A Safe, Encouraging Place For You to Explore Your Way of Weaving

The Weaver’s Challenge

Weavers are all trying to solve the same tangled puzzle: how to make cloth that helps us express our creativity.

Yet when you’re weaving, even small changes in the weight of your beater, the warp’s sett, or the colors you use can change your fabric substantially.

If you don’t understand how these changes affect your fabric, it will be hard to predict what will happen. This makes it hard to explore, because you’re constantly coming up against roadblocks!

At The Handweaving Academy, we help members gain the mastery they need to explore the world of weaving.

A Map to Weaving Mastery

Weaving mastery is made up of four key elements:

Every weaver is constantly learning and exploring…and the wonderful (and sometimes frustrating) thing about weaving: there is always more to learn.

Each month, we release bite-sized classes that cover one or more of the four elements of weaving mastery. These classes will build on one another, culminating in one or more projects that you can design and create, applying what you’ve learned in multiple classes.

Take as many or as few of the classes as you want. Do the project or not—it’s entirely up to you!

If you take a class on color, you’ll get guidance in the final project on how to change the colors. If you take a class on sett, you’ll get suggestions on how to play with the sett. If you take both color AND sett classes, you’ll learn how color and sett interact.

The more you learn, the more elements you can change.

If you’re less experienced, we’ll give you guidance.
If you’re more experienced, we’ll give you the tools to go ‘off-roading’ and play with new ideas with confidence.

Our Beliefs

We’re building a different kind of learning experience here at
The Handweaving Academy. And we take that task seriously.

Hands-on: We believe learning your craft happens everywhere—while you’re taking a course, actively weaving, and connecting with other weavers

Encouraging: We believe having a safe place to ask a weaving-related question without fear of negative judgment and/or ridicule encourages more creativity

Inclusive: We believe people learn better when they learn together, and we actively welcome people from all cultures and backgrounds

Open-Minded: We believe there is no one right way to weave: the craft moves forward when people follow their curiosity

Fun: We believe that weaving is more fun when you’re connected to other weavers

The Academy Team

Janet Dawson

Janet, one of the Academy co-founders, teaches physical design and the weaving process. She covers how to design good, functional cloth and weave it off enjoyably. Her goal is not to dictate How Things Should Be Done, but to provide information and options that allow you to decide for yourself how to achieve good cloth and enjoy yourself while making it.

“Good cloth, happy weaver!” is her mantra. Janet loves Nutella, her husband Ron, and her cats Poppy and Black, not necessarily in that order.

Tien Chiu

Tien, the Academy’s other co-founder, teaches visual design and the design process, especially color in weaving. She lives to sample, and has over 2,500 dye samples and hundreds and hundreds of woven swatches to prove it. Tien’s work has been featured on the cover of Handwoven and collected by a museum, as well as winning many prizes.

She is the author of a book about the creative process in craft: Master Your Craft: Strategies for Designing, Making and Selling Artisan Work. Tien’s goal is to teach students the science behind designing with color, empowering them to design work that they love. She believes that a good teacher gives students the tools they need, then helps them explore their curiosity.

When not teaching at the Academy, Tien can be found at the gym, powerlifting 300+ pound barbells. She and her wife Jamie are owned by two cats, Tigress and Fritz.


Kathy is the Community Manager for the Academy. She moderates the forums and Peer Support events, and works tirelessly to make the Academy an inviting and safe place for weavers to connect. She has been a Ravelry weaving group moderator for several years, and is program head for two weaving guilds.

Kathy started as a knitter, then added spinning, weaving, felting, and even a little crochet to her life. When she is not playing with fiber, she can be found in a hockey rink, watching her kids play, or out on the ice herself. In the summer, she alternates between fishing and weaving in northern Ontario. Kathy loves seeing Academy members connect with each other to learn, explore, and share the wonderful craft of weaving.


Dawn is the user tech support, course, and Color Editor guru for the Academy. Her background as a 30-year executive secretary /IT helper, and administrative jack-of-all-trades prepared her well for this role.

Dawn is a lifelong maker, starting with gods-eyes (and a pet lamb!) as a kid, then progressing to natural dyeing, tie-dyed onesies, and a stint as a professional pastry chef. She started playing seriously with string in 2000: knitting, crocheting, spinning, tablet weaving. She is dying to get her Baby Wolf loom up and running! When she’s not working here or as a grocery buyer, she’s on the beach soaking up the sun or chasing dolphins and manatees on her paddleboard in the Gulf.

Dawn says, “I’m honored to be part of such a special community. I groove on seeing/ hearing weaver’s faces light up with aha moments!”


Carmen is our tech guru (her nickname is “She Who Knows Things”!), working behind the scenes, helping with user accounts, setting up events, and generally doing anything technical except the website.

Carmen is our only team member who does NOT weave (yet… we’ve been working on her!), but she practices many other fiber arts, such as knitting, crocheting, and designing patterns. She lives in western Wisconsin with her husband, daughter, a basset hound, and several chickens.

Carmen loves meeting all the friendly and helpful people in Handweaving Academy, and doing a variety of fun things for us. Never a dull moment!

Craft, Curiosity, and Creativity: Find it all inside The Handweaving Academy