In celebration of 2015

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A year of my life

I can see that I’ve found my way again as a weaver. Perhaps I was never really lost, but there were so many obstacles, whether real or perceived, for so many years, that I had begun to doubt.

In no particular order, this is what I wove

  • 3 small tapestries
  • 1 baby blanket
  • 4 placemats
  • 1 pillow cover
  • 3 mug rugs (and 9 more to be hemmed)
  • 3 tea towels
  • 3 potholders to match the tea towels
  • Assorted bands
  • 1 scarf
  • 2 baskets
  • 1 bowl
  • 1 doll
  • 1 amulet bag
  • 1 place setting bag

I also knit a pair of fingerless mitts. They count because the knitting class was at Vävstuga, my favorite weaving school.

This was also the year where I refined my herd of looms, giving Honey (Schacht Standard) a big hug and letting her set out on adventures of her own, and welcoming Juliet (Glimåkra Julia) to the studio. I also welcomed a new tapestry loom, band heddles, and a Norwegian cradle loom.

thinking about the past year

Aside

It’s inevitable, isn’t it? A line was drawn across the face of time, and we invariably look back after crossing it.

So, I am going to indulge in a bit of a look backwards. It’s been a unique and memorable year, with the new studio and new looms. On a more subtle level, i feel there’s a newer, more confidant Weaver, too.

Getting back to Basics at Vävstuga was important in shaping my newfound confidence. I know I used to dread winding a warp and putting it on the loom. It seemed like it took forever and it wasn’t pleasurable. Oh, how that has changed!

Having a warping mill has been a great time-saver. Even though my shoulder and arm have grown so much stronger that I can almost forget that they were ever injured, warping wasn’t really painless or quick until I started using the mill.

When I used to warp from front-to-back, I spent a lot of time dealing with tangles in the warp. Now that I use weights to keep the warp under even tension, I don’t get the tangles that I used to. I warp back to front, and I find the process easy and intuitive. It even works on Honey, my dear old jack loom.

Having the right looms makes a difference. I love my Glimåkras, and I am still in love with my Schacht.

Who knew that everything would come together for me last year? I thought it would have happened the previous year, when I took my retreat year at Sparrow Hill. No, it took me another year; I had to get beyond the reality that Sparrow Hill was just another way station.

I had to find a place called home. Then, anything was possible.

Deep in the spiral of midwinter, wrapped in The Lady’s warm cloak, I see the essential truth in this as a precious gift. Art can grow out of tension and desperation, but is this the kind of art that inspires or sustains you? Out of peace and contentment, a different kind of art emerges. This is the art that feeds your soul and quiets your mind.

Ive spent many days in the past few weeks at the loom, just weaving, just meditating on the breath. It’s basic and fundamental. It’s what makes me whole.

 

Hand spun and hand knit

I simply had to rummage the closets and pull out all the items I wrote about yesterday. Memory is a fickle thing. There are actually four hats that I spun and knit, and there must have been a fifth one  because I know there was a white beret at one time, and the bluish-green one had escaped memory.

Berets are a good hat style for me, because I can bundle up all my waist-length hair inside.

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Hand spun and home made

What if…I could spin enough fiber into yarn, and then weave and sew, or knit, most of my clothing and household textiles…

If not today, then soon. Spinning the yarn is the weakest part of the plan. I’m not that fast at spinning fine, plain yarn. Weaving and sewing don’t daunt me.

Since my time is still constrained by work for a few more years, it is going to be a slow transition. Weaving and sewing first, then more and more hand spun. I don’t know if I will ever choose to spin cotton and linen for towels or curtains, but I certainly will weave them.

What do I have so far?

Hand spun and home made:
–three berets

Some hand spun and home made:
–coat
–table runner

Home made with purchased yarn
–table runner
–two tote bags
–shrug
–three pairs of socks
–fingerless gloves
–two shawls
–countless scarves

I can see that I need skirts and tunics. Good. My current weaving project is fabric for a tunic. There’s a fair bit of hand spun in it.