Why We Love Tom Knisely
There are few things in this world that you can get all or even most weavers to agree on, with one glaring exception: Tom Knisely and his wonderful work in the weaving community. My very first assignment when joining Handwoven to was to interview Tom after he won Weaving Teacher of the Year.
I soon learned why Tom won that award: he stands out as a truly exceptional teacher. If the ability to radiate warmth while teaching weaving to absolute beginners is absolute magic, then Tom is a wizard—he’s basically the Gandalf of weaving. Everyone I’ve met who has been lucky enough to take a class with Tom has told me variations on the same stories. He’s endlessly kind and patient. He makes learning to weave fun—and learning to weave should be fun because weaving is fun. Tom’s students adore him, and after hearing their stories it’s easy to see why.
I have never had the joy of getting to take a class from Tom in person. (While I get to write about wonderful classes around the country, deadlines make it difficult to travel to said classes.) So I am forever grateful for each and every video workshop Tom has made with us. I still remember watching The Loom Owner’s Companion for the first time, where he walks weavers through four different types of looms. I still use his method of figuring out if a draft is meant for a sinking- or rising-shed loom: If the tie-up uses Os, they are balloons and the shed rises; if it uses Xs, they are anchors and it sinks. It’s so simple but it works! There are many, many examples of his helpful tips in all his videos, from Weave a Good Rug to Learn to Weave and every title in between.
Weaving teachers are an amazing and vital part of our community. They create new weavers and they help confirmed weavers grow and develop on our weaving journeys. They give us their knowledge and their patience in the hopes that we will explore further on our own. Good teachers make a world of difference and help to keep weaving not just alive but vibrant and thriving. Tom Knisely isn’t just a good teacher—he is spectacular. I am so grateful he is a part of our community and an ambassador for all things weaving.