On a rather frequent basis, I am surprised to learn how few people know about some of the resources available for weavers. That’s why I have dedicated by blog for the past four years to sharing the ones I like. I committed to sharing 50 of my favorite things . . . and here is #50.
Of all of the favorite things I’ve shared, Handweaving.net is probably one of the most well-known resources for weavers. Unfortunately, not everyone knows about . . . and if they do, they may not realize how much is offered by this exceptional resource.
First, a little bit about Handweaving.net. Click here to go immediately to Handweaving.net
The “father” of Handweaving.net is Kris Bruland. Kris is a software architect living on Whidbey Island (not far from Seattle, WA) and the author of this site. He became interested in weaving around 2003 and became intrigued by the drafts. Kris then wrote a custom software package that used WIF (Weaving Information Format) files. And, he didn’t stop there.
Kris began Handweaving.net as a way of storing weaving drafts with a vision that drafts could be contributed by site visitors to share with each other. The majority of drafts are due to the effort and commitment of Kris; however, there have been some drafts contributed by others. At the moment of writing this blog post, there are currently 61,741 drafts. Yes, you read that correctly. 61,741 drafts! Mind boggling, isn’t it?
Now, that I have your attention, if you want to learn more about Kris and the history of Handweaving.net, click on the following link About Handweaving.net and Kris Bruland
When one first arrives at Handweaving.net, there is a greeting.
By clicking on the button Browse Weaving Drafts, the adventure begins. (Note: You may want to make sure you have some time that will remain uninterrupted for your first visit.). The first thing you will see is the Featured Draft, which may look like the draft below.
The Featured Draft gives a lot of information. It will show the threading, the tie-up, the treadling, and the drawdown. Plus, it will also show the minimum number of shafts and treadles that are required. A nice feature is the information about float length. To copy the draft, click on draft. Next, you will see a screen that looks like the one below.
This is where you can learn more about the draft. The one above is from the collection A Dictionary of Weaves Part I by Emmanuel Anthony Posset and was published in 1914. In order to get a copy of the draft, you do need to create an account. It’s safe and secure and Kris will not send you annoying advertisements or reminders like so many do.
When download the wif file, you have a choice between a draft with a tie-up and treadles or a lift plan (handy for weavers with table looms or lobby looms). You don’t have to own weaving software to utilize this information, but it is very helpful. The advantage of wif files is that just about any weaving software program will be able to open it.
There is also a wealth of drafts available from many collections – both historical and contemporary. Many of us that have been weaving for a while had to pay big money and go through significant effort to obtain access to these drafts that are now merely a click away.
A very helpful feature on Handweaving.net is the ability to search drafts in different collections or categories by the minimum or maximum number of shafts and/or treadles. This is great if you have a limited number of shafts or treadles and don’t want to wade through a lot of drafts.
Below is an example of searching for draft in the collection An Album of Textile Designs (sometimes referred to as “The Ashenhurst”) with an eight-shaft minimum/maximum and a maximum of 10 treadles. Out of the nearly 7,000 drafts in the collection, 171 may be woven on eight shafts. Also, in this particular case, all 171 may be woven on the same threading.
By searching through the collections, you will come across a multitude of drafts. The difficult thing will be deciding which one to weave next. Personally, I’m intrigued by the one below since it’s only eight shafts and would have a subtle pattern with a lot of structural integrity. Perfect for dish towels!
Besides looking at and downloading drafts, Handweaving.net is a great way to access the Griswold Digital Archive of Documents on Hand Weaving, Lace, and Related Topics. Another mind-blowing resource for weavers! Griswold Digital Archive
If you would prefer not to download thousands and thousands of drafts, you can also purchase them from Kris through his on-line store. Handweaving.net Store
There’s so much on Handweaving.net that it’s difficult to do it justice in a single blog post. The best thing is to set aside a little and take a look at it.
In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed my 50 favorite things. Stay tuned. Something new is coming just around the corner.