The Best Tool on the Shelf
| Christina's very well used copy of
The Weaver's Companion in its place
of honor, surrounded its friends.
Sometimes it seems as if weavers have an endless array of tools to choose from. We have hooks for threading the heddles and ones for threading the reed. We have temples to fit just about any project size and reeds to fit most any yarn. We have fringe twisters, bobbin winders, and all sorts of other goodies to choose from.
While I’m terribly grateful for all the gadgets that make warping go quicker and weaving go smoother, my favorite tool a small spiral-bound book. Even though I spend each and every day reading and writing about weaving, there’s a lot I don’t know and plenty I may have known at one point, but now can’t remember. For all of those pesky little unknowns, I have The Weaver’s Companion.
It’s like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy except for weavers (and much more accurate). It has all those useful little bits of information that don’t always stick. Want to know how large to weave a casual napkin versus a formal napkin? That’s on page 40. Best temperature for washing different fibers? Page 84. How do you tell the difference between fibers using a burn test? Check pages 28–9.
I love this little book so much it has a place of honor on the shelf directly behind my loom. It’s always kept where I can easily grab it to remind myself how to fix a broken warp string, which, honestly, happens to me so often that I really ought to know this by now, but I don’t. I just grab a T-pin (that much I remember) and turn to page 77.
The Weaver’s Companion is straightforward and to the point. Sergeant Joe Friday would love this book because it’s "just the facts" (ma’am). I don’t have to search paragraphs for a buried bit of information; if the table of contents tells me that instructions on changing wefts is on a certain page, I know I will find what I need on that page under a bold heading that says “Changing Wefts.”
I’m still a very new weaver, so maybe there will come a day when I will know by heart how to estimate sett or how many grams are in an ounce—but I doubt it. (Even after years of cooking I still cannot remember at what temperature one ought to bake a potato or how long to broil salmon.) For all these little things (well, not the bit about the potato or fish) I have The Weaver’s Companion.