Linda Ligon and the Origin of Handwoven

Looking for direction as to which Handwoven issues you might want to revisit? Start with Linda Ligon's top three.

Christina Garton Mar 29, 2016 - 4 min read

Linda Ligon and the Origin of Handwoven Primary Image

Tracy Kaestner wove this runner in using naturally colored Soy Silk and Tencel. When she placed it in an indigo dye pot, the two fibers took the dye differently resulting in these beautiful blues. Photo by Joe Coca.

When I first came to work for Handwoven, I was told that I had to do an interview with Linda Ligon. Being the eager new employee I was, I did my research and was absolutely astounded. If you don’t know who Linda is (as I did not back then), allow me to educate you. She is the reason I am writing this post—and not just because she liked my interview. Back in the 70s she foundedInterweave magazine, a wonderfully interesting publication that covered weaving, spinning, and other fiber fun. From that original magazine Handwoven was born when she realized weavers wanted more content than Interweave had to offer.

Over the past 36 years and several wonderful editors, Linda has been a constant force helping to guide the magazine. While she spends quite a bit of time travelling the world meeting weavers and artisans all over, she is still an important part of each and every issue as our Creative Director. Her gut instinct is well known and respected throughout the company, and I know her comments and sharp observations have helped me grow as an editor and as a weaver.

Recently, we asked Linda to choose her three of her favorite issues of Handwoven and her choices did not disappoint. I immediately looked through each issue she chose because if Linda loved them, I knew I probably would as well. As I read through each page, I got lost in the timeless projects and the fascinating articles. Regardless of the year and editor, one commonality I have found throughout the history of Handwoven is how much the information in each issue is still relevant today.

The first issue Linda mentioned was the January/February 1993 issue. The theme is “Color: Design and Inspiration” and the issue is full of colorful, strong projects and articles designed to help the reader grow in their use of color from an excellent article by a true master of color on the loom, Randall Darwall, to an easy-to-understand article on color theory by editor Jean Scorgie. It really is a wonderful article from start to finish.

Next is the September/October 1999 issue, which also happened to be the 20th anniversary celebration. From the 8-hour blanket to an excellent article by Anita Luvera Mayer on the creative process—which is truly brilliant and should be required reading for all weavers. There’s also an excellent swatch collection from the queen of swatches herself, Sharon Alderman.

Last is September/October 2008, an issue all about the ways beautiful blues can be incorporated in weaving. If you’ve ever thought about dyeing with indigo, this issue is for you. For those less into dyeing, there’s plenty of projects and articles about weaving the blues using pre-dyed yarns and even using repurposed batik cloth. Simply marvelous!

If you have these issues in your stash, I highly suggest pulling them out and giving them another look. I’m sure you’ll find much to love in each and every one. If you don’t have them, but these descriptions have piqued your interest, thanks to the wonders of technology, they are all available digitally. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Happy Weaving,


A beautiful indigo-dyed lace runner by  Madelyn van der Hoogt and Suzie Liles  from the September/October 2008 issue.