Thirty Years of Handwoven

  This woven overshot table mat by Janice Jones is absolutely timeless.
imageplaceholder Christina Garton
Editor, Weaving Today

As a young weaver it’s hard to imagine a time when it was not so easy to do what we do: That once it wasn’t easy to find a local yarn shop that carried weaving supplies and weaving yarns, much less those shops on the internet that let those of us in more remote areas of the world order all our supplies with a click. A time before we could all connect on the internet to ask questions and learn from weavers around the world. And, of course, a time before Handwoven magazine.

I feel lucky that I have not lived in a world without Handwoven. At the time I was born in 1985, Handwoven had been happily published for six years. This month, those five issues of Handwoven from the year of my birth are now available as CD collections and as digital downloads, so I thought it would be fun to go through them and see what was going on in the weaving world while I was but a babbling baby.
What tends to strike me as I go through older issues of Handwoven is how timeless so many of the projects are. The lacy curtains on the cover of the September/October 1985 issue, for example, would fit in perfectly with this year’s September/October issue dedicated to textiles for the home. Looking inside at the rest of the projects, I find even more I want to weave. Everett Gilmore’s rose-beige tablecloth is a spectacularly elegant lacy cloth that I would happily use on my own table, and Janice Jones’ “country” overshot table mat in wonderful natural tones uses plaid to create a complex looking overshot pattern that is simple to weave.

Moving on to other issues from that year there are similarly lovely finds. November/December is dedicated to twill, my personal favorite structure. Included in the issue is an excellent, in-depth article on double two-tie twills by Madelyn van der Hoogt so you know it’s good. (And in typical weaverly punny fashion, she also designed two ties in double two-tie twill.)

The rest of the issues are equally good with articles from Sharon Alderman, Jeane Scorgie, Deb Chandler, Jane Patrick, and many more master weavers. There are stories from around the word, including one on Mayan folk textiles in the Summer issue by Mary Dieterich with photos of beautiful Guatemalan cloths and stories of the weavers who made them. While flipping through the January/February issue I just found an article titled “Selvedge Gremlins (and What to do About Them)” by Dave Centner that I think just went to the top of my reading list.

Looking through these thirty-year-old issues makes me feel inspired and also proud. Proud not just because I’m a small part of this wonderful magazine (which I should say is so wonderful because of those weavers who have contributed such lovely projects and articles throughout the years), but also to be part of the weaving community. I’m also thankful to those out in the weaving world who sold weaving yarns back when almost nobody sold them, those who started the loom companies that I often take for granted today, and of course to Linda Ligon, for creating this wonderful magazine and company that I call home.
Happy Weaving!


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