Crazy as a Loom

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Book Review and a Giveaway.

A while back, I was asked to do a book review by Stackpole Books.

The book, by Tom Knisely, is Weaving Rag Rugs.  Right up my alley, wouldn't you say???

Tom Knisely has been weaving for more than 30 years, and is the manager of The Mannings Handweaving School in East Berlin, Pennsylvania.


I got the book in the mail, and was pleasantly surprised.  It is colorful, and fun, and reading it doesn't feel like reading a textbook at all.
The funny part about it, while I was reading, I remembered learning all the things he talked about.  Years back, when I started my weaving career, I took a somewhat pathetic basic weaving course.  I bought a second hand loom, and spent every bit of spare time I could find, learning my craft.
There were no weavers around.  There was no where to go to find out what I needed to know.  Because it wasn't just about learning to weave, it was a niche all its own, weaving rag rugs.
I read everything I could get my hands on, and searched online for all the information that was out there.

I found a couple of weavers online, that I became friends with.  I badgered them with phone calls and emails, with questions and rants.  I made so many mistakes, and learned so many things the hardest way possible.
My point is that I could have written about every subject in Tom's book, the hows and the whys, but I didn't.   My book would have been "the long way around".
Oh, how I wish I had this book way back when.

It starts with basics, so that if you only have rudimentary skills, you can brush up.   Especially welcome to the new weaver, there is a wealth  of information on what to do and how to get started before you are ready to sit down and weave.  Because while weaving is the best part, good technique and skill at setting up your loom, and prepping your materials, is invaluable.

Throughout this lovely book, there are pictures showing you how to do all of it.  As someone who has tried taking pictures of projects for this blog, I can appreciate how great Tom's photos are, and how informative.

I laughed when I read his description of tying fringe, holding one thread back.  I thought I was that was some strange deviation of mine.  Tom shares with you those helpful hints that he has learned over all his weaving career.  They are priceless.


I have met many rag rug weavers.  One of them told me a long time ago, that we are all unique, and our choices of colors and patterns, and styles make our rugs special, and only ours. 

I am a spontaneous kind of girl, and love to design random and wild colors at the loom.  That being said, that method doesn't work for everyone.  Many weavers are intimidated by weaving without a plan.
In Tom's book, he gives you specific plans for weaving 30+ incredible rag rugs.  From plain weave to twill, flannel to denim, there is something for everyone.

I think that once the weaver has tried a few of these designs, they will be more than ready to design rag rugs  on their own.

This is a great book, easy to read, one you will go back to again and again.

Now all you have to do to win this book, is leave a comment.  I will do a random draw on Sunday,  Mother's Day.  What better time to get something special?

I have immersed myself in rag rug weaving for the last decade plus,  I have taught many people to weave over that time.   I think this book would be a great addition to anyone's weaving library, student or old timer.

This is my favorite.  I can't wait to make one of these.



47 comments:

JKA said...

I would love to have the book, thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. I am a newish weaver struggling through learning mostly on my own from books and online resources, so this would be a great book to add to my slowly growing collection.

Thistle Rose Weaving said...

Wonder if Tom discusses the merits of which type of looms are best for weaving rugs? I am betting he does. I think you should write a book about your experiences learning to weave, all the pitfalls and winning moments you have experienced.

Of course I would love to win the book!

lynneUSA said...

I am new to weaving - but went to a mill and bought a lot of yardage as it was on sale. Now I just need to work out what to do

Cathy said...

What a great review and recommendation. I've not yet woven a rag rug, but it is something I plan on in the future. I'm sure this book would be just the thing to help me start. Thanks, and I hope you're feeling well today.

Susan Harvey said...

I'm laughing here as I was a self taught weaver too.... did everything wrong at least twice before it finally took!

Tom's book is sure to be a classic and on every weavers book shelf in time. A hand-woven rug says "home"

Susan

weaverpat said...

I've known Tom for years and have taken many of his excellent classes at the Mannings (including the rag rug class). Thanks for giving him such a favorable review. He's a great teacher and a delightful person.
And thank you, Hilary, for such a generous give away!

kim said...

Kim Harvey here!!! I would LOVE to win that book!!!! I am a very beginning weaver, have also bought my own second hand loom, took some quick lessons, and have yet to actually weave anything!! I need help!!!

Faith Miller said...

I started weaving rugs using some of my leftover quilting material. I'd live to win this book to help solve some of the problems I'm having!

Thanks for doing this!
Faith

Cindie said...

What a great book - I'd love to win it as I'll be weaving some rag rugs for the beach cottage in the not too distant future....will definitely buy it if I don't win.

Susan said...

Since I am at the pre-rudimentary level, I can use all the help I can get. Please enter me in the giveaway. I find that books are a great resource, although I learn much faster visually.

majorasue said...

Looks like a lovely book, and that final picture is stunning. I could use a brush-up on my skills, for sure!

Donald Cheatham said...

Hilary, it's been so long since I've read your blog! What a nice thing to see about rag rug weaving - a (Tom Knisely) book giveaway! He's an incredible weaver/teacher.

Best to you // Donald

NancyG said...

Sounds like just the ticket to spark my lost rag rug interest.

mudmaven said...

What a wonderful review - need this book!! I love that rug too - those colors are just to die for, but I can see it in so many other color combinations too. ~chris

Terry said...

Good timing! I've been weaving for about a year, and the next thing I want to try is a rug.

Orlythe said...

How thrilling that such an important American weaver and teacher has come forward with this important record of his life's work! I'd love to own this! Thank you for offering it, Hillary.

LynneK said...

Great review of his book. Hope it will help us newbies venture into rug weaving.

LynneK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KarenInTheWoods Karen Pfundtner said...

Saw his video at our weaving guild meeting in three different portions. It was GREAT! Would love the book too...

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(Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
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Loomatic said...

I would love to learn how to make proper rugs. My first one is only a year old and it has seen better days already so I need some help!

Thanks for the review, even if I don't win it from you I think I will be adding this to my wish list.

Thanks!

Elizabeth W.

Terry said...

As I am traveling down that "teach myself with books, online, and DVD's" path, too, I would love to win Tom Knisely's book. I absolutely love learning to weave, and to have an opportunity to see his techniques and suggestions is something I look forward to, whether won or purchased. Tom comes very highly recommended! Thank you so much for the chance to win! Thank you for continuing with your blog, too! I love reading you and seeing your creations!
Many hugs,
Terry R

Lesley said...

I've taken many classes from Tom and he is indeed a wonderful teacher. However, I haven't gotten around to rag rugs yet. I sure hope I'm the lucky winner.

Lesley
lcampana99@verizon.net

Lesley said...

I've taken many classes from Tom and he is indeed a wonderful teacher. However, I haven't gotten around to rag rugs yet. I sure hope I'm the lucky winner.

Lesley
lcampana99@verizon.net

Christine said...

I have his DVD on how to choose and maintain looms. I was amazed at how many tips and tricks I picked up from it. I'm sure the book is the same.

Christine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa said...

I love the rag rugs my grandmother made and now it is my turn. I have a loom, warp and rags. Winning Tom's book would be great fun.
Thanks for the opportunity to win.
TAnn on Ravelry

Diane said...

I like weaving rag rugs in the Scandinavian tradition, especially in rosepath.
I start weaving and then as I go along, I plan out stripes for the other half of the rug! Pretty laid back, actually. Tom's book could be helpful.
Carpe diem!

Pat Chevrette said...

What a nice review! It sounds like just the book I've been searching for. I learned to weave the same way you did and after a seven year break, I am ready to get back to it! Thank you for giving me a chance to win this.

Sue Brown said...

I nEEEEEd that book!
Happy Mother's Day to a wonderful friend and mentor- I look forward to all I can learn from you!!!!

Romonia Dinkla said...

I have been taking the long way around, glad it's not just me. The first tangled mess just about did me in. I would love to win the book. Thanks for the review!

Tiger Grimshaw said...

Thanks for always being so honest. I love to read your blog and I use you as a learning tool all the time.

Casey said...

Mistakes in weaving? I've made my share and more! Like you, I learned the long way around, started with a class a very, very long time ago and when that information faded, pretty much taught myself. It's nice to know there's a go-to book that you recommend for good, reliable information. I'll check it out!

Annabanana said...

Love your blog and would love that book!!!

Mary said...

As I am just learning to weave this book would be a great help.

claudia said...

I could sure use a book like that! Thanks for the opportunity!

Carol said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win such a great sounding resource! Your review was excellent as you certainly wet my appetite to try rug weaving again and for the book. Have a Happy Mother's Day! I do hope you enjoy the day.

Kathy said...

I'm not a weaver, so don't include me in the draw. However, I know about Tom, and who he is, from his being an expert commentator for the PA Farm Show Sheep to Shawl Weaving Competition, held annually, in Jan., in Harrisburg, PA. For him to ask you to critique his book...well...he certainly did ask the right person! Expert to expert!!!

catherine said...

I hope this is not a headache day for you. The rag rug book looks to be very interesting. Thanks.

thotlady said...

I would love to win this book. Love weaving and would love to learn more about it!

grace lovelace said...

oh hilary i would love to have this book... it is in my wish list.
thank you hope you are well
grace

cb said...

I would really enjoy this book. Rag rugs are my favorite to weave and give as gifts. Would love to learn more!

tam said...

Thank you! Hope you have a headache free Mothers Day...
Tamara

Bruce Vandergaw said...

Now that sounds like much fun! Looms waiting in the wings as I recover from my 3rd foot surgery in 7 mo..
Rag strips ready, need help. : )
Sherie
Sshine725@apl.com

Sue said...

That book sounds it has answers that I could use. Would love to win this book.

Unknown said...

The reason I bought my loom was to weave rag rugs. I have not the opportunity to weave in the last few years because of my mother's ill health. I would love this book to inspire me. Thanks!

Nancy M.

Sojourner Design said...

I would love to have this book. I have a warp on now and am weaving a third rug, bug I'm so aware of how limited my knowledge is.

CiCi said...

You make it seem at least possible for someone to take up this incredible job of weaving and to actually be able to do it. I crochet. That is the extent of my ability. But to be able to weave would be heaven.

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