About a year ago I received a request from Margaret Stump, author of Pin Loom Weaving, and her newest book, Pin Loom Weaving To Go. She wanted to write a blog post about my blog! She kindly let me review the post before she made it public. I made a couple of minor corrections and she published it.
Now I’m wondering if I need to do the same for her—I was asked by her publisher if I would review her new book.
It seems to me a book review is supposed to be my honest opinion. Right? If Meg (I hope she doesn’t mind if I call her that instead of Margaret which takes a lot longer to type) has suggestions, I welcome them. And if I’ve made mistakes, I’ll happily correct them. But I think I’ll write this review without adult supervision.
That said, I have to confess, I don’t feel entirely free to write my opinion. First of all, Meg will likely read this, and I wouldn’t for the world hurt her feelings. Second, her publisher will read it, the same publisher who asked me if I’m still interested in writing a book (though that’s looking kind of cloudy at the moment). I mean, can you see my position?
Nevertheless, while I’ll sincerely attempt to not trample feelings, I will express my opinion. (Caveat: it feels a little like I’m promoting my own stuff in this review. I don’t mean to; I’m the kind of person who likes to have links to things that are mentioned instead of making people go look it up for themselves.)
Pin Loom Weaving To Go is primarily a pattern book, but it also contains some useful instructions. After the basic introduction and tools info, the book tells you how to build a two-inch square loom (whose pins are equally spaced rather than in three-pin groups). (I prefer my own instructions because they’re a thousand times easier—no hammers involved. Still, Meg could hardly include MY instructions in her book; not to mention the fact that her book was set in type before I published my blog post and its companion video.) In addition to pin loom weaving instructions, she also tells us how to use the three-layer weaving technique on a rectangular knitting loom and a pot holder loom. For the most part, this information is un-new to me; I think it’s adequate (especially if you already know how to pin loom weave) and not overwhelming.
There are also instructions that tell how to weave a triangle on the Zoom Loom and then join the halves so you get two triangles of a different color. I once tried weaving two triangles at the same time on a square loom with mixed success; it’s probably easier to just join them. I look forward to giving that technique my fuller attention. (Sorry, no photo at this time.) Some of the projects use triangles and they’re very pretty.
What you really buy this book for is the projects. By now we all know projects aren’t my strong suit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to look at them or can’t appreciate them.
A quick count of projects, according to the Table of Contents, shows there are 29, three of which are amulet bags. I’d say there are too many amulet bag projects in this book. After the first one, I think we’ve got the idea on how to make them and a “Gallery” page of different sizes with different doo-dads attached would have sufficed.
Five pages of the book are devoted to four nearly identical fiber cuffs—again, I don’t think you need separate instructions for each of them. Perhaps I’m being overly picky, but that feels like filler to me. Fiber cuffs aren’t something that interest me at all, so I’d rather see three or four of those pages devoted to something different.
Something different? OK, maybe making flowers isn’t different, but this book inspired me to finally try them.
These were easy and fun and Meg shows them attached to a number of projects. In the past I’ve only seen them made with larger (4″) squares; these minis are more appealing to me. I admired her idea of attaching them to a branch for spring decor. (Spring is approaching here in Utah, and welcome to it!) My reproduction isn’t representative of her cute project, but I wanted to try it out. (I couldn’t find an interesting stick—I used to have some, but my puppy Casey chewed them all up.)
Meg didn’t suggest using beads for the flower centers, but my French knot skills are lacking, so I took what I consider the easy way out. Incidentally, I learned that opaque beads show up better than foil-lined clear glass.
On the Facebook Pin Loom Weaving Support Group I’ve heard a couple of oohs for Meg’s “Long May it Wave” blanket. Its subtle color variety has a folk art feel without being drab. It involves more than 100 squares, so you know I won’t be making it. It’s very pretty though.
I’m interested in her “Log Cabin Pattern” pillow tops. These combine squares from different looms to form a log cabin quilt block replica. It’s fun to see different sizes used together in the same project.
A few of the projects employ pattern weaves, which is my favorite kind of thing. It’s really fun to see how repeating one shape over and over in a project gives the pattern-woven square a different look.
Meg includes instructions on felting and blocking. Here’s my attempt to imitate her “Bluebird Purse”—minus the purse. I didn’t follow her felting instructions or use her template (which is included, but I like to make my own). I wondered how felting and then CUTTING (scary!) a shape out of a square would work. I must have felted mine pretty well, because I didn’t get any unraveling after I cut out the bird and its wing.
You won’t find any of Meg’s little animal or doll sculptures in this book, which I think is a shame. It’s rather a slim volume—114 pages. I’d have liked to see a few more different things, especially projects using fewer squares—rather than amulet bags and fiber cuffs. It’s a challenge coming up with a balanced variety of projects, to be sure—did I put in enough different things? did I include enough variations without being redundant?
So . . . my honest opinion? For many months I had the book on pre-order from Amazon. After Meg published her blog post on it, I decided not to buy it—not because I didn’t think it was a good project book, but because it was a project book. I’d already learned how to use other loom types and knew how to make my own looms. However, I’m glad I own a copy now. I love to be inspired to try new things and old things in a new way. It’s not the best-organized book (according to my standards) and it doesn’t have an index—drives me crazy when I look back through what I just read and can’t find it again. After reading a good deal of it, I’d say the writing is good, and the instructions are clear. Clear and sufficient instructions are a necessity. I recommend this book (even though it doesn’t have an index).
If you want to see some photos from the book, I suggest you visit Meg’s website and this post: A new book – Pin Loom Weaving To Go