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Handwoven September/October 2023

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One of the joys of weaving is creating the unexpected. For this issue, that meant looking at how the combination of color, weave structure, and yarn types can produce the illusion of iridescence, pearlescence, and even incandescence in cloth. All nine projects seem to glow, reflect, and even shimmer in the light surrounding them.

Some of the articles address these same qualities, including Bobbie Irwin’s studies of woven iridescence, a Yarn Lab about weaving with neon bright colored yarns, and an Endnotes describing one weaver’s attempts to create iridescence but getting other unwanted effects. From a technical aspect, you can read about weaving with rayon chenille, a light-catching fiber that can also be a challenge to weave with, photography tips for weavers, and an interview with a scientist currently studying bioluminescence and photoluminescence in fiber. Tom Knisley has some tips if you are considering starting your own sheep-to-shawl team, and in What’s Happening we’ve highlighted a beautiful and long-awaited show about the weaving program at Black Mountain College. Finally, our Spotlight is on Toshiko Taira, a woman who is credited with reviving a Japanese fiber and weaving cultural tradition.



  • What’s Happening: Weaving at Black Mountain College by Christina Garton
  • Spotlight: Toshiko Taira, Reviving a Cultural Tradition by Beth Ross Johnson
  • Notes from the Fell: Sheep-to-Shawl Basics by Tom Knisely
  • Bioluminescent Yarn? By Heather Matthews with Dr. Sweta Iyer
  • Photography for Weavers by Kelly Casanova
  • Exploring Multicolor Iridescence by Bobbie Irwin
  • Weaving with Rayon Chenille by Deborah Jarchow
  • Yarn Lab: Prairie Spun DK: Neon Bright Colors from Brown Sheep Company by Liz Moncrief
  • Endnotes: To be iridescent or not to be by Eileen Lee


  • Shimmering Crackle Scarf by Bobbie Irwin (4-shaft)
  • Neon Incandescence by Dorothy Tuthill (8-shaft)
  • Autumn Pearls by Jennifer Sargent (6-shaft)
  • Perfect Pairing by Brenda Gibson (8-shaft)
  • Dreaming of Butterflies Wrap by Merriel Miller (4-shaft)
  • Ray of Light Placemats and Napkins by Malynda Allen (4-shaft)
  • Northern Lights Tote by Sara Pate (8-shaft)
  • More Echoes, Please by Barbara Goudsmit (12-shaft)
  • Heavenly Harvest Chenille Poncho by Deborah Jarchow (4-shaft)