“As all of the universe is woven warp and woof in the waters in what then are the waters woven? The Wind!” Brhadaranyaka Upanisad
Weaving is, even at its most efficient, a slow methodical process. This can be a great relief from the frantic pace of modern life or a great frustration depending on what you’re trying to achieve. I feel like I am swinging wildly between the meditative balm and frustration with the pace, i.e. so much to weave, so little time . . .
In the midst of work for Handwoven and Vav Stuga and WEBS, my kids had their 25th, 22nd and 15th birthdays, all in January, my best friend ( we raised our kids together) sold her house in town and is packing up, my grandmother was admitted to a rehab facility, and we had a massive fire in our tobacco barn (on Superbowl Sunday – poor firefighters!). Fortunately no one was hurt, but a good friend who used the barn to store his tractors and years of beautiful milled lumber is devastated – total loss.
Whoa life!! Please slow to a weaverly pace so I can untangle my emotions.
But the cloth keeps rolling off the looms . . .
I just finished a design for WEBS to help promote their Jaggerspun Heather line of yarn – beautiful, muted colors. I had to weave two small blankets before I reached a design I liked:
And I have been working on samples for an upcoming class at Va Stuga called “The Swedish Kitchen.” The idea is to create as many kitchen textiles as one can on a single warp so that the items are all slightly different, but coordinated so that you have a cohesive look. It has been a good challenge to try to create as many useful textiles as possible with as little resleying as possible. We have arrived at an 8-shaft double weave from which we were able to weave coordinating placemats, napkins, towels, hot pads and apron yardage and a 4-shaft straight draw that we wove into apron yardage, placemats in rep, napkins in plain weave, basket weave towels in tow linen, twill towels in plied linen, hot pads and little bags with the left over. If I had had a little more warp I would have tried for kitchen curtains, oven mitts , tea cozy . . . All this was done on a bit of a deadline helped immensely with a couple of huge snowstorms that caused meetings to be cancelled and distractions to be minimized. There is a blue kitchen, a yellow kitchen and a “man in the kitchen” set so far.
As you can see I’ve sneaked a shuttle into the apron pocket. (more weaving, fewer dishes is my motto!) I have also become enamored with grommets – a statement I never thought I would make.
I cut the “maiden warp off the Toika, and even though it wasn’t intended to be anything but a sampler, I needed a laptop case, so here it is with straps in process. (notice the grommets . . .)
My husband is currently reading “The Origins of World Mythologies” by E.J. Michael Witzel. And (way beyond me) it delves into linguistic archeology and theories about a common language from 15,000 years ago named “Nostratic” in which there is no distinction between wolf and dog, no names for domestic animals, no agricultural words, and the word for building comes from fastening or arranging so their theory is that homes were more “tent-like” structures. Anyway, there are words for, guess what . . . vessel and WEAVING!!!
So, in the warp and weft of life, the joy of kids and friends, the sadness and stress of loss we have the comforting knowledge that we are practicing an enduring craft whether we find it a balm, a vocation, an avocation (or at times, a big mess).