June 01, 2013

Shuttle-craft Book of American Hand-weaving

Finally, I have gotten around to reading through to the end of Mary Meigs Atwater's The Shuttle-craft Book of American Hand-weaving.

There is a lot in this classic little book.  Some of the details of the techniques are beyond me, and I expect to re-read this book at a later date.

Some techniques I don't expect to ever pursue because I dislike the products and suspect that the processes would irritate me as well, but it's good to have a passing familiarity with them.  Specifically, I do not share the author's enthusiasm for coverlets.  "A beginner's first weaving should, I think, be in four-harness overshot.  The thing is surprisingly simple and effective, and a first piece will be an exciting adventure, like seeing a little flower garden spring into blossom under one's fingers." (p. 125)  I do bow to her experience and am prepared to believe that she finds much of interest there.

The author throws out strong opinions and advice.  I appreciate that she backs these up with reasons, so that I can see what criteria she used to reach her conclusions.

As a beginning weaver I can say that it's good to read a book from someone intent on conveying a specific tradition.  She draws on her study of the craft, her experience, and her association with other weavers, and lays out what was done historically and what is worth pursuing.

The book is also helpful to me because it associates different yarns with the types of weaving most suitable for them.  This information is absent from the book of patterns I have.

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