As with everything new that I try, I will usually have a book or two (in this case 6!) on it. This is a post without photos, but will have links as I am going to do this as one post, so here goes.
Firstly, as much as I love felting, there are lots of things I have not made due to the size required to make a garment, especially if you want to make it seamless. Taking shrinkage rates into consideration, you basically need to make an item twice the size of what you need to make it fit.
With weaving, you just need to make it to the finished size and voila, you are done! It doesn’t matter if the scarf is a little too short or big, because it is a scarf and if you get some measurements wrong, you can always add more or take some away. I have woven a few scarves and a couple of ponchos now, but the one thing I want to make (and something I have not felted) is a vest. Finding patterns or videos online to make these are nearly impossible to find. However, I did come across one person who has made herself some garments from her weaving, so I can at least revisit that video for inspiration. In the meantime, I sourced out a few books. Just to let you know a little of what you are in for when buying these books. You will be required to do some basic sewing. Essentially, you will be weaving rectangles that will need to be put together. Some projects will require you to do some basic knitting or crocheting. Also, you may need to cut your material, but that is ok, because the books tell you how to do everything. I have not made anything yet from these books, but I have been reading them and trying to get my head around the patterns as it has been some time since I have sewn a garment.
- Woven Style For the 15″ Rigid Heddle Loom, by Tamara Poff (2016). I thought this would be a good start as I have a 16″ SampleIt. I was also attracted to its cover. Unfortunately, you cannot tell what the rest of the book is like as the ‘look inside’ section doesn’t give much away. I do like this book. There is a lot of basic information at the front before the projects. This is definitely a project based book, with yarn recommendations and it offers different sizing information which is useful if you are no longer thin. Obviously, the widest you are going to be able to weave your fabric is going to be as wide as your loom and in this instance it is 15″, though I have only ever managed to get mine to 14.5 on the finish for a 16″ loom. The projects start with tops, then vests, then wraps and finishing with accessories, including a handbag. I am not sure how easy it would be to get the yarn in the projects, or a replacement, as this book produced in the USA and I live in the UK. I am currently weaving with my hand spun yarn so for me I would not make items such as the tops that would require cotton or similar at the moment.
- Woven to Wear, 17 Thoughtful Designs with Simple Shapes, by Marilyn Murphy (2013). This book has a lot of very simple designs which consist mostly of scarves and wraps. Nothing looks particularly complicated to make. There is a lot of information on supplies and tips for making each item. If you do not live in the USA, you may have difficulty finding the yarn used in the book if that is what you want to use. The width on some of these woven pieces is wider than my loom, so I would need to weave more than one piece or learn how to do double width weaving. Although measurements are given, you will need to measure yourself to make sure that you make the piece long enough and wide enough to fit as I found that most of the garments in all of the books are made to fit a more slender person.
- Simple Woven Garments: 20+ Projects to Weave & Wear, by Sara Goldenberg & Jane Patrick (2014). Most of the projects in this book do not seem too complicated to make. There is information on supplies and tips. Sizing information is provided, so you would need to make adjustments on certain items to make them fit you. This book is also published in the USA, so you may not be able to get the same yarn in the project, however, they show the yarns and what to look for to make substitutions if you want. What is nice about this book is that variations are offered for different looks.
- Shitate no Hon, by Saori leaders’ committee – In Japanese and also known as The black book.
- Fuku no katachi ni Suru – Blue pattern book by Saori Hiroba -In Japanese.
- Beginners’ Saori Clothing Design – In English.
You can purchase the last three Saori books from The Saori Shed in the UK. I would start with the Beginners’ book as it is in English and the principles are the same in the other books. You can buy an app for your phone or iPad to translate the Japanese text to help with following directions. I prefer the layout of the blue book to the black book as there are photographs of the garments on an actual person instead of drawings and diagrams. The positive aspect of the Saori books is that there is no weaving pattern to follow. You just weave the fabric to the sizes specified. (Just remember that you would need to adjust your sizes to fit you as these are geared for petite and slender people.) I have been looking at a lot of Saori weaving lately for ideas and although the weaving is meant to be random and intuitive, I have noticed that a lot of the weaving has a particular style compare to other freeform weaving I have seen and it does seem that a lot of thought goes into it, so I have just ordered another book Saori Self-Innovation Through Free Weaving for a bit more insight.
Some more thoughts on these books or a bit of a summary. The first three books are all project based. They all provide information on what you need to make the projects from the yarn down to the measurements and yardage and some offer new weaving techniques. This is great if you are an absolute beginner and want to start that way. I am a beginner, but I am using my own yarn, so for me, I just want to know the bottom line and that is the end size of the pieces I need to work with to put it all together. This is why the Saori books are really appealing as they cut to the chase. Not all of the projects in any of the books will suit you, but you can try to adapt things or just work on the items that appeal to you. I am certain that there is more to like than not to like.
I hope this has been helpful and when I start working on projects from the books, I shall be happy to share the outcomes.