In ZATI The Art of Weaving a Life, Susan Barrett Merrill equates weaving an amulet with setting an intention.  It becomes the container for the fragile, young intention. It brings focus to our thoughts, and when it is woven, it becomes a tangible symbol, keeping the intention real, making it less elusive.

Now that I have found a place that I want to call home, I’m setting the intention of being there, pledging myself to the few acres of land that I will buy. The place where I will build my next home. The details are totally fuzzy, but I have to start somewhere. I have a lock for my potting shed door, and this amulet. I have a few years to figure everything else out. Am I crazy, in my middle age, to think about retiring to a more rustic way of life?

Amulet II 1As I wove, I sat in the garden at the Aerie. It’s not rustic, but it’s the only patch of land that I own. I had to touch the earth and pet the grass as the living being that it is. I let all the fatigue of the week drain away into the ground.

As I wove, I looked down and found a feather in the grass. Feathers are signposts for me, the Goddess’ way of making me pay attention.

Would I clear this much land for my house, having enough room for a stone terrace, a tiny bit of lawn, and a big kitchen garden? I would also clear a small circle in the midst of the woods, a place for magic and meditation. Might I be fortunate enough to have a small spring bubbling to the surface, like the one that was deep in the woods of my grandparents’ home?

So I wove my intentions, using bits of hand-spun yarn from my treasure basket, and snippets of the art yarn I had learned to spin.

Amulet II 2Amulet II 3

Spinning beyond

Insubordiknit-workshopIt really is all about the yarn. You’ve heard me say that when I talk about my approach to weaving, because the color and texture of yarn is more important in my work than complexity of the weave structure.

When the yarn looks like this, it REALLY is ALL about the yArN.

I spun all this yarn in one fabulous weekend workshop with Jacey Boggs of Insubordiknit.

Jacey is a gifted teacher. She guided the twenty of us through each technique by calling up small groups to stand behind her as she demonstrated. Then, as we went back to our spinning wheels to practice, we got to hear the instructions repeated three more times as she called the other groups up in turn. This really reinforces the learning. See it. Hear it. Do it.

Working hard. Taking breaks to look out the window at the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge. That’s the same view as my new office space. I’d rather be spinning, of course.

Taking this class in NYC was a good idea. I had a chance to meet and hang out with many of the local fiberati. Familiar names from Ravelry now have faces.

I was essentially the only weaver-spinner in a room full of knitter-spinners. I’m sure a couple of people are going to rush out and get looms. This yarn is made for freestyle weaving.

If you are spinning to weave, here are a couple of things to consider:

-Don’t wet-finish the yarn after spinning. Just steam it enough to get the kinks out. It will be wet-finished along with the other yarns in the fabric.

-What you see is very close to what you get. Knitters space their inclusions, coils or cocoons farther apart, because knitting takes up a lot of the intervening yarn. Weaving doesn’t consume as much, so space them where you want to see them.

-Over-spun yarn creates a collapse weave effect. I madly over-spun some of my yarn while learning the techniques. I’m prepared to be happily surprised by what happens in wet-finishing.

The yarn? You want to see close ups of yarn?


I will be spending the weekend in an art yarn spinning workshop with Jacey Boggs of Insubordiknit. I am really excited by the idea of creating “durable, usable art yarns, brimming with color, creativity, and a touch of mischief.” There’s a lot of mischief in many things that I do, so why should I expect my yarn be any different?

I believe that art yarn is at its best in weaving, and am thrilled at the idea of creating unique yarn for the Misted Hills coat.

My Lendrum spinning wheel is packed in its new, lime green suitcase, surrounded by a few pounds of roving and miscellaneous fiber.

How am I going to sleep tonight?  I’m too excited. The mischief in the fiber is calling me.

A second helping of blessings

You can never have too many blessings, can you? I’ve always thought of the Receiving Bowl as a place to hold your blessings. Since I just wove a second one, I must be preparing to receive more of life’s blessings.

IMG_0105This little  bowl was woven on my Journey Loom, using Recycled Sari silk yarn and cotton rug warp. I beat the weaving well with a small tapestry beater, and the resulting bowl is quite firm.

The pattern for this Receiving Bowl can be found in ZATI The Art of Weaving a Life.