Lessons in Weaving Mastery

  Winter Celebration Runner

Sharon Alderman's Winter Celebration table
runner was inspired by the colors she
observed the morning after an overnight

I never took an actual class from her, but so much of what I know about weaving I learned from Sharon Alderman. Sharon was one of the earliest regular contributors to Handwoven magazine, and the conversations we had back and forth as each issue came together were oblique lessons in weaving mastery.

Use a finer weft thread for the hems of a towel, to reduce bulk. Skip a thread at the peaks of a point twill for a cleaner, sharper effect (called, by the way, Dornick twill). Thread a color stripe in warp-faced twill against a stripe of the same color in plain weave for an intriguing shadow effect. If takeup difference becomes a problem, weight the saggy warps off the back of the loom. These are just examples—every piece Sharon has ever designed for Handwoven or for one of her books is filled with these gentle suggestions that make the difference between good and wonderful.

You’ll see exactly what I mean if you take a look at Favorite Projects and Lessons from Sharon Alderman, part of our new Handwoven’s Master Weaver Collection of eBooks. Some of my favorites have to do with color choices. Sharon not only responds to color combinations in an acutely personal way, she also has the wits and knowledge to think through why some color relationships work on us in the way they do. You will look at shriveled rose hips and dried rose leaves against newly fallen snow with fresh eyes through the prism of her simple cotton-linen blend table runner. Black-capped chickadees. Cottonwood bark in early spring. She brings a world of color to your attention, and offers wisdom on how to apply it to your weaving.

It’s been a wonderful time trip for me to go through this new eBook and see projects and lessons going back thirty years and more in some cases. The designs are so fresh and timeless, the lessons so apt. I am gushing. Forgive me.


Linda Ligon

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