When a Pause is Progress

This is how my three floor looms looked at the beginning of the year. Stark naked. After an intense flurry of holiday gift weaving, it was time for a bit of a break and my annual preventive maintenance on the looms. However, I can’t stand to be without weaving in my head so you can be sure my head was full of drafts, plans, and some actual progress with finishing my samples from my third visit to Madelyn van der Hoogt’s The Weavers’ School on Whidbey Island.

My head was also full of drafting samples to weave for my own further understanding of treadling and tie-up of profile drafts.

A couple of samples have been completed and the class samples are completed. So, it really wasn’t much of a pause. Fine with me!

Another benefit of working on the class samples was remembering my time at weaving school. Every time I go, I learn so much! 

I realized my dream of getting experience on a drawloom and I’m hooked!

Too bad we do not have the real estate for such a loom. Not even a possibility. My next dream is to get a community drawloom. Wouldn’t it be great to have a studio space and a few other folks to share such an investment?! Well, I’m not holding my breath but it sure was meditative and so much fun.

I’m very grateful for my experiences at The Weavers’ School and all that I have learned from Madelyn and Suzie. They are weaving wizards, great teachers, and lots of fun. While I’m posting links, check out Suzie’s Eugene Textile Center, too.

Madelyn van der Hoogt and Sade
Suzie Lyles and Buddy

Meanwhile, the beginning of the year found me spinning and knitting more. DH lovingly gifted me with a Hansen minispinner  for the holidays and I made my way through a couple of skeins. I spun a few mini-skeins to get started, including some very fine merino (bottom)  and Shetland (top) to sample with.

I also managed to finish some Polwarth from allonsyfiberarts.com    and some BFL from lisaknits.com

 

before embarking on another combospin project, this time in blues.

I’m calling it Blue Note and plan to listen to some jazz while spinning. I’m spinning Blue Note on my beloved Lendrum as I don’t yet have a Woolee Winder for the Hansen.

I finished knitting my first combospin sweater which I themed after the garden throughout the year.  I’m pleased with how it turned out and how the sweater fits. This is especially good news as I have not knit a sweater in a couple of years.

As soon as I finished my Garden Sweater of Many Colors, I cast on for a sweater I’ve been planning to knit for nearly a decade. My current knitting project is St. Brigid by Alice Starmore. The yarn has been in my stash since an annual sale at Meadowfarm Yarn Studio, which has been closed for more than five years, so you know this project has been sitting around for longer than that! I’m now close to completing the back panel of these amazing cables. True, I did not keep my promise of not casting on until other projects came out of hibernation, but at least I only started one project! Of course, with having visited the Stitches West marketplace, I have several skeins sitting out with one big project planned.

 

 

My dear daughter moved to brighter and bigger housing in January and said something about needing new towels for her kitchen. Music to the ears of a weaver! My initial visit before she moved clued me in to the theme of the towels: Sky. She has many windows and a great view of land, trees, and sky so I broke out the colors that had been sitting together on my shelf for two years.

After some sketching  (I’m liking the app Paper) and moving tubes of cotton around, I settled on plain weave and stripes to complement her many windows with view of sky. It was fun, taught me a great deal, and I’m sure to repeat the experiment with better results next time. My daughter was pleased, so that’s all that counts for this run of sky towels.

As the world came to a crashing halt due to this horrible pandemic, I had more time on my hands at home and took to weaving scarves and some towels. I may be helpless in so many ways right now but I can weave and so that is what I have been doing. A bit compulsively, I suppose, but I also call it “creating inventory.” Three scarves and four towels came off the Baby Wolf and Mighty Wolf in the last week and two scarves came off the week before. 

It has actually been fun working from stash. For the scarves I used some old knitting yarns that have been in stash for many years thanks to a friend’s major destash about 10 years ago. I also used some yarns that have been in my stash for about one year. I love A Hundred Ravens yarn! https://ahundredravens.com It is lusciously soft, and the colorways are beautiful.

The towels gave me an opportunity to use some partial tubes of cotton but, strangely, nothing was entirely used up.  I will admit this has been a detour from my profile draft samples but I will get back to it. It just feels so darn good to sit at a loom and complete something. And the project planning involved takes me out of any fears or dark thoughts that loom on the edge.

So, now I am pausing again. Taking a deep breath, meditating, walking, knitting and spinning and I will pause a day or two before warping the loom again. I have two scarves planned (two very different warps, all stash yarns) and a shawl to make for my daughter’s wedding (which may or may not happen this July, depending on sheltering in place or not). All the necessary yarn is in the house. I have one more color card coming before I decide on the rug yarns for my first rug, to be woven on my 1973 Gilmore loom.  The angle iron and weights are in place now and I have selected a draft. I’m not convinced rug weaving will be my “thing” but I’m certainly going to give it a try. I figure two rugs and then I will decide: be a rug weaver or move Gil along to a loving home. In any event, a slightly used Wolf Pup LT is coming my way from Oregon (via my youngest kiddo in Washington) once we can move about again. Dare I say “safely” move about?

At this moment, the sun is shining, I am most blessed, incredibly grateful, and can only hope a tiny bit of this positivity comes through to you, wherever you are. There is terrible suffering all over the globe and it may come right into this bright sunny room full of fiber and looms, to me, too. At any moment, the very fabric of our lives can be ripped and torn, leaving us nothing. That is something I learned at the tender age of 20, holding lives in my hands while working as an intensive care nurse. I’ve never forgotten the lessons and I also know the existence I so enjoy right now is tenuous on the best of days. But I will have had this moment, this love, this family, this passion, this life. I am grateful. May I knit, spin, and weave that into everything I make.

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