Reflect on Deflection in Handwoven November/December 2021

Kathy read the latest Handwoven cover to cover; read what she has to say about it.

Kathy Fitzgerald Nov 3, 2021 - 5 min read

Reflect on Deflection in Handwoven November/December 2021 Primary Image

Deflection in cloth can come from a variety of weave structures as shown here (left to right) in Annette Schipf’s Blue Circling Embers shawl, Barbara Goudsmit’s Shadow Play Towels, and Nancy Peck’s Bumple Scarf. All photos by Matt Graves.

I asked Kathy Fitzgerald to review the latest issue of Handwoven and write about what she liked in it. Apparently she liked a lot of the issue! Read what Kathy has to say about Handwoven November/December 2021. —Susan

The November/December 2021 issue of Handwoven draws our attention to structures that allow certain warp and weft threads woven at right angles to each other to deflect after wet-finishing, producing curves. How cool is that?

The central part of the magazine offers the usual cornucopia of projects for rigid-heddle, four-, and eight-shaft looms. Projects include several takes on deflected doubleweave: Angela K. Schneider gives those of us suffering from loom envy a four-shaft version; Jill Staubitz works on a Stubenitsky threading; Merriel Miller throws in sections of compound plain weave and twill; and Natalie Drummond mixes it up with space- and hand-dyed yarns.


Jill Staubitz, Natalie Drummond, and Merriel Miller all wove scarves using deflected doubleweave, and no two are alike!

Deflected doubleweave is not the only structure that deflects, however. Marcia Kooistra and Annette Swan Schipf use honeycomb; Barbara Goudsmit weaves towels in shadow huck; Liz Moncrief turns M's and O's on their sides; Christine Jablonski and Susannah Day deflect spot Bronson; and Nancy Peck introduces us to Bumple. Phyllis Miller’s keen interest in Japanese textiles leads her to design a sashiko embroidery–style scarf using supplemental warps whose reverse side reveals a deflected surprise in her Sashiko-Style Flower Scarf.


By drawing from her own experiments with weaving sashiko-style patterns, Phyllis Miller designed a scarf with two different sides, one of which ressembles sashiko flowers.

As compelling as the projects are, I never skip over the gems in the front and back sections of the magazine, such as Karen Taylor’s brilliant tip in “Letters” for using multi-colored quilting clips to restrain unused heddles on shafts. In “Spotlight,” Karen Donde introduces us to Nevan Carling, a very young man with a very old soul, who is passionate about finding and restoring big old New England looms for what they teach him about unique 17th and 18th century American timber-framing methods. In the “Idea Gallery,” Yvonne Ellsworth relates her experience of converting a double-knitting pattern into a pick-up doubleweave draft featuring bright puffy “bubbles” for her Rainbow Bubble Scarf. Susie Taylor’s Media Picks review of 3D Hand Loom Weaving: Sculptural Tools and Techniques by Sally Eyring is a must-read for those of us looking to take a break from woven rectangles.

Over the years, I’ve come to regard Tom Knisley as a friend and a Luddite-ish kindred spirit. This issue’s “Notes from the Fell” recognizes the value of hard-copy weaving records, ones that can be retrieved after The Great Power Failure hits. (No joke, it’s coming.)

C. J. Robb follows Tom, telling the heart-warming story of the Adopt-a-Native-Elder program founded by Linda Myers to provide support and a market to older Navajo weavers in “Stepping up: The Adopt-a-Native-Elder Navajo Rug Show and Sale: Supporting Indigenous Weavers for 32 Years.”

Next, longtime weavers and teachers Susan Bateman and Melissa Parsons of the Yarn Barn of Kansas kick off a series of “Best Practices” articles about weaving basics. This issue, they share their warp-winding technique. (Did you know the all-important warp cross actually has a name? I didn’t.)

At the back of the issue, “Yarn Lab” explores three fine linen and merino offerings of Silk City Fibers, with samples and commentary by Elisabeth Hill, who also explains what “mulesing” is. I know I’ll be checking out the Linen 14 because I love weaving fine linens and because no one ever muleses flax.

 800 x 800 Yarn Lab ND21

Elisabeth Hill outdid herself again by weaving a large number of beautiful samples using yarns from Silk City Fibers for the “Yarn Lab.”

Finally, Janney Simpson looks back on her journey into weaving double and triple layers of cloth on deflected doubleweave threadings in “Endnotes: Reflections on Deflection.”

Don’t skip anything in the November/December 2021 Handwoven. You’ll be glad you didn’t.