In Celebration of Plain Weave: Color and Design Inspiration for Inkle Weavers
By Annie MacHale
Annie MacHale has produced a beautiful and useful book for inkle weavers who want to understand color and proportion in their woven bands. Right from the start—on page 1!—MacHale introduces a variety of yarns, and describes how their sizes and fiber contents will affect a woven band. An often-repeated question among new weavers is “How many ends will I need to weave a band 1 inch wide?” MacHale answers this in one clear photo, and then goes on to tell the new weaver what characteristics inkle band yarns should have and why.
There is a section with a brief but comprehensive discussion of color: color terminology, value, and color relationships. This is not dry theory; instead, the section is amply illustrated with beautiful full-color photographs of examples of how colors change and affect woven bands. MacHale follows her color overview with specific recommendations for choosing colors for inkle bands, where to get color and design ideas, and how to interpret the colors we see in photos or in our surroundings for weaving bands.
The chapter on design is specific to plain inkle bands (but also applicable to plain-weave warp-faced weaving of any kind). It includes full-color graphs depicting how different threadings will look in the finished band: vertical stripes, horizontal stripes, speckles and chains, “teeth,” and “ladders,” as well as all sorts of design options that will make your color choices matter. The author then pulls all this information together in a design discussion of symmetry, asymmetry, and random and irregular patterning, complete with yet again more fabulous color photos.
The bulk of the book is a collection of graphs showing various ways to place color in woven bands. With six graphs per page, this section contains over two hundred graphs, varying from 39 to 79 warp ends. This inspirational and useful section alone makes the book valuable for any inkle weaver, beginner or not.
This book is a feast for the eyes. It is well produced in full color, amply illustrated, and printed on heavy paper with spiral binding that lies flat for use. I highly recommend it, for an individual or a guild library.
Santa Fe, New Mexico: ASpinnerWeaver, 2019. Spiralbound, 116 pages, $28. ISBN 978-0-692-19600-7.
Huck Lace Weaving Patterns with Color and Weave Effects: 576 Drafts and Samples plus 5 Practice Projects
In the introduction article to his “Huck Lace Towels with Color-and-Weave Effects” project in Handwoven, May/June 2018, Tom Knisely described an “aha!” moment. It was the moment he realized that log cabin, a color-and-weave pattern based on an odd number of ends and picks, could be combined with the 5-end blocks of huck lace. That moment sent him down a path of discovery as he investigated further, which in turn lead him to writing his latest book, Huck Lace Weaving Patterns with Color and Weave Effects.
This is not a book for beginners. It doesn’t teach you how to warp and weave as Tom’s other books do. It is a study and a systematic cataloging of the pattern possibilities that exist within a relatively small grouping of warp ends and weft picks. Although his journey started with log cabin, that was only the impetus that pushed him to examine other color-and-weave patterns woven on a huck threading.
The four major sections of the book are based on color properties: light and dark values, complementary, monochromatic, and triadic, with a short introduction of what each of these properties are and how they might affect the look of a finished cloth. Within the four sections are 144 swatches with the drafts shown beside them. This allows you as the reader to see how changes in color order in warp and weft can completely change the look of the cloth. I agreed with Tom that some of the samples are so pretty that you want to warp up your loom for your next project while other samples are only so-so. That is to be expected, and for me added to the value of the study. It also made me question why I liked one swatch but not a similar one right below.
To start you on your own journey of discovery, the last section of the book contains five huck-lace with color-and-weave-effect projects including scarves, towels, a baby blanket, and mug rugs. Unlike the swatches, which were woven using only 5/2 cotton, the projects use a variety of types of yarns and include full drafts.
I recommend Huck Lace Weaving Patterns with Color and Weave Effects to weavers who want to expand their understanding of huck lace and color-and-weave, but I feel its value doesn’t stop there. The book shows how experimentation and trial and error are essential to one’s growth as a weaver and that is a lesson we all need to learn.
—Susan E. Horton
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Publishing, 2019. Hardcover, 224 pages, $39.95. ISBN 978-0811737258.