Olds Fibre Week always makes me reflect on where I am and the direction I would like to go. One thing which called to me at Olds was weaving. I've been away from my looms for over two years now. I had been working on a tapestry when I was hit with a major life crisis and I didn't have the heart to pick up where I left off after life settled.
Until now. A few weeks ago, my cobbled together Navaho-style loom came home, after spending several years in a dark basement. It sat on my front step for another two weeks, while the sun, wind and rain cleaned away the inevitable grime that results from storage. Once it was inside, I had choices to make: should I cut off the work that I had left behind or should I finish what I'd started?
I knew that, if I discarded the weaving, the loom would go with it. Perhaps I'd never return to the tapestry weaving I'd once found so calming. I'd warped the piece as a study of stripes. There was no plan to the weaving, colour placement or design-stripes are difficult to weave consistently and I had needed the practice. Before I tossed the lot, I had to know if I could still find peace in the steady beat of comb against weft, packing into warp.
I began again:
The weaving had stopped at the second to last (from the top) deep blue stripe. You can see that the stripes aren't level. There are broken warp threads pinned back in place. That random rectangle in the middle is woven in double weft interlock, because I forgot how to weave single interlock. What began as a 9.5 inch wide sampler narrowed to 9 inches, then 8.75. (Note to non-tapestry weavers: this is disgraceful. The goal is to maintain your weaving width. Narrowing one quarter inch over the length of this piece might be considered acceptable. Narrowing 3/4 of an inch is not.) You can see the inconsistencies clearly in black and white:
It didn't matter. Once I re-established my rhythm, once the comb was in my hand and I remembered Terri's advice never to put it down, sitting at the loom began to feel "right." I felt James K.'s watchful eye over my shoulder, as he whispered encouragement from wherever he may be, now that he's left the planet. As I sat, working out solutions for uneven tension, fuzzy warp thread and an unsteady beat, Mickey kept watch over it all:
After finishing one pot of green tea
and one Ben Howard cd later (Every Kingdom. Go buy it.), I was here:
There are still many flaws that even washing and a severe blocking won't cure.
No matter. I'm home.