Huck Lace and Huck the Dog

  Scarf by Tom Knisely

I once wrote an article I called “Learning by Doing Everything Wrong.” That, unfortunately, is my customary MO. I think I’ve made just about every mistake a person can make with a loom. From thinking four shafts means four blocks to “fulling” a huck-lace scarf so it was a lot like a leather belt, I have learned most of my lessons “the hard way.”  

I also tend to be overconfident. Before I became a high school English teacher, I did a semester of “student teaching” as part of teacher training. I had a sublime experience. The students behaved, they were enthusiastic and funny and fun, and my overall impression was that teaching was a piece of cake. Then, the next year, instead of one high school class with the real teacher in the back of the room, l was the real teacher of six junior high school English classes and discovered that my student-teaching success was not because of me.

In the same deluded way I thought I was a natural teacher, I thought I was a natural dog trainer. That is because my first dog was a perfect dog. He loved people and he loved other dogs. He was even nice to cats. If I looked at him, he sat. If we went walking, he heeled. After his long and perfect life came to an end, I got another dog who looked just like him, but there the resemblance ended. When you do everything wrong in weaving, you can start over with a new warp. When you do everything wrong in dog training, you have a long time to wait before you can start over with a new dog.


Huck on Huck  
Huck the dog on huck lace  

Which brings us to huck. The article about doing everything wrong was about a huck lace project. That time, it wasn’t huck itself that was the problem, it was my overconfidence that I had enough heddles on shafts 1 and 2. But learning how to draft and design huck lace and eventually teach it was one of the most frustrating of all my weaving adventures. After the first huck workshop I taught, a student came up to me and said: “I don’t know how you can make something so easy sound so hard.” Part of the problem has to do with the significance of even shafts vs odd shafts and the positions of shafts 1 and 2 along with the fact that threading systems for huck over time have placed evens where odds usually are or shaft 2 where shaft 1 usually is, etc., etc. I don’t think you want to know too much about this. In my early days with huck, I thought it was the most beautiful and the most frustrating of all weave structures. Since those days coincided with my having the most beautiful and most frustrating dog, I named him Huck.

What I needed in those early days was for all huck threadings to follow the same rules and a clear understanding of what the rules actually were. I needed this eBook. It begins with an explanation of designing huck (in words that I hope make it sound as easy as it is!) and then includes a truly lovely array of projects, all with the same—now standard!—threading and treadling system. 

As a weave structure, huck can produce almost any type of fabric (maybe not rugs, though I’d be tempted to give them a try). Projects in this book (divided equally between four and eight shafts) include a lovely array of fabric types in many different materials: huck towels in thick, thirsty cotton, scarves in shimmering silk, and tablecloths, napkins, runners, and curtains in linen and cotton. There’s even a classy wool poncho. Huck is the perfect structure for summer weaving: light and lacy and fun and quick to weave with one shuttle. Just be sure to count your heddles first.


Madelyn van der Hoogt

Towels by Karen Tenney   Walker Scarf  
Towels by Karen Tenney   Scarf by Barbara Walker  


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