Do People Misunderstand Your Weaving?

Are you a weaver who gets no respect? Are you tired of people misunderstanding your weaving? You aren’t alone. Here are my top 10 reasons for believing the non-weaving world doesn’t get it. I bet there are many more. Send some to me!

  1. While I was demonstrating weaving at a county fair, a mother came by with two little kids. I was startled when I heard her tell the kids that I was knitting. I don’t like to correct parents in front of their children, so I bit my lip and tried to gently lead her in the right direction.
  2. An acquaintance of mine frequently asks me if I was still doing that “knitting thing.” I’ve run out of replies, besides “Yes, I knit, but I self-identify as a weaver.”
  3. People who use of the word “looming” to refer to weaving. Looming is a word—just not the word the user means.
  4. Likewise, the use of the word “weaving machine.” It’s a loom! You just don’t “loom” on it. You can loom over it, but that’s a completely different activity.
  5. People who say weaving looks too complex, too repetitious, too tedious, too whatever, for them to enjoy. (Really? What does that say about me?)
  6. Organizations that ask me to demonstrate weaving (for free!) and then expect me to wear a colonial costume. I don’t work at Colonial Williamsburg, with a closet full of period clothing. I did have a girl-crush on Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was eleven, but I have a cellphone, drive a car, use a computer, and have never lived without running water.
  7. weaving: Colonial Weaving: Credit: John Dominis / Stringer

    circa 1950: A woman working at a reconstructed weaving loom from colonial times. This would supply the family with its own cloth, in another part of the house there was usually a spinning wheel to supply thread for the loom. (Photo by John Dominis/Three Lions/Getty Images)

  8. Non-weavers who think using a computer as part of my design process is cheating. Do they think it’s cheating to use a word processor for writing?
  9. Friends and family who think the handwoven towel I gave them is too good for them to use. Why would I weave a towel that is too good to use? My response: “Use it or give it back. If it wears out, I’ll weave another.”
  10. Non-weavers who believe guilds are part of an antiquated system. Perhaps the system is old, but today’s guilds are one of the best things going. For a minimal fee, guild members get a year’s worth of interesting programs and workshops, community, and fun.
  11. People who tell me that they can buy what I make by hand on my loom, from a big box store. I’ve got news for them: they can’t.

Share your experiences of dealing with the non-weaving world. I’d love to hear them! Send them to [email protected].
Weave well,

Featured Image: Weaving on loom with shuttle Credit: Lokibaho. Getty Images.

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  1. Cathy M at 10:48 am May 10, 2017

    Great article. Quite a few of your items are due to plain ignorance. I did make a set or towels for my sister, who decided they were too nice to use as such and uses them as placemats. I can’t imagine how dorky that looks. So I told her I can never make her any more towels because they will never get used.

  2. Kathleen F at 11:51 am May 10, 2017

    Hi Susan,
    I totally agree with you. When I participated at a market for handmade products the other day, there was an elderly man who was a good humoured fellow with absolutely no idea of weaving. He was captivated by my small pouches. “And the wonderful fabric for your pouches you’ve bought in a drapery store?” he asked me wondering why all my products are so expensive. I swallowed.
    Well, since I work with children and adolescents I’m used to school myself in patience. I replied amiably that the fabric can’t be bought anywhere, that I made it myself. To my surprise this led directly to a purchase. Big luck for me – that was the first positive reaction I’ve ever experinced.

  3. Lisa R at 1:11 pm May 10, 2017

    If a parent makes an error in terms, ignore the parent, and offer the child an opportunity to sit at the loom to learn how to weave. Or if they would like to learn how to knit (and pull out your knitting needles.) Bring a few potholders made on a hand square loom. Have one ready to finish off for a child to complete and take with them.
    When demo spinning I always had someone sit down and have them do some spinning.

    You had a great opportunity to teach. Carpe Momentum.

  4. Dianna R at 7:54 am May 11, 2017

    Years ago when I was in a Renaissance Faire I used news paper to wrap between my threads on the back beam. As I was weaving away the news paper would drop when I advanced my thread. A little boy was watching fascinated. I was so happy he was enthralled until he said “Wow, I have never see anybody make news paper before”. Needless to say he ran away while my mouth was still open.

  5. Virginia P at 7:31 am June 2, 2017

    I taught myself to weave 4 years ago (Turning 66 in July). Have to admit I’ve never made a towel – just shawls and blankets. I was showing a neighbor what I’ve made over the years (while babysitting 3 grandchildren who live with me full time). Her eyes fell on a yak/silk shawl and she said how her mother would really like it. I will pay you for it, she said. What do you think – $50? I remained silent thinking of the cost of the yarn not to mention my labor…we settled on a price. Her mother absolutely loved the shawl. Later, my neighbor apologized for the low offer

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