Weaving’s Grand Masters: A Cage Match
Having studied and taught weaving and spinning for over 4 decades, Tom Knisely is one of weaving’s Grand Masters. Whether he’s sampling twill on an 8-shaft loom, weaving rugs on a counterbalance loom, or teaching how to keep either loom in good working condition, there are few weaving topics he hasn’t covered. If WWE stood for World Weaving Entertainment, he would be John Cena, but with glasses and a twinkly manner.
At the other end of the weaving spectrum is John Mullarkey, another Grand Master. Focusing on tablet weaving, John has been pushing boundaries ever since he began weaving and designing bands. As if that weren’t enough, on a week when he had nothing else to do he developed the wildly popular Zoom Loom. A former software developer, John looks like an El Greco portrait who’d nonetheless take you down in nothing flat in a speed-warping contest.
Despite the different weaving paths they followed, Tom and John seem to have more in common than you’d think. They both wear glasses; they both like yarn and know a lot about spinning wheels in addition to looms; they both like to eat raw cookie dough. Actually, I have no idea if the last bit is true, but I’d like to think it is. And they both love to teach, and are very, very good at it.
If you are not lucky enough to take one of their many classes in person, why not bring them into your home instead? Tom’s course Beginning Weaving with Tom Knisely has pretty much everything you need to know to learn how to weave, whether you already own a loom or not. In addition to oodles of information, there is the joy of watching Tom himself. I never would have almost failed calculus if my teacher had taught like Tom does.
If you prefer to begin on a smaller scale or simply want to explore band weaving, by all means check out John’s Tablet Weaving Made Easy. It’s both a great introduction as well as a springboard to get you designing your own bands, and John is pretty funny. Different subjects aside, both courses share John’s and Tom’s love for what they do and the enthusiasm each brings to sharing his knowledge with others. I may not have a chance to meet either man in person, but I can watch these courses again and again, learning something new each time while being charmingly entertained. In this cage match, the audience is the winner.
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