Floor Wax or Dessert Topping?

Sample, Jane Patrick, Weaver's Idea Book  
All Together Now combines materials,
colors, and structure in a playful way.
 

Do you remember the classic Saturday Night Live skit where Gilda Radner and friends advertised Shimmer, an amazing product that was both a floor wax AND a dessert topping? Some things are so good they're just hard to categorize, and Jane Patrick's new The Weaver's Idea Book is one of those things. The subtitle is "Creative Cloth on a Rigid Heddle Loom," but that also fails to describe this surprising and friendly book.

In the beginning, Jane, a former editor of Handwoven and now Creative Director for Schacht Spindle Company, explains that she wrote the book in response to the oft-heard lament that one can weave only plain weave on a rigid heddle loom. She succeeds admirably in proving the potential of rigid-heddle weaving, exploring everything from color-and-weave, finger-manipulated weaves, and supplementary warps and wefts to double weave using two rigid heddles. (And her text and resources section give appropriate credit to Betty Davenport and others who have taught and written about rigid heddle weaving.)


 
  Projects include weaving tips and complete
sewing and finishing instructions.

But this is more than a book about rigid heddle: it is, as the name implies, an idea book to delight any weaver who likes to mix it up and create something totally their own.  Jane skillfully and playfully explores mixtures of materials, color and texture, space and structure, shrinkage and deflection to create extraordinary cloth. How far can you take leno? “Leno, the Jane Variation” gives it a new twist. Or what if you wrap Brooks bouquet with a contrasting-color warp thread or a ribbon? What effects can you get by mixing color-and-weave effects and floats? The section on hemstitching alone is worth adding the book to your library, and you’ll see its value for much more than hems. Who knew? Many of the patterns have drafts for floor looms along with the rigid heddle directions. (BTW, if this inspires you to go exploring, please drop by the Weaving Today community site and share pics or regale us with your exploits in one of the Handwoven study groups, rigid heddle or otherwise.) 


 
Learn two-heddle techniques with clear directions and photos.  

The ideas in this book range from weaving structures to pretty and practical projects, complete with all the information you need to finish them after the weaving is done. The Rag Bag Threesome has great pictures and directions for making sewn gussets and rope handles, and the Country Girl/City Girl Apron has detailed sewing directions. Finally, Jane strews the book with pearls of sage advice for every weaver. My favorite, and one I have learned to my sorrow: sampling does you no good unless you write down what you did. (Now how did I make this, again?)


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