2021: A Year of Inspiration

Susan reflects on how Handwoven 2021 inspired her own weaving. She has far too many ideas for the time she has to weave!

Susan E. Horton Dec 26, 2021 - 5 min read

2021: A Year of Inspiration Primary Image

Sherrie Amada Miller’s Fishing for Compliments towels weren’t just one of my favorites; many people seemed to have appreciated them. All photos by Matt Graves except where noted.

I used to occasionally suffer from “weaver’s block.” That was before I started tech editing for Handwoven and definitely before I became the editor. Now, if anything, I suffer from not enough time and far too many project ideas running around inside my head. I attribute this to all of the wonderful projects that I get to know well as they move from initial proposals to fully tech-edited, beautifully photographed projects in the magazine.


When I saw these towels that were part of the HGA towel exchange, I knew they were perfect for Handwoven so I reached out to Kathie.

For the most part, I like to design my own projects, but like many other weavers, I tend to cobble together ideas I see and read about. During 2021, I got really excited by some specific ideas, such as how Kathie Roig systematically, yet somewhat randomly, created an ombre effect in her Random Exchange towels in the September/October issue. She used a rainbow color palette, but I’d like to use her method for a baby blanket, and I’m itching to try it with a palette using only one-third of the color wheel, or perhaps only black, white, and gray.

In the same issue, I got a severe weaver’s crush on Sherrie Amada Miller’s Fishing For Compliments towels shown at top. I am planning a runner in blue and white to match some simple rep placemats I wove. My friend Rosalie suggested I adapt Sherrie’s pattern for that runner to make the perfect sushi-night ensemble. I’ve got the yarn; it’s just a matter of planning and sampling. Just.


The thin linen is almost transparent in these napkins, and the color combinations are wonderful.

In the May/June issue, I was reminded how much I love thin linen and plain weave when I saw Kiera Keck’s Luncheon Napkins. They are each different but are all clearly part of the same set. My sister lost some napkins when she took them to the cleaners years ago, and I’ve always wanted to weave her new ones. They won’t be at all like the traditional white linen napkins she lost, but I bet she’ll go nuts over the new colorful plaid set I’m dreaming about.


I loved Thea Nortness’s plarn bags—simple, useful, environmentally sound, and, to top it off, pretty.

The year started with our January/February issue about yarns that are less harmful to the environment than others or yarns that are spun and dyed by artisans who are struggling financially. I don’t know about your house, but at Chez Horton, we have more than a few grocery bags acquired during the COVID shutdown. Bags on a Budget by Carol Hacherl and Thea Nortness got me thinking about using them as weft to weave market bags. Thea used the more disposable type of plastic bag, so I’ll need to sample for an appropriate weft width and use Thea’s instructions for cutting plarn.


Sarah Hilditch’s Crater Rug is pile but not pile made of a zillion knots, making it seem more doable to people with a busy schedule. Photo by Sarah Hilditch.

Our March/April issue focused on ever-popular mid-century style. As always, I loved the projects in the issue, but the thing that really grabbed me was the Crater Rug by Sarah Hilditch in the Idea Gallery. I couldn’t believe that weaving a pile rug could be so accessible. I’ve toyed with the idea of rya, but the sheer number of knots to tie always discouraged me. Weaving a double corduroy rug for our entry is now on my someday list, although maybe I should start with a pillow!

Very Peri Pops of Color in Bumple Scarf by Nancy Peck

The Bumple Scarf by Nancy Peck can be woven on a 2- or 4-shaft or a rigid-heddle loom.

I could go on much longer, but I’ll end with Nancy Peck’s Bumple scarf in the November/December issue. It looks so cuddly, it could just have well been called the Squishy Huggable Scarf. Maybe another baby blanket, woven on a rigid-heddle loom? Intriguing thought.

I hope Handwoven 2021 was as much an inspiration to you as it was to me. I encourage you to mix and match ideas to your heart’s content and develop projects unique to you.

Get ready! For sure, 2022 is going to be another really great year!

Weave well,