CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

Where Do You Find Your Inspiration?

Is your Strickler, Weaver’s Book of 8 Shaft Patterns marked with lots of little post-it notes reminding you of things you want to weave? Have you thumbed through the current and back issues of Handwoven magazine and marked great ideas for future projects? I have a huge box of Handwoven magazines, all the way back to 1980, marked up like that. My Strickler book is so full of notes I can hardly find the actual book pages.

I love “Show and Tell” at the Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts and at our Weavers’ Study Group meetings. I get to see scarves and towels and bags woven with interesting weave structures in such beautiful colors. Then of course I ask for the pattern and stick it somewhere to hopefully find again when I want it. Binders work with tabs for different categories, but then I have to look through them to find what I want.

All of this works. We have all used some sort of systems like these to find our inspiration.

If only there were an easier way to see woven articles in color, with the patterns attached.  What if we could download those patterns to our computer to print out, or even to run a computerized loom?  What if there was a way to keep all those patterns in one place to browse through effortlessly? There is!

One day I needed a recipe for a pot luck dinner. My granddaughter whipped out her IPad and opened an app called Pinterest. We found a recipe.  We actually found hundreds of recipes.  So, now I have Pinterest on my IPad. (You can get it on your computer, too.  Just type in and follow the prompts.  It’s free.)

One evening I was browsing through Pinterest trying to figure out how to use it and typed “weaving” into the search bar.  WOW!  Up came loads of photos, patterns, blogs, ideas and how-to instructions. There was also the name of the source for downloading the pattern.

I now have a new source for inspiration that allows me to see the item, the pattern, and sort, save and find it again effortlessly.  Here is how it works:

Download the Pinterest app onto your IPad, or, go to on your computer.

Type in ‘weaving’ or ‘drafts to weave’ where the little magnifying glass is.  Select one of the tabs like patterns, or twills.  If you like to knit or crochet, try typing in knitting patterns or crochet patterns.  Play around and see what you find.

Tap on the photo of your choice, it will make the picture larger.  Tap the “visit” tab and it will take you to the board or blog that the item is on.  If you like it, you can “pin it”.  If you don’t like it, just tap the little back arrow at the top and it will take you back to all of them.  Once you are on a board or blog, it will lead you to more.  To get out of a board tap on the little x at the top.

If you tap “pin it”, it will ask you to “pick a board”.  Click on the little + sign and create a board.  Some ideas for boards are: 4 shaft; 8 shaft; scarves; etc.  I just have a board called “weaving”.  I like to be able scroll down and see all my pins for inspiration in one place.

Once you have created a board and pinned a few things, other people on Pinterest will see what you’ve pinned and will add it to their boards. You will get an e-mail message from Pinterest to tell you someone is following your board.  You will also get the names of other weavers’ boards that you can follow, leading you to more and more patterns.

When you are ready to use one of your “pinned” patterns, look at the writing beneath the pattern. A great many of them come from  Even if you don’t use Pinterest, this is a great source for thousands of patterns.  You can download them to your computer to use with a computerized loom.  The patterns are all .wif files, so you will need a computer program like WeavePoint, Fiberworks, or Weaveit to download the pattern.  Or, you can just save it to a clipboard and/or print out the pattern to use to set up your loom. has 60,018 patterns.  You can sort the patterns by category, collection or key words or ID#.  You can sort by the minimum and maximum number of shafts and or treadles.  There is also a store where you can buy CDs with collections of patterns if your computer isn’t connected to Wi-Fi.

This is a sample of all the information you will see when you choose a pattern:
Figure 441, A Handbook of Weaves by G. H. Oelsner, Germany, 1915, Draft #12844

Warp Unit 16 Reps: 2 Front Float: 2, Back Float:  2 
Weft Unit 16 Reps: 2 Front Float: 2, Back Float: 2 
Min Shafts: 4, Min Treadles: 4

Go to, search by keyword/ID 12844, and you will see the whole pattern. is another source for pattern drafts. You can also sort these by number of shafts, the name or the times the pattern was used.

I hope you try some of these ideas to find your inspiration.

If you get stuck, ask any young person. They all know how to use these apps and programs.  As for me, I just keep clicking on things until I find what I want.  I love the discovery.
Happy Weaving!

Arline Zerkel is a member of Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts.

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