Anyone who has woven more than a few weft picks in their life is aware that weaving has been around for a very long time. Today, we have access to so much information and we’re able to create patterns with a couple of stokes and clicks of our mouse. In the past century, weaving publications have come and gone. Some were around years ago and many weavers today may not be aware of them. This brings me to my latest favorite thing . . . The Weaver magazine. The first issue of The Weaver was published in 1935. There were four issues a year. The last issue was published in July 1942. Fortunately, through the beauty and convenience of the internet, we have access to all 26 issues. You can access all of them at the following link http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/weaver.html All it takes is a look at an issue or two to appreciate the peek into the history of hand weaving. The authors include such weavers such as Nellie Sargeant Johnson, Osma Couch Gallinger . . . and the legendary Mary Meigs Atwater. These are just a few of the weavers that contributed so much to our craft and their articles help continue their legacies for future generations of weavers.
Beyond the weaving information, there are a number of things that are surprising when I look at issues of The Weaver. First, the authors (mostly women) are listed by their own names. If you look back over 75 years ago, women were often listed as Mrs. <insert husband’s name>. Were weavers over 75 years ago their own contemporaries? It may appear so. Another thing I really marvel at is the hand-drawn drafts . . . including the penmanship. Such beautiful handwriting! Plus, I can only imagine how much work went into creating one publication since the publishing tools and advantages we have today (namely, computers) were only a dream at the time. In looking through some of the issues, the following were just a few of the articles that caught my attention
Volume 1, Issue 3 – Miniature Patterns for Hand Weaving by Josephine Estes (below is one of the five pages of the articles drafts) Volume 5, Issue 3 – Miniature Patterns for Hand Weaving by Josephine Estes (below is one of the five pages of the articles drafts) Volume 2, Issue 4 – Lightning Weaving by Elmer Wallace Hickman . . . Before reading this issue I was unfamiliar with Lightning Weaving. Yes, it’s a Scandinavian tapestry technique . . . but, I love the name and the drawings! Volume 4, Issue 1 – Know Thy Thread by Osma Couch Gallinger . . . If you’re looking for a little guidance on what is the appropriate yarn or thread for your project, there are four pages that may be of help. Not all of the yarns may be available, but it’s amazing how much of it is still relevant. Volume 6, Issue 2 – Bronson Weave – Four Ways by Mary Meigs Atwater . . . A nine-page article that may intrigue any weaver interested in learning more about Bronson lace. Volume 7, Issue 2 – Types of Overshot by Osma Couch Gallinger . . . I thought this was a wonderful look at overshot patterning. The image below is just one page of the four pages of hand-drawn images. Volume 4, Issue 4 – How Many Ways to Weave Honeysuckle by Berta Frey . . . Looking for one threading with some versatility? Check out this article! There are even numerous articles that I would consider off-the-beaten-path . . . the two below are just a couple that may capture your attention.
Volume 7, Issue 2 – Finish of Edges by Mary Meigs Atwater Volume 1, Issue 3 – New Ideas for Tablet Woven Rugs by Beatrice A. Shephard . . . I’m totally and completely intrigued by the idea of a tablet woven rug. It’s not a project I would likely undertake, but I can certainly marvel at the work of others. The Weaver magazine may lack the visual impact of color . . . but, so what? Hopefully, some of the above articles will encourage you to check it out . . . and, while you’re looking at your first issue, think retro . . . think nostalgia . . . and then think how incredible these projects could look in color. Enjoy!