Thursday, May 15, 2014

Knisley's Weaving Rag Rugs book

Since my last post, I've had a couple great teaching trips, one to Dayton, Ohio in early April for Weavers Guild of Miami Valley, where Spring was bustin' out all over, and the linen students were most receptive to my strange methods. Then in early May to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario where I 'edutained' the entire WASOON group with "How did we get HERE?" opening night, and then kept a smaller group awake for a whole day of tartan designing, weaving and wearing. I do love conferences for the great connections with folks from far and wide. I love teaching for guilds because I am so well cared-for and there is such energy within a guild. But I’m getting old and think I may give it all up. Then when I've recovered, I think maybe not yet. I also had a most enjoyable surprise invitation to be 'artist of the month' at the Thunder Bay Arts Council Gallery. That distracted me from blogging - or that is my excuse. However, this post is about a new book I've been asked to review: WEAVING RAG RUGS by Tom Knisley, manager/teacher at The Mannings Handweaving School and Supply Center. Stackpole Books, 2014, softbound. Weaving rag rugs is a most rewarding activity and Tom Knisley has given us a new book by the very title: Weaving Rag Rugs. Knisley is an experienced rug weaver and teacher. In Weaving Rag Rugs he details his front-to-back method of warping, with eleven profusely illustrated pages. (If he warped back to front it might only take four pages - but my prejudice is showing, isn’t it?) He shows and discusses a rug weaver's tools and materials including linen warp for which this linen aficionado is grateful. Good color photos show various methods of rag preparation and joining. There is an interesting spread on how much fabric is needed for a rug, by using a 12 inch warp with one yard of different weights of fabric. It would help to know the width of the fabrics used, or if one square yard was a constant. The results are illustrated with twelve color photos in a pleasant grid. Chapter 7 is my very favorite with 2-page spreads on most of the 32 beautiful rag rugs illustrated. For each rug, we are given the threading, tie-up and treadling draft, the warp material and colors, the width in the reed and epi, as well as the width of the strips, including a photo of the fabric. What I wish were included is the length and weight of the rug or even the number of yards of the fabric used, including the width of the fabric. It would not have taken much space to reveal the yards or weight of each warp color used. For this numbers-challenged weaver, I would rather compare the various rug’s specs to get a notion of how to plan a rug and what to expect, instead of doing the math based on his experiments on pages 12 and 13. The rug illustrations are beautiful and I want to weave at least half of them. Maybe if I block them, as he recommends, they will lie flat. To quote Knisley: Live free and weave happy! Kati Reeder Meek, May 15, 2014