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My New Love

When one of my best friends gifted me with a weaving workshop this past January at the lovely local gem, Have Company, I knew in the back of my mind it would be trouble. Good trouble, but trouble nonetheless. I am a sometimes knitter/crocheter, one of those people that learns the basics only to abandon the activity altogether for years at a time, thus having to re-learn when I decide to pick it back up.

Weaving though… there was something magical around it. The possibilities, even as a novice, seemed endless. You could use any yarn scrap, or fabric scrap, or feathers, or… Suddenly my obsession to collect yarn without a purpose seemed more than justified.

My suspicions were correct: I loved the weaving workshop. The freeform nature of playing with yarn, the relaxed atmosphere of creating, the really-no-rules approach of the entire enterprise was extremely appealing and satisfying. It was one of my favorite evenings in recent memory, more-so because I was able to share it with two of my favorite people.

Two of my favorite people.

My first finished weaving.

I bought a loom from our instructor, Megan Shimek, that evening and couldn’t wait to try it out again at home. After finally securing some proper warping material, I was ready to strike out on my own.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt in love with a process. There are many things I enjoy doing, too many things, but very few that overwhelm me with true joy. Writing and creating photographs and/or films are tops on the list. Now weaving joins the ranks.

I daydream about weaving. I can’t wait to sneak in ten minutes here or there. The fact that I can work on projects for very brief periods of time is one of the most alluring parts of the process.

But here’s the truth: I am a mother of two young children and I have a job. Free time feels like an oxymoron, and too often, my interests and hobbies fall to the wayside. This year I have made a conscious effort to take back that time, to set aside tiny snippets for myself to create.

Some weeks (or months) are better than others. I do my best, and try not to beat myself up mentally when I don’t succeed in carving out the time I so desperately seek.

Around a month ago I came across @theweavingkind on Instagram. My interest was immediate. Sarah Nuebert began the page with the hopes of uniting weavers near and far, and announced she would create a monthly weaving assignment that we could participate in. I don’t know Sarah personally, but I already like her very much. Anyone that strives to create community AND motivates that community to create work and participate in discussion with each other – well, she's awesome.

The assignment this month:

Create a mini weaving, no larger than 6in x 6in, or 15cm x 15cm, using ONE SINGLE YARN for the weft and fringe. You may use a different yarn for your warp, if you wish, or one yarn throughout the project. Focus on creating interest through texture, stitches, knots, empty space - anything you can come up with! Keep in mind that a huge goal of this community is to promote creativity and originality. Be yourself, and don't worry about what anyone else is doing!

* * *

I’ve had the assignment for several weeks and in the back of my mind have been creating pieces of work. But until yesterday, I had yet to warp the loom and get any yarn out. I know if I don’t complete this assignment before June 1st, it’s really not a big deal. There are no grades, no one is going to shake a finger at me. And yet…

For me, it’s truly become a matter of setting the time aside for myself. I wanted to do this assignment because I love weaving. Weaving forces me to slow down, to linger over my choices, to try new things. I listen to podcasts I’ve been meaning to listen to for months, I have ideas for other creative endeavors as I sit there and tinker. I’m in A Zone. And I love that Zone.

Here is my piece for this month, in progress and finished:

I used a cream cotton/wool blend for the warp, and some funky purple thrifted yarn for the weft. It has a coarse gold thread wrapped in what looks like purple rope. I had no definite plans as I began this, only that I wanted to play a bit with shapes as texture. This is my sixth weaving, so the whole process and practice is still very new to me, and I have yet to master anything about it.

However, this is one of the things I love most about my current weaving process: There is no plan, there are no rights and wrongs, there is only possibility. At the end of a project, success or not, I get to warp up the loom and try again.

I don't love this piece. I was hoping the circular shapes would be enough to offer some "contrast" from the rest of the piece, and that wasn't very successful. But it gave me ideas for at least two other weavings, and I am still happy with this particular yarn choice; the gold highlights are my favorite part. My four-year-old daughter has asked repeatedly for this go in her room, so it will - someone is happy enough with it to look at it every day so the effort was certainly worth it.

My plan is to share future finished assignments with you – and if you would like to join in, be sure to follow @theweavingkind on Instagram.

I would also love to hear about what processes you are in love with: What activity do you get lost in? What about that activity draws you in? Feel free to post comments and link to the kinds of work you do.

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