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.