me. I was more fascinated by how it all worked than I was interested in creating a beautiful product. I had my weaving dreams, but I didn’t expect to achieve them immediately (at least not in that class). Somehow, though, this orientation separated the weaving process from the materials themselves (to say nothing about their colors). I discounted how important they would come to be.

Since my focus was on the interlacement, even when I turned to the selection of materials and colors, I gave no thought to how they might be finished. My weaving dream was to weave coverlets (for a living!). After much struggle, I succeeded in producing doubleweave snowball-and-pine tree coverlets in wool yarns using a draw attachment on a countermarch loom. Both the yarn choices and the color choices were easy: coverlets were woven in wool in blue and white. Because my focus was on how it all happened, I was only interested in how the piece looked on the loom, which was when I decided whether or not it fulfilled my dream. Doing anything to them afterwards (such as “wash” them) was not an option. I sold them as “Dry Clean Only.” (I really didn’t intend for them to get dirty. Surely no one would USE them except for show and to save as heirlooms! With this in mind, I wrote messages on white bias tape with a permanent marker that I placed between the layers, imagining that hundreds of years hence, the coverlet might actually wear out, and someone would find my “message in a bottle.” To my credit, the message never said: How could you let this treasure wear out!)

It took about ten years as a weaver for me to discover that washing, or “wet-finishing,” almost always improves a woven fabric. I needed our newest Best of Handwoven eBook, Weaving with Wool! In addition to ten projects in wool that are each beautiful and unique in themselves, this eBook includes everything you need to know about weaving and wet-finishing wool fabrics. Articles by Sharon Alderman and Nell Znamierowski give instructions for samplers that teach color, weave structure, and design principles specific to wool. Laura Fry and Sharon Alderman focus on finishing techniques, including water temperature, degree of agitation, and how to determine the right amount of each. Even now, in bringing these articles together, I have discovered new tips that I’ve used in the last few weeks.

Projects in the eBook (on both four and eight shafts) include blankets, throws, and a coverlet, along with several vests, a pile-weave pillow and more. I hope you enjoy the process and the products you'll make with these great patterns.


Madelyn van der Hoogt

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