Weaving together the disparate threads of a story

This isn’t the story of a young woman who drew her life plan with such confidence, all the lines firmly inked with pen. Or how she found herself in love with a dreamer. Virgo and Aries were not destined for happy ever after. No, we leave that young woman in the past, standing on a mountaintop with a string puddled at her feet. while the balloon sailed freely away.

She took that string home and learned to weave.

She prowled the mountainside in the company of mythical cheetahs, leaping, and dancing, drawing life plans next with charcoal, and eventually with a stick in the sand. Virgo can be the firm bedrock of the mountain, but also the shifting sand, swept freely by wind, water or a carefree hand.

Isn’t weaving one of those things drawn with firmly inked lines, the thread held taut in submission and manipulated by the visions of frustrated mathematicians? Or does it become a dance of fingers across dynamically tensioned threads, a harp upon which to play music from deep within the heart?

This is the story of a dreamer who lets the thoughts of smiling people wash across her, occasionally wincing at a hidden thread of bitterness or sorrow. One who has worn the circlet of the stars with reverential mirth, and one who still feels too young to claim the cloak of the wise crone, though it came along with the teapot and other trappings of the office. She aspires to all this, but her dance card is full and there are countless ideas that deserve an enthusiastic “YES!”

In Grasse, the fields are carpeted with lavender, or at least they were the last time I was there. Things change, but not in the context of this story. The fragrance hovers above the ground, rising and falling with the wind and sun. This is the dynamic tension between dream and reality, balloon and mountain, me and the string. This is how I weave and why I weave.

May I present Aislin to you? She is the wise and calm woman of that chance meeting on a broken-down subway train, the face I see in the still waters that rise in the woodland glade, and when I ask who she is, her answer is always the same.

“I am whoever I am needed to be.”


one for sorrow and two for joy

As I start my second journey through Zati: The Art of Weaving a Life, I can’t help but notice how that childhood rhyme, used for counting magpies, ravens or crows, describes the journey. The first time I worked through the small and intensely thoughtful keyforms outlined in the book, I was mourning my mother’s passing. I never quite finished the projects, and am in fact, still weaving the shawl. It’s coming to an end. Finally.

Along the way, I’ve woven the occasional amulet when invoking something new into my life, and have woven the receiving bowl as both a chance to receive life’s blessings and also as an opportunity to share them with someone else.

Now, I am weaving from a place of joy, bouncing through the keyforms, not necessarily in sequence. This is my first chance to enjoy and embrace the spring season at Buttonwood. Last spring, everything was mud outside and unpacked boxes inside. My mother always said that the snow should go off with the wind and sun rather than rain. While the snow is by no means gone, the March wind blows with vigor and enthusiasm.


Spring in the hilltowns is only a promise in March. I celebrated the equinox in blowing snow. Yet, I know it is spring because the snow melted from the paths and deck railings within a day. I also know that this is spring because of the light. The days are long now. I’m filled with energy, and the house is filled with sunlight and the sounds of chanting. In the garden, under the frozen soil, the spring bulbs must be getting impatient. “When, when?” they ask. “Soon, soon,” I whisper. The magic for awakening the earth must wait a bit. I will not rap on the frozen ground and ask them to awaken in bloom. Not yet.

I did weave that promise into an amulet, along with the intention to question less, and do more (such as going to kirtan last Wednesday on an absolute whim), and to trust my instincts and go where they lead me.



There are days where I cannot sit at the loom and throw the shuttle on it’s fixed path. It’s just too linear and predictable for the wilder energy that I am feeling. I have to grab a simple frame loom, some expressive yarn, and experience all the sensations of weaving through my fingertips.

It was snowing gently but persistently when I wove this, but my heart was attuned to the chatter of the finches. Now? Now? They are asking in excited and buzzing tones.

I can weave my nest now because dreams can be nurtured in any season. They hatch when they are ready.

Alas, dear finches, you must wait.


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

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.

Meet the looms – 3

As time passes, weaving becomes more about process and less about the technology.  Soon, I’ll be weaving on a simple stick loom, and spinning wool using a rock and a stick.

Journey LoomWait, I do use a simple stick loom.


This is a Journey Loom.  It comes apart into a bundle of seven sticks, and fits in a slender quiver.

This is the loom that I take to the rocks above the sea.

This is the loom where I weave my life.

Picking up the warp of a tapestry loom, thread by thread, is as simple as weaving gets.  Over.  Under. Over. Under. Simple but profound.

Even the yarn is simple. These are colors I dyed years ago, in kettles of natural dyes. The colors of nature all work together in a gentle harmony.  These are the colors of Mother Earth Herself.

When it is this simple, words are not necessary. Let the loom speak for herself.