The Joy of Weaving

As somebody who loves cooking, I treasure my collection of recipe cards. Some come from friends and families, others were carefully copied from magazines, and more recently many come from cooking blogs. In her post, frequent Handwoven contributor Sarah H. Jackson talks about her love of collecting recipes for both cooking, and—of course—weaving.  —Christina


Spacer 5x5 pixels Atwater Bronson Lace Vest

Sarah's beautiful Atwater-Bronson lace

vest uses one of the patterns found in 

A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns.

My mother was a fabulous cook, but when I got married my culinary repertoire consisted of chocolate chip cookies, pizza out of a box (remember Jeno's—the little can of sauce, the package of herbs & parmesan?), pie crust (which Mom insisted I learn to make for the bake sales that seemed never-ending in high school), and fried eggs (which I mastered knowing my fiancé considered them a breakfast staple).

Mom's philosophy was that when I had a good reason to cook (love!) I would learn all I needed to know. The Joy of Cooking was a wedding gift, and I spent hours reading and studying the how-to sections for everything from bread to zabaglione. As my competence as a cook increased, so did my collection of cookbooks and recipes shared by friends and family. These recipes—some handed down for generations, one "secret" cheesecake recipe, plus many family favorites—are a prized collection, and I value them especially for their connection to people I've known and loved.

Five years ago I bought an 8-shaft loom, and it wasn't long before I also bought a copy of A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns . . . which reminds me in some ways of my recipe collection. Editor Carol Strickler deemed it "the ultimate pattern swap: some two hundred and fifty readers of Handwoven magazine, dedicated and skillful weavers all, created samples and drafts to share."

Like a collection of the best recipes from great cooks, it's proven to be an invaluable resource. And as with my first cookbook, I've relished reading and studying, wondering, and dreaming about the weaves within. Many have found their way onto my loom and some have become favorites; diversified plain weave, turned Atwater-Bronson lace, shadow weave, and undulating twill. Fresh ideas and inspiration present themselves every time I open the book. Guided by the experience and expertise of those weavers who contributed their "recipes" and Carol Strickler's clear discussions of the various weave structures, I know many delicious discoveries lie ahead.

—Sarah H. Jackson

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