When I was given the chance to preview the new Introduction to Shadow Weave course with Jannie Taylor, I was eager and willing. I’ve heard some weavers can easily hold weave-structure specifics in their head, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them. We’ve noticed an uptick in shadow-weave proposals to Handwoven, and I wanted to know more about the cloth I was looking at. It’s not that I’ve never woven shadow weave, but I needed and wanted a refresher course.
Before I go further, I should probably explain, as Jannie does, that shadow weave isn’t actually a weave structure but a color-and-weave effect. The structure is mostly plain weave with 2-end floats that disrupt the over-under pattern every so often. What is wonderful about shadow weave is the vast number of design possibilities it delivers on a 4-shaft loom all in stable (almost) plain-weave cloth.
To make my learning experience complete, I used the downloadable workbook provided with the course and followed along with the exercises. I found Jannie’s explanation of shadow weave interesting in that there are some familiar weaving aspects such as opposites, twill lines, and twill tie-ups, but the end result isn’t so familiar, and even with those elements of twill, as I said in the previous paragraph, it isn’t twill at all.
Perhaps even more than learning about shadow weave, I loved Jannie’s enthusiasm and the twinkle in her eye when she talks about it. She may even have a weaver’s crush. Jannie found shadow weave early on in her weaving career, and her love of it has stayed with her. A teacher who cares about her subject is always better than one who is lukewarm.
If you are looking to progress in your weaving career or, like me, need to be reminded of the principles of shadow weave, I recommend you give this new course a try and do the exercises. At first I thought I could understand without practical application, but it turned out that just by filling in a threading draft or two, and saying the shaft numbers out loud, I grasped some concepts more firmly. Give it a whirl, I think you’ll agree.
P.S. Meet Jannie and hear about what she hopes you'll get from her course: