What’s Up, Weavers? Weave Along with Sarah Jackson

Sarah Jackson, nationally known teacher and textile artist and former Handwoven editor, has taken on quite the teaching endeavor—and it’s all happening online. She has started a kind of virtual weaving workshop that connects people from all over the world. The group has over 400 members, and around 150 are actively participating in the weave along.

Irene Schmoller, owner of Cotton Clouds, has supported the weave along by making a yarn pack available for anyone who wants to use the colors of Sarah’s original designs, but other weavers in the group have also decided to choose their own colors. Sarah says this is especially exciting for her as people are using her design to develop their own creativity. She is already excited for the next weave along, which will take place in May 2018. For more information, see Sarah Jackson Handwoven Design or Weave Along with Sarah Jackson: Color Collection Towels.

Sarah answered some questions for us about what exactly a Facebook weave along entails and how it is connecting weavers worldwide.

Q: Can you describe the process of a weave along on Facebook?
A: This four-shaft Weave Along was designed as a group on Facebook for weavers to share the process and have fun working on the same project for approximately four weeks. The schedule allows time for warping the loom, weaving four towels, wet-finishing and hemming, and the final days are for sharing and celebrating the completed projects. The schedule is flexible, and people are encouraged to work at their own pace; some started and finished early, others are jumping in along the way, and some will be working beyond the official conclusion of the weave along.

I “check in” several times a day to support the group and assist as needed. Resources available include warping resources and videos, FAQs, and a collection of weaving tips. Participants ask questions, share photos of their work, and truly help and encourage one another.

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Weave along participant Kit Jernegan is incorporating a hand-dyed warp. Photo by Kit Jernegan.

Q: Is this the first weave along you’ve started?
A: Yes, and I hope it is the first of many! I’ve done a lot of teaching for guilds and conferences in recent years, and the weave along is an idea that grew out of that experience. I meet many weavers eager to learn who often need just a bit of encouragement to try something new that increases their confidence and skill level.

Another influence is the number of weavers I see online who have no access to guilds, workshops, or other weavers. The community aspect of weaving is vitally important; my hope is that this and future weave alongs will be a unique place for weavers to encourage and inspire each other through their shared love of weaving.

Q: How many people are involved?
A: As of March 5, 2018, there are over 400 members representing 12 countries, and close to 150 are actively participating.

Q: What are some challenges and advantages to doing this kind of thing on social media?
A: The biggest challenge as a teacher is not being able to help in person. For example, it can be difficult to figure out why someone’s beat is off or why they’re having tension problems when I’m unable to watch them in-process to see exactly what they’re doing. We’re honing our communication skills as well as our weaving skills!

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Weave along participant Connie Ghourdjian is making her towels with a bright color variation. Photo by Connie Ghourdjian.

The advantages of doing this on social media are that weavers from just about any place in the world can participate, it allows me the ability to teach over a longer period than is possible in a 3-day workshop, and all of us have the luxury of working at our own paces from our own homes or studios.

The very best part of the weave along, for me, is the opportunity to interact with (and weave along with!) many people I might not meet otherwise. My students are what I love most about teaching, and the weave along is no exception. They are a warm, creative, inspiring group, and I’m encouraged by how much they’re learning, by the generous ways they support and encourage one another, and by how much fun we’re having together.

Have you participated in an online weave along? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

—Jenna Fear

Featured Image: The original towel design by Sarah Jackson. Photo by Sarah Jackson.

For more by Sarah Jackson, see these patterns and products:


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