How to Spot a Weaver in the Wild
There are few joys quite as lovely as discovering a fellow weaver some place unexpected. Suddenly a person who was a complete stranger becomes a new friend and you can laugh and talk about sleying and crosses and bumberet as others look on confused.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot weavers in the wild. Sports fans wear hats and jerseys to let others know that yes, they are fans of the Philadelphia Phillies or the Colorado Mammoths. Fans of various book, movies, and television shows can wear T-shirts and themed jewelry to express their love of Harry Potter or Star Trek. Fortunately there are ways you can send signals to your fellow weavers to announce your status as a fellow fiber fiend.
1. Adorn yourself in handwoven cloth: Make sure your wardrobe is full of handwoven statement pieces and wear them on a regular basis. These can be pieces you’ve woven, ones you’ve picked up at a guild sale, or international textiles. Weavers (myself included) cannot help themselves when confronted by some deflected doubleweave or an exquisite piece of Japanese shibori. We are like moths to a flame when it comes to beautiful handweaving.
2. Analyze cloth in public: Whenever I go to a history museum and I see handwoven cloth, I absolutely must speculate as to how it was woven. Whoever is with me (usually my) gets to listen to me muse about backstraps and pick-up sticks and how many shafts. Sometimes when I go into a boutique I’ll grab a scarf or shawl and try to figure out how it was woven and if I could recreate it at home. If there is another weaver within earshot, they will always come over to initiate a conversation and we end up having a lovely chat. So don’t be afraid to speculate about cloth in public, and out loud. You never know—it might land you a new friend!
3. Practice public acts of weaving: It’s no secret how much I love my pin loom, especially now that I can add toddler wrangler to my resume. My pin loom lets me weave pretty much anytime, anywhere. For example, while camping over Easter weekend I wove the last few squares for my pin-loom Easter bunny at our campsite’s picnic table. It was delightful to weave in the open air, with a lovely view of the mountains. It also made me realize I needed to start bringing my pin-loom out with me more places. Weaving in public doesn’t have to be limited to pin looms, though. If you have a pin-loom, a small frame loom, or even a little rigid-heddle loom (or want an excuse to buy one) bring it out to your favorite coffee shop, to the farmers’ market, or anywhere else you fancy and enjoy weaving outside the studio.
4. Accessorize strategically: When I go to yarns shops I’ll often bring either my wonderful vintage Handwoven tote bag (it says “Handwoven is my bag”) or the Handweavers’ Guild of America bag I received when I attended Convergence in 2014. These obviously and boldly proclaim: I am A Weaver! If you don’t have any branded accessories such as these, consider a few weaving themed pins. Now I’m not talking about a bit circular pin that says, “You have to be warped to weave” or something equally clever (although those are great). I’m talking about some beautiful enamel pins that can be works of art in their own right. I have a lovely one of a llama I purchased at the local farmers’ market that I keep on my diaper bag. While it might not be explicitly weaverly, it certainly showcases my love of fiber and fiber animals.
There you have it: a few good ways to signal to your fellow weavers and to spot them yourself. This list is also an excellent excuse to go out and buy yarn to weave some fabulous new scarves, go to that fair-trade sale and pick up that Peruvian backstrap-woven purse you’ve had your eye on, or to buy that pin loom you’ve wanted to try out for ages. It’s also a good reason to place an order on Interweave’s website where, for a limited time you’ll receive a free fiber-themed enamel pin with purchase.
PS: I have a quick update on my Easter weaving! The pin-loom bunny turned out wonderful. Not only was it easy to weave, it was just as easy to sew. All the pieces were joined using a simple whipstitch and they were so easy to cinch, fold, and roll into the shapes that eventually became the bunny and its little carrot. The bunny looked perfect with H’s Easter basket and I’m already planning my next pin-loom project from Zoo Crew!
Featured Image: Photo by Steve Hillebrand.