About Us

Interwoven Textiles is a locally-owned and operated weaving company located in Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada.  You may have heard someone say that they started a business because they were following a dream.  In my case, this is literally what happened!  I didn't actually start the business as a dream, rather I started weaving because I had a dream.  

It all started way back when I was a little boy growing up in northern Alberta.  My great grandmother on my father's side was from the 'old country' - Poland.  She and my great grandfather emigrated to Canada and settled near Woking, a small hamlet located in northern Alberta where they set up a homestead and began farming.  My great grandfather died before I was born so never knew him.  My first memories of Baba (grandmother in the Ukrainian language) were of her in her tiny home in the hamlet of Woking.  She only spoke Ukrainian and I could only speak a few words of Ukrainian so we never really conversed in the conventional sense.  There, I remember her weaving rag rugs made from scraps of old material - old shirts, trousers, denim jeans, blouses, etc..  I always remember having her rugs around the house and therefore, the constant request for 'more rags' so she could continue making rugs.  

In time, Baba moved into the Pleasant View Senior's Lodge in Spirit River, Alberta where she continued to make her rugs.  She'd use a very simple wooden frame with nails hammered in at either end to wind her warp threads as the foundation for the rug.  She'd use sisal baling twine (what else would a farmer use?), which was fibrous and strong - perfect for making rugs!  She'd then use strips of cloth and wove the strips in between each strand of baling twine to make her signature rag rugs.  They lasted washing after washing from heavy use for years and years.  Sadly, I don't have any of her handmade rugs anymore.  Baba  passed away in 1982.

And then it happened.   In November of 2019, I had a dream about Baba and her rag rugs.  In the dream, Baba had just passed away and someone was making me feel really guilty that I didn't learn how to make rag rugs while she was still alive.  "What kind of a great grandson are you?  Why would you waste all that time when she was alive - you could have learned from her!  You know she would have loved to have spent more time with you and taught you how to make rag rugs."  Talk about waking up with incredible feelings of guilt and regret!  I couldn't let those feelings go no matter how hard I tried.

I'm a logical sort of fellow and I found myself quite surprised that I felt this incredible need to learn how to weave.  Oh, I tried to shrug the feeling off, thinking the feeling would pass.  It wouldn't.  Finally, I gave in and purchased a second hand floor loom and set about learning how to weave.

As a weaver, I'm self-taught having gleaned much from web-based resources and the books that I've purchased.  I wouldn't be where I am today without the help and guidance from my fellow weavers who are also members of a number of weaving guilds that I belong.  They have helped me with everything from winding a warp, sleying the reed, threading the heddles, tying on and beaming on the warp.  And how to read a weaving draft.

I know now that I love weaving.  I can't get enough of it.  I get antsy if I haven't woven in a few days.  What I used to fear about weaving I now embrace.  I used to think I wouldn't have the patience to weave - but I do!  The act of weaving is tactile, methodical, repetitive, and thoroughly satisfying.  Definitely therapeutic.  I'll never forget the first scarf I made.  Or the first tea towel. Or the frustrations I felt when threads broke before I even threw my first shuttle. Instead of giving up, I learned from those early mistakes.  And now I find myself wondering how I can learn more and more about weaving. So many weaving patterns and structures to learn - so much variety! There's a lifetime of knowledge out there just waiting for me to explore.  And all because of a silly dream. 

Thank you, Baba, for inspiring me.  I miss you.

Allan Shemanko
Intrepid Weaver and Owner, Interwoven Textiles.