Once upon a time, before there was Handwoven magazine and other more contemporary weaving publications, weavers were limited in the resources available to them. There are some notable and classic weaving pattern books that probably had a huge impact on weavers when they came out. In the latest of my favorite things, one of these books is just a few clicks away.
Franz Donat’s Large Book of Textile Design was published in the 19th century and is the largest weaving pattern book with over 9,000 patterns. Nearly 2,500 of them may be woven on eight or fewer shafts. Not only do I find the size of the pattern collection impressive, but I also appreciate seeing the versatility of a single threading by glancing over the treadling variations.
When this pattern book was published, weavers were under pressure to produce fabric so they could keep a roof over their head, feed their families, and more. Few wove as a hobby. Imagine how valuable this publication would have been to weavers interested in weaving different patterns without the need to spend the time developing the treadlingsequence.
The entire pattern collection for Franz Donat’s Large Book of Textile Design was scanned by Ralph Griswold and is available on-line at the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics. Click on the following link to access it it http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/webdocs/pb_dlb.pdf. It’s enough to make me even want a loom with more shafts than I currently have in my studio.
I love scanning through the pages and getting inspired by the patterns. Below are some images from the book.
Yes, I know the patterns in the book don’t always present a clear impression of what the pattern will look like . . . but, I have some good news. A complete draft for all of these patterns is available on-line at http://handweaving.net/ . . . another fabulous resource (and one of my many favorite things too!)
At handweaving.net, you can do many things, including search by a specific collection (Franz Donat’s Large Book of Textile Design is only one). Plus, you can even limit the number of shafts and/or treadles for patterns so they are suitable for the loom(s) you weave on. It’s also especially nice if you have weaving software since you can download the .wif file (wif stands for weaving information file) and open it in your application. Although, never fear if you don’t use weaving software . . . you can still print them off. Pretty darn exciting for some resources that are just a click away.
Never before have so many weaving resources been so easily accessible . . . just think what the future has in store for us!