Monday, May 7, 2012

New weaving books

I recently purchased the book called Color and Texture in weaving: 150 Contemporary Designs by Margo Selby.  I was intrigued by the title of this book, and I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but this is an awesome cover!  I had read some great reviews about it and was seriously pumped up about this book, but when I finally saw inside, I found myself somewhat disappointed. 

The first thing that caught me off guard were the names of the weaves.  I mean, you say something like, "I wove hop-sack today" or "I wove twill today" and 99% of weavers, even beginning weavers, know what the heck you are talking about!  Even some non-weavers know what you are talking about!  But the names of Ms. Selby's weaves are very ambiguous and puzzling.  If I were to say, for example, I wove "passion fruit" today, only those weavers who are familiar with the book would know that I wove a plain weave fabric with stripes.  I think some of the names just phoney and downright absurd.  For example, there are weaves called Theodora, Carmen, Ingrid, and Ophelia, just to name a few.  Or bloom, grass, meadow, bud, thorn, and spring.  What do these names have in common with the weaves?  Or the colors?  And who knows what I would be talking about if I were to mention it casually to another weaver?  It's almost as if the author is trying to make a secret society of color-and-texture-in-weaving weavers!  The weaves in this book really are weaves we are familiar with, but with a small twist.  She could have been a little more descriptive in her nomenclature.

Another thing that bothers me about this book is the way Ms. Selby prints the patterns to her weaves.  She gives an actual weave structure that you, the weaver, have to sit down and figure out how the heck you are going to tie up your loom treadles and in what order you have to depress them.  It would be much easier for a table loom weaver to follow, and by writing the patterns this way, Ms. Selby is clearly favoring the table weavers.  One could think that this is thoughtful of Ms. Selby, but most weaving books out there today are favoring the floor loom weavers because it is a much more feasible way to weave.  And it's also a traditional and standard way of writing out the patterns.  The  long-established and rooted authors like Mary Meigs Atwater, Bertha Gray Hayes, and Marguerite Davison are the ones who first started writing about weaving wrote out patterns in a traditional and standard fashion.  This is a system set up by others before us and it works.  It's no use changing something that works!

Here is a random sample of a page in the book:

As you can see, the right hand side just lists the weave structures that are needed for this weave.  You, as a floor loom weaver, have to sit down and look at each structure, line by line, and figure how which tie-ups to have and which pedal to put it on and which order to go.  What a troublesome way of going about a pattern!

Call me old-fashioned, but this book just isn't my style.  From the names to the way the patterns are written, and even the odd mixture of materials she uses (cotton chenille and boucle??  Seriously?)  I have to admit that there are about three weaves that actually look interesting to me, but it's going to take some work to figure them out, therefore the projects I had in mind will probably end up falling by the wayside.  And to top it off, I would probably end up using boring materials like cotton and wool.

Maybe this is the type of book for you, but I would suggest taking a look at a copy before you purchase it.

A second book I received at the same time as this one is the new Crackle book called Weave Classic Crackle & More by Susan Wilson.  I am so excited by the challenge that this book offers!  I feel like this is a great book to grow into.  I really want to sit down and use it like a personal tutor in a solo crackle weaving home-study course!

This book is a very challenging book to dive into!  It would definitely be wise to sit down in a cool dark place where there is no extra noise or distractions so you can read it chapter by chapter.  I haven't quite been righteous enough to do that yet, but I feel like the challenge of this book is right up my alley!

I have enjoyed reading the first 2 chapters and also thumbing through all the color photos throughout the book.  I will have to post again when I finally finish it.

I have been planning my first crackle project using the kool-aide dyed wool I spun last month.  I want to make a crackle scarf with it, but someone pointed out that it might be stiff as cardboard if I'm not careful!  So I might plan a table runner instead because it's not the softest wool I've ever felt and it might be too itchy anyway as a scarf.

So, just as the game of life goes, you win one and you lose one!  I guess it doesn't matter if it's weaving books or sales of jello at the grocery store!