The Warp Weighted Loom: A book review

While working on my BSP(tm), I went digging for resources on warp weighted looms. A number of posts came up, and when chatting with some out of kingdom weaving friends of mine, this one book got mentioned as being a really great resource. Long story short, I managed to get a hold of a copy via University InterLibrary Loan (Thank you Princeton for buying cool textile books.) to be able to have a wee look see before I ordered from Norway.

The Warp-Weighted Loom I Oppstadveven I Kljásteinavefstaður by Hildur Hákonardóttir, Elizabeth Johnston and Marta Kløve Juuhl 

It’s a hefty book, at about 300 pages, and while I didn’t stick it on the scale, hauling it around in my backpack, I absolutely knew it was there. It has a solid cardboard cover, heavy pages within, and is bound such that it will lie utterly flat and stay open. It is a very pretty book.

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The book itself is divided into three sections. The first section is a look at the history of warp weighted looms in three different locations; Iceland, Shetland, and Norway. The second section was a practical ‘how to’ for making and weaving on a warp weighted loom and the third section was a series of articles, essays and reports relevant to warp weighted looms.

The history of the loom was really engaging and interesting. They took a very personal tack on how the loom fit into the culture and society in each place. The inclusion of Shetland is unusual from what I can read, and I really appreciated it. They went as far back as they could find information for, solidly into our early period and discussed the loom in each of those areas up to when it was replaced, often in the 19th century sometime.

The practical section included clear photographs next to each description of what to do next. This section was written in English, Icelandic and Norwegian. There was both how to start with a tablet band and without, and how to thread heddles both for tabby and twill. While I haven’t yet tested the directions myself, reading them over made the experience seem accessible and possible. I look forward to trying them out soon (and a friend swears by those directions to get her heddles knitted on).

The final section was the one I wasn’t expecting. Bits and pieces of this and that.. from the book’s website, you can see the titles of this articles in this section. More history, an article on grave finds. Experimental archeology. Traditional bed covers, finishing cloth in the sea, traditional crafts in modern society. They were fascinating little tidbits. Short, about a magazine article in length, but thoughtful and well written and left me wanting to read more, or experiment.

I got the book via ILL to see if it was worth the money and hassle of importing it from Norway. It’s a small publisher, they sell direct.. there’s no Amazon machine to make international currency and shipping convenient, and I can say that this book has been added to the shortlist of book buying, once I save up my pennies. (Small press textile books are never the cheapie ones, drat it!) I was really impressed and I’m looking forward to adding it to my textile library.

One thought on “The Warp Weighted Loom: A book review

  1. Pingback: Heddles! – Adventures in A&S

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