What is Handwoven

Handwoven. The word brings up images of rug making or gets confused with crochet or knitting. The word does apply to the rug image but what handwoven means here at Penguin Designs is different.

Handweaving for me means there is a loom in what people would call my dining room.

It means that there is thread and yarn all over the house. Some are in boxes or tubs, some are sitting on selves and tabletops. (And, no, I am not going to show you all of that mess!)

It means learning a language that includes terms like beams, shuttles, heddles, shafts, harnesses, treadles and a lot more. It is playing with different types of thread material, different thicknesses, and different feels.

Then it is learning the 27 steps to putting thread on a loom. That is called warping. It has nothing to do with light speed but everything with the base of any fabric. Stringing out hundreds of threads one by one in the order that they will be in the fabric. And each thread can be anywhere from 3 yards to 15 yards long. That is step one.

And that is what handwoven really is. It is making fabric in all its forms. Whether it is a length of cloth for an art piece or a roll of fabric for a coat or a scarf, if it is done on a floor loom, it is handwoven. It is a craft and an art. It is beautiful.

At Penguin Designs there is both craft and art. There is also history, Our creations honor the stories of explorers. It is an art to use color and the structure of woven cloth to keep those stories alive.

Learning to weave is exploring. It makes us think. It lets us share the beauty.

Enjoy the results of our work. Remember the people we honor.

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What Our
Customers Say

I love Gael Gisvold’s new tartan for many reasons. Celebrating Edward Bransfield’s discovery of Antarctica with the shades of the Antarctica land and seascape is such a cool idea. The colors are beautifully woven in to a fascinating story of this icy, harsh environment. My scarf is soft and warm. The colors match most everything that I own. Being Scotch Irish myself, I appreciate the interesting histories that so many tartans can tell.

Christine Crossan Bogart