My Weaving Library

Lisa Hill is the newest member of the Handwoven tech editing team, and a skilled and passionate weaver. Here she is to tell you about her very personal relationship with her weaving library. ––Anita

Lisa's book of 8-Shaft Patterns  
Lisa's much loved copy of "Strickler"

I have a lot of books. I think I have thousands of books. I have been collecting (accumulating) treasured books since childhood. My books mean a lot to me. But I have noticed something lately—dust. My cookbooks look like they could be at Miss Havisham’s. Those shelves of novels are looking a little grey, and the previously much-thumbed art books are looking forlorn as well. Am I a spotty housekeeper? Um, Yes. Is technology separating me from my reading life? Well, maybe. But there is a miraculously dust-free library in my house. My weaving library. Not only is it dust free, it is often unshelved, piled, bookmarked, sticky-noted and clearly in action.

I was organizing my (always overstuffed) shelves of weaving books recently for inputting into my LibraryThing and BookCrawler accounts (ask me if my non-weaving books have received such treatment) when I noticed a couple of particularly porcupine-y volumes. By porcupine-y I mean volumes bristling with bookmarks and sticky notes, books that have been read and marked and re-read and lent and retrieved from enthusiastic friends. 

And I noticed that “Strickler” was one of them. I hear Strickler often in my guild and among my weaving friends. Strickler refers (as you probably know) to Carol Strickler’s A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns, and it is one of the core books in my weaving library. It is one of a select few that received the honor of a book plate designed by my print-maker son. I felt a momentary twinge looking at the frayed edges of “Strickler” and some of my other favorites, but then I remembered something Anne Fadiman wrote.

  Elisabeth's Custom Nameplate
  Lisa's son designed this custom book plate for her.
Her copy of Strickler is one of the few books in her 
collection honored with this identifier.  

Anne Fadiman, author of Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, identifies two different types of book lovers, the “courtly” and the “carnal.” Courtly book lovers treat the book as a sacred object; carnal lovers have a more physical relationship with books— folding down pages, underlining, highlighting, and writing marginalia. Having a conversation with the book and author. I am clearly in the “carnal” camp.

So, instead of fretting about the dog ears and the scuffed covers, I am hoping that the hard use continues, that my conversations with Strickler and my other weaving books continue, and that new books keep coming to keep the conversation lively.


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