Day 2 and 3: Excuse Me While I Throw My Shuttle

That’s right dear readers, I’m a weaver! I can use words like “shuttle” with abandon. If you weave, you might even know what the hell I’m talking about!

Got me a gorgeous little 12 inch Ashford rigid heddle tabletop loom yesterday. Or rather my parents-in-law bought it for me for as an early x-mas present. I warped it this morning, and I’ve got a good 10 inches of red and gray scarf woven already. I am sooooo excited. Geez. Realized yesterday morning when I woke up, and couldn’t care less about glomming onto the computer first thing (like I’ve been doing for months) how much some new and interesting learning project like this has been lacking from my life. There is just nothing like learning, discovering, creating.

I haven’t figured out how to get pictures up yet. Luddite that I am, I don’t have my own laptop (gasp!), so I have to make do with the in-laws computer. Not that it’s inferior, it’s a perfectly fancy mac. But I’m just intimidated by all things electronic, and it’s not the exact system I’m familiar with, so it sets me back with dread. I’ll tackle it soon, so’s y’all can see the sexy new love of my life.

I have to say– okay, I’m only 10 inches in, but so far– it’s everything I’d hoped for! As I throw the shuttle back and forth, I’m trying to figure out why weaving is my fiber craft, not knitting, not crocheting, not spinning, not felting. ‘Cuz boy are the first two so much cheaper to get into, so much more portable and logistically simple. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

1. I’m a control freak. Yeah, I’ll admit it. When I think of spinning, and I did try my hand at it once, I get a panic attack. All those fibers. You just can’t tame them all. A good spinner has to just let those fibers flow through her fingers with a certain release. You can’t make every inch of yarn perfect. And in fact, the most beautiful yarns are not remotely perfect. It’s the irregularity that makes them so appealing. But though I can appreciate it, I can never let go for stuff like that. With knitting not as much, but still true. My first few years of knitting, the reason I didn’t like it was because I sat there with gritted teeth, trying to wrestle that yarn into obedience, with impossibly tight stitches (sometimes so tight I couldn’t fit the damn needle in, and had to pry open a space) and a searing neck ache. After giving it up for a few years, I was able to come back to it with a relaxed neck, and loose stitches. But I still find it kind of annoyingly unmasterable.

Not that my weaving rows are so pretty, whoo boy. But there seems the possibility for control with weaving that other fiber arts don’t offer. And that the control won’t ruin the beauty of the piece, or cause my neck permanent damage…

2. I like stuff I can do in recognizable chunks. Like do one big thing, then be done with that for awhile. With knitting (which I did try hard to like, over the course of more than ten years) you cast on, then it’s pretty much the same thing till you’re done. I mean, one stitch from another– not a big difference. Pretty much the same action. And it goes slow. I know there are speed knitters out there, I’ve watched in awe as whole socks popped out of those damn needles. But, you’re never gonna beat a weaver. Weaving starts with warping your loom, which takes a significant amount of time. Then you get to do the actual weaving, which goes fast. Then the cutting from the loom and finishing. Three significantly different activities. Which makes it seem not to drag on so much as knitting.

3. Though I can really appreciate the simplicity of being able to create clothing with two little sticks and a ball of yarn, I also do love a brilliantly designed non-electric tool. Looms, especially the small ones, are a beautiful balance of human engineering. Just complex enough to do a job gorgeously well, but not so complicated that it takes an expert to operate one.

4. Lastly, I love woven wool. Don’t know why, but the look and feel of it just does me in! I swoon.

So, that’s it. My new love affair revealed.

Now, excuse me while I go throw my shuttle.

4 thoughts on “Day 2 and 3: Excuse Me While I Throw My Shuttle

  1. Ha! It’s begun…the spell’s been cast. Enjoy and submerge, you’ll swim well!
    The coverage of why the love affair with weaving is written beautifully, with true Calamity Jane finesse. You’re a joy.

  2. What do you think about the loom now that you have used it for a while. I am thinking about getting an Ashford loom too, but perhaps the wider one. Let me know what you think about it. Maybe then I will get some spinning done..have lots of batts done and also some alpaca that is just waiting for me to learn how to spin..and then there is quilting…lots of fun things to do during these “cold” winter days that seem to zip by. Alaskamarge

    1. i love my small loom for it’s unobtrusiveness. i really pondered the 12 or 14 inch question, but for me, right now, i am so glad i went with the 12. it’s not like i can be a serious weaver at this point in my life (esp not with all the many other things i want to do too!) and my 12 inch loom just feels small, do-able. a lot of it is mental. but, physically too. i mean, i can pick it up for a few stolen moments anywhere in the house. for someone who can focus on a project however long they please, and has room for a loom stand, i’d prob say the bigger size would be more satisfying, just cuz you can do more with it…

  3. Woot! I have a Beka (made here in MN) 24 rigid heddle loom. Used it for scarves and table runners so far but I am planning dish towels next.

    And I just learned how to direct warp my loom!

    Before I go on and on – have you checked out Weavezine?

    http://www.weavezine.com/

    and have you signed up for Ravelry.com? That’s mainly for knitters but they have an active weaving component as well.

    Bye!

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