And So She Weaveth Steadily
There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson
from The Lady of Shallott
|The Lady of Shallot getting distracted
and tangled in her yarn; something
at least a few of us can relate to.
In Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Victorian ballad, the Lady of Shalott lives in a tower near Camelot but is doomed never to look directly at the outside world. Instead, she weaves images of the world while looking in a mirror. I sometimes feel a little like the Lady, when I try to visualize the diversity of our readers and to choose the weaving news, articles, and projects that will best serve your needs. Fortunately, and unlike the poor weaverly fairy, there are many ways to see our worldwide weaving community—at conferences, through the guild newsletters that you send us, through your blogs, and through groups and sites such as Weaving Today, Complex Weavers (with its WeaveTech group), Weavolution, and the Warped Weavers on Ravelry.
Several months ago, I invited you to participate in a survey of our Weaving Today members, and you responded enthusiastically. I promised to share the results, for the benefit of weavers, teachers, guilds, and our beloved vendors, so here they are. I’ll hold up the mirror and you, like the Lady (but much more happily) can look in it to see another glimpse of our weaving world.
First, we have a lot of experience in our community. More than half of us (52%) have been weaving more than ten years. The second largest group of readers (15.5%) has been weaving between one and three years. We are about equally divided between 4-shaft and 8-shaft loom owners, about a quarter of us have table looms, and 16% have looms with 12 shafts or more. Of the floor looms, jack looms are in the majority (42%), with countermarch and counterbalance both around 15%. Non-harness-looms are also well represented in our community. Around 40% of us also have rigid heddle looms and/or inkle looms, and around a quarter of us have pin looms.
|According to the survey, weavers
love making napkins and placemats
like these by Kate Lange McKibben
from the March/April 2012 issue.
Our favorite things to weave are scarves, shawls, wraps, and home décor such as table runners. We also like towels and rugs; cut-and-sewn garments not so much, and this is not surprising, given that the most common answer to the question “What do you sew with your handwoven fabric?” was “I sew hems.”
We are cross-crafters (which gives us so many more options for using stash, and so many more excuses for acquiring it). Three-quarters of us knit, almost 60% sew, more than half also spin and hand dye, and around a third crochet, felt, embroider, and/or quilt.
You also affirmed that you look to Handwoven for articles on weaving techniques, for project and design ideas, and for news of our worldwide weaving community. Of course, given our diversity, it’s not surprising that some of us want more simple projects and techniques while some want more complex ones, some want more rigid-heddle articles and some want more 12-shaft and up, some want to concentrate on weave structures while some want to branch out with other textile techniques . . .
I am no magical being out of legend, so a clear view of our little Camelot does not freeze my blood but, rather, quickens it. We are a vibrant group, and, with your help as contributors and readers, with your criticism or applause, your Handwoven team will strive on to make the magazine mirror your thirst for knowledge and beauty, your wide-ranging interests, your energy, and your enthusiasm. I thank each and every one of you for sharing your thoughts.