Books to learn from

In 2009, when I decided to focus on backstrap weaving, I got started with Laverne Waddington’s Weavezine article titled Backstrap Basics. It’s available on the Weavezine site in both English and Spanish and covers everything you’ll need to get started. If you want to try backstrap weaving, it’s still the place to start. That year I also sold an under-used rigid heddle loom and put the money toward weaving books. Several of these books are out of print but available online from used book sellers. Woven Treasures and Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands are more recent books from Interweave Press.

The top row is all how-to books: Guatemalan Backstrap Weaving by Sperlich & Sperlich, The Art of Bolivian Highland Weaving by Cason & Cahlander, and Double-Woven Treasures from Old Peru by Cahlander. I’m still a beginner, so I haven’t done more than admire those double-woven treasures, but I’ve gotten a lot of ideas and hints from the other two and will use them more as I progress beyond plain weave.

The one I’ve use the most so far is in the bottom row, Techniques of Guatemalan Weaving by Bjerregaard. The Weaving Primer by Holland covers inkle, backstrap, and frame looms. The backstrap section in this book covers using a rigid heddle to use for weft-faced weaving, quite different from the warp-faced weaving covered in the other books; the inkle section has several good and simple warp-faced patterns that I plan to work on next.

Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands is not a how-to-weave book, but its many pictures of weavers at work, weaving patterns, and woven garments have made this one of my favorites. This is a great book to look at when I’m discouraged at my weaving progress because it shows me how much beautiful work is possible. Woven Treasures by Lamb is subtitled “one-of-a-kind bags with folk weaving techniques.” None of the bags are made on a backstrap loom, but the bands would make excellent backstrap projects and some of the balanced weave bags will be a fun challenge for me to tackle maybe later this year.

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