Jane Patrick’s book, “Time to Weave” features a wide array of weaving projects that cover everything from using recycled goods to creating art for your home. Jane goes over the basic fundamentals of how to use a loom as well as the supplies you’ll need to get started. What’s also great is that most of the projects in the book don’t require the use of a loom and are very approachable. The book is chock full of inspiring projects that are beautiful and simple to make. Plus, thanks to Jane, weaving looks like a fun and addictive craft. Get yourself started right away by making your own custom weave cards, grocery bag baskets, tile wraps, and more.
As part of National Spinning and Weaving week, we’ll cover weaving today by getting a chance to find out more about Jane Patrick and her love of weaving.
Nat: Please tell me a little bit about your crafty background.
Jane: I have been crafting for as long as I can remember. As a kid I became known as the family “putzer” because I was always making things. My earliest projects involving textiles were embroidered monogram hankies for my grandfathers and father. (You can certainly see my progress over the years–I probably continued this tradition much longer than any of them needed new hankies.) Later, I spent many hours in my room drawing and painting. However, I was never really good at realistic art and always found making useful objects more satisfying. Perhaps this is what influenced my path to textile crafts, and specifically weaving. It is the creating with my hands that I yearn for.
Nat: Where did you learn the art of weaving?
Jane: I really came to the textile crafts as an exchange student in Iceland. As part of our year-long program we could attend a month of home economics school. My turn came in the spring and I spent a month in what I still consider paradise. All I did every day all day long was knit, sew, stitch, crochet…and finally weave. Actually, I didn’t really learn to weave in Iceland, but it is where I first wove. They had finished weaving for the year, but I when I saw the room full of looms, I must have begged convincingly because the textile art teacher let me weave off all the warps left on the looms. I had no idea what I was doing, but from that moment I knew I was hooked.
It wasn’t until I moved to Boulder several years later that I took my first beginning weaving classes and then I spent every available moment weaving. (Actually, my weaving teacher was Deborah Chandler of “Learning to Weave” fame. So I had a pretty great teacher!)
Nat: In you new book, “Time to Weave”, you cover a wide array of weaving projects from recycling paper grocery bags to make baskets to weaving paper yarn around tiles to create art. What was your inspiration to write this book?
Jane: I wanted to make a book that would get people excited about weaving. I wanted weaving to be approachable. I wanted weaving to be affordable. Sometimes I think the impression is that weaving is too hard or too expensive or requires too much equipment, or even that weaving is too old-fashioned. I wanted to present engaging ideas that would inspire people to weave–get new people weaving and even get people who do weave excited again.
Nat: Can you tell me about a project from the book that was particularly fun to make and why.
Jane: The projects that were in the end were the most fun for me, yet they were also the hardest. The fun part was when I figured out a design problem; the hard part was getting there. One of the challenges in designing the projects for my book was to make cool stuff that was easy to make. This seems simple, but to design within strict guidelines can be challenging. Often “easy” is hard.
One example is the Sticks and String Coaster. The design problem was, how can I create a sturdy, simply-designed coaster without using a loom? I tried twining, but I found it too cumbersome for this project. I made a trip to the hardware store and found some stout string and balsa wood slats used for model airplane building. I liked the character of the materials, but I didn’t know how to make them into a thing that worked. This is when I went to books and researched ancient techniques — where I found the looping technique for this mat. It solved my design parameters, and I loved my final solution of how to secure the ends. I initially used little black rubber bands used for hair braids. But after several months I realized that the rubber was breaking down quickly and would soon completely disintegrate. I then turned to shrink tubing used in electrical work and cut strips that I shrank with a hair dryer. The black “ties” not only secure the string ends, they add a little zip to the design. This example is pretty much how working on projects for the book progressed.
Nat: Can you share with us a special weaving tip?
Jane: I think my advice applies to anyone creating with their hands, and that is to keep going, to work through problems, and look at your work with a critical eye. I truly believe that a lot of creativity is just a matter of hard work. Work hard at what you love.
Nat: What other weaving projects are you working on this fall?
Jane: I’m really excited about starting another book. This book will use a loom, specifically the rigid heddle loom (it is versatile, affordable, and portable). Though this new book is not a sequel to Time to Weave, I do hope it will appeal to crafters who have maybe been inspired by Time to Weave to explore weaving further. My goal is to use traditional and unexpected materials and techniques to create irresistible and engaging designs.