2016 is a special year for me because in May I will celebrate my five year anniversary of working on Handwoven and Weaving Today. I can’t tell you how much my life has changed for the better these past five years because of weaving. I come from a family of folks who are very good at various fiber endeavors. My grandmother, who is utterly astounding, can knit anything, regularly creates her own amazing knitting patterns, and can sew extraordinarily well. (In the 50s and
early 60s she would sew and knit her own wardrobe for herself and her children including some truly fantastic hats.) Others in the family can also knit extremely well as well as crochet and spin.
As a child, I wanted nothing more than to be able to knit and/or sew as well as my grandmother. I had her teach me how to knit and sadly I found I did not enjoy it. I tried and would pick it up again and again throughout the years (I definitely remember knitting long “Harry Potter” style scarves in college from my top bunk), and while I enjoyed the finished product, I did not enjoy the process. I later picked up sewing, and while I was just fine at that—and enjoyed doing small projects—it was difficult to keep at it for longer than a couple hours at a time. I figured I probably wasn’t cut out for working with fiber—that I should find other creative hobbies and leave the yarn alone. Then I discovered weaving and my life changed forever.
Unlike knitting and sewing, I not only enjoyed the finished projects but I also enjoyed—loved, really—the process of weaving. I could sit for hours at the loom, listening to music or podcasts, and happily warp or weave away. It’s a process that feels natural to me—I don’t know how else to describe it, but I’m quite certain that more than a few of you out there understand what I’m trying to say. I’m not saying I was a genius at weaving from the start—but that it felt like something I wanted to study and practice and improve.
Over these past five years I’ve learned so much and woven some beautiful textiles that I’m quite proud of. Each year I challenge myself to try something new and to expand my repertoire even further. I like to try new structures and to push myself when designing—I love having adventures on my loom as I experiment. Perhaps most importantly, I love the process of learning as well as weaving. I love reading weaving books and watching videos on weave structures so I cannot only, say, weave a lace draft but understand it as well. First on my list this year is to weave up a doubleweave runner and later I want to dabble in waffle weave and laces. I want to try some hand-manipulated techniques on the rigid-heddle loom and also design some more twill dish towels. (Because as much as I enjoy trying new things, I don’t think I’ll ever love anything so much as twill dish towels.)
Whatever I do, I’ll share it with you. And I’d love to hear about your own weaving adventures.