Learn New Weaving Techniques with Next Steps in Weaving
Here’s Christina to share a sweet Thanksgiving weaving tradition, and a little bit about Next Steps in Weaving, one of her favorite weaving books. ~Andrea
I can’t believe it’s already October. One minute it was summer; it was hot and the flowers were all in bloom. Then yesterday, when I went on my daily walk, I noticed yellow mulberry leaves on my driveway and a chilly breeze in the air. (Of course, living in southern New Mexico, the sun was still so fierce that it wasn’t long before I was nice and toasty again.) Could it really be autumn already?
Early autumn to me means a few things. It means I’ll be able to find some good apple cider at the grocery store, the red chile harvest will start soon, and I need to get a start on my Thanksgiving weaving.
For the past few years, when I’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving at somebody else’s home, I’ve made it a tradition to bring a handwoven towel to give to the host. Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for a group is no small feat (I’ve done it myself a few times), and a handwoven towel is a nice way to thank the hosts for all their hard work.
This year, we’re travelling across the country to the land of my people, New Jersey, where I will have a Thanksgiving with my grandparents and a slew of aunts and uncles. Because I’ll be without a kitchen, I can’t contribute to the dinner as I normally might. So, I plan on weaving a towel for each couple.
The nice thing about weaving seasonal projects is that picking the palette is simple. I wanted to go traditional, so I went over to my stash and pulled forth a red, an orange or two, a lovely yellow, and a suitably bright green to make the other colors stand out.
As I admired the colors and moved them into different orders on the shelf, I noticed my copy of Next Steps in Weaving sitting nearby. Much as I love this book, it had been a few months since I had last opened it. I needed a bit of inspiration for designing the towels, so I figured I’d revisit my old friend and see what I could find.
I think at least an hour passed as I read the book and debated the virtues of different weave structures for these particular towels. And then I saw it: a huck lace sample woven with a white warp and plum weft. It was beautiful and classic looking. I loved the way the drastic contrast in warp and weft created such interest and made an already lovely lace design stand out even more. I had the basic idea for my towels. I could put on a warp of all unbleached cotton and then weave each towel with a different suitably seasonal weft.
Pattie’s book has a variety of huck drafts one could weave as a sampler project, as well as some Atwater-Bronson drafts that are equally lovely. I think I might just pick a draft from one of those.
As an added bonus, I can re-read the chapter on whichever structure I choose, so I can have a refresher on best-practices for weaving and designing—it’s a win-win!
It’s so nice to know that with a month and a half-ish to go, I’ve got the towels mostly planned so I won’t be warping and weaving at the last minute (not that I would ever do that—I was absolutely not weaving my Thanksgiving towels the night before last year, no-siree, not me).
So thank you, Pattie Graver, for your wonderful book and for the inspiration it’s given me.
P.S. Do you have any Thanksgiving weaving traditions? Comment and let me know!