The Foxy Weaver
I had a lot of time to think on my drive to and from Memphis recently (over 40 hours on the road by myself – I knew I had gone a little loopy when I heard this sentence from my audiobook, “she felt as frail as a week-old baby” as “she felt as frail as a weak, old baby” and couldn’t stop giggling for half a state), and one of the things that was rolling around in my untethered mind was how weavers are so camouflaged. I have been teaching quite a bit around the country, and one of the things I have noticed as I have traveled from Winter to Spring, from mountains to plains, rural to urban is that weavers, who are of course a diverse lot, have something in common (other than a bit of fiber obsessiveness), and that is that they always surprise me. One of the great pleasures I encounter in my workshops is that I get to meet people who may on the surface be, like me, fairly unassuming middle-aged women, but the minute I have a chance to talk, I find these amazing depths. Depths of accomplishment, adventurousness, experience, intelligence and humor. In one of my recent classes, I met a woman, as nice as could be, provider of delicious baked goods, conservative in dress, but who made the most sharp and hilarious comments as she sat sedately at her loom, and when it came to color, she was a complete renegade! It reminded me how important/wonderful it is to over-turn my own assumptions. My kids “help” me with this all the time, but somehow it is even more surprising and delightful to have someone my own age send my unconscious generalizations/prejudices toppling with a sly aside or a revelation about professional accomplishments or astounding adventures. It makes me love my weaving brethren (sistren) even more to know that these women who may look to the world like kindly grandmas inoffensively knitting on the porch are smart, rebellious, creative, hilarious powerhouses who handle their complicated lives with competence and sharp intelligence. So be aware and beware – what may look like a brood of hens is actually a skulk of foxes!!
Fiona’s favorite odorama
Fooling with fulling
Hemp Spider weave
Merino scarf, pre-bath
Amazing Memphis mamas
Lovely blog! Yes you can’t judge a book by its cover!
Yes, this is what I love about the weaving sisterhood, there IS such depth of ability, intelligence, curiosity. I am always engaged and stimulated by this group — and forever thankful that I found them.
Amen – sister Amy!
I have been learning this same lesson lately. There is far more to a person than the surface.
Thanks for helping me to clarify my own life thoughts 🙂
I now have two projects lined up for my looms, if I ever can put my knitting needles down!
Having just spent so much time with the sisterhood – I feel ashamed to have neglected to mention the brothers in fiber who make the whole tapestry that much more interesting. Do tell – what’s lined up for the loom?
Thanks for your kind reply. First up is a stole for the priest at church. It’s been on my mind for a long time, but now I will be able to do it. It shouldn’t take too long.
My wife has asked for a poncho! Aggghhhhh…. 1970’s here we come. Maybe harvest gold and avocado! Just kidding. I’m still puzzling this one out. I did find a pattern in HW (Mar/Apr 05) that has a decent poncho, but the yarn is discontinued. It is the heavy rayon chenille at 475 ypp. I don’t even like working with rayon chenille, so I don’t need that particular yarn… but, I’m racking my brain trying to figure out a substitute warp/weft.
I really like Tracy Kaestner’s designs, and I love the houndstooth patterning and drape of the poncho in the March 2005 issue, but having woven many cotton chenille blankets in twill (and then given them as gifts and then seen them looking horrible and embarrassing, and then begging for them back so I could get rid of them because of worming), I can’t believe that heavy rayon chenille woven in twill wouldn’t do the same. If you do find a source (check out Peter Patchis – he often has heavy chenille mill ends) But I would suggest sticking to plain weave, or using a none-chenille yarn as weft to keep “the worm” at bay. The drape of the rayon chenille is fabulous, and might mitigate the heavy, stiff image of 70’s hand wovens. Does your wife need super warm, or just super fab? I am a wool lover, so the idea of a warm, cozy, wool poncho sounds great to me, but it would have to be pretty loosely set for the drape and probably merino for the soft coziness. Or mohair (my fave!) they have a few colors of loop mohair mill ends at WEBS right now – It is 1000 ypp, but you could use it doubled which is what I like to do for blankets (1000 ypp used doubled and set at 6epi) and loop mohair isn’t as sticky to weave with as the brushed. If you’re looking for a bulky yarn, what about (pricey though it is) one of the Malabrigo lines. Many are super soft singles, kettle-dyed, so that they have color interest . . . just spit-balling. I hope you will send pix of the stole. My oldest son is about to go to Divinity school for graduate school, so I am dreaming about ecclesiastical weaving.