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What I’ve learned so far

Today is slightly overcast here in Colorado. To me, it’s a bit chilly, but the dogs are loving it and are sprawled out in various parts of the backyard, lazing Sunday away as they do Monday through Saturday. The back deck is small, more of a landing than a deck, really, but it’s high enough up, and the yard slopes enough, that they can watch the cars going by on the main

First inkle band off Moya

drag below. They seem to be taking turns doing this, as there is only enough room for two fur balls to lounge comfortably. Occasionally, they manage to pack in a third, but not often, and never all four. But they’re all happy. The weather here is so different from Arizona, and my Labs are still unsure what to make of snow. Mac, my German Shepherd, is pretty easygoing with all of the weather so far, and Thor, the Siberian, generally has to be chased around the yard before he will come in no matter how cold it is. No surprises there! And none of them appreciate having their paws wiped off before they can track dirt onto my carpet.  Nor do they appreciate their banishment from the sofas inside, but life is full of unfairness, and the sofas are upholstered in fabric that catches and keeps dog hair forever, even when one vacuums with a Dyson. I knew I should have held out for leather.

But today it’s dry, and not too cold, so they’re enjoying the backyard and people watching. Me, I’m watching them laze away the morning and playing with a weaving app that I finally broke down and bought. My studio, at the moment, is a mess of empty floss cards that need to be put away, and snarled up warp that needs to be thrown away. I’m not looking forward to cleaning it up, which I need to do sooner rather than later. My kids are in the playroom screaming at each other over a cardboard castle playhouse that I’m beginning to regret buying for them. Or rather, Bryony is screaming, and Aneira is quietly egging her on. I quit smoking during my pregnancies in order to make sure that my children would have healthy lungs. I forgot to make sure I had heavy duty ear plugs. I have come to the conclusion that most children make it to adulthood primarily because of divine intervention. That, and the parents’ desire to levy the mother’s curse on them and watch it work. It does work. And the parents who have become grandparents are sitting back, watching the curse do its job, and laughing themselves sick. Revenge. It’s the only thing that makes sense. There are animals that eat their young. I firmly believe it’s because they were partially deafened one time too many by one sibling yelling at another, and they snapped.

Anyway. I mentioned a snarled warp earlier. Yup. It was the second practice warp on Moya. I didn’t like how I had warped her the first time, thought I had done it wrong, so I tried it a little bit differently the second time. It was going well for a bit, and then, every time I tried to advance the warp, strings were pulling out. Trying to figure out and fix what I’d done wrong only made it worse, and eventually I cut it off. I hated to do it; I had finally figured out the pick-up weave and it had come out beautifully! I saved some of it. The rest doesn’t bear looking at. To give you an idea of the scope of the mess, the finished band would have been a little over five feet long. What I managed to save was less than two feet. The remaining four feet and change of thirty plus ends of warp are a huge snarled up knot. I also learned, on the first band, what happens when you just use any old thing you have as weft. The warp was embroidery floss. The weft was cotton, one of the cones I had gotten from Craigslist. I have no idea what the actual size is, other than the fact that it is bigger than the embroidery floss, by quite a bit, apparently. I also hadn’t checked the sett on either warp or weft. That was a huge mistake. Somewhere in the middle, I changed the weft to embroidery floss, and things went a great deal more smoothly after that. My selvedges are still awful, but if you ignore those, the rest of the band was beautiful!

Second inkle band, with pick-up weave

Warp number two was also embroidery floss. The first one was only about twenty-two ends, but this one was thirty-three, making it significantly larger in width. Having that one go south pained me a bit, because the pick-up weave really was going very well, and I was having fun with it. Not to mention the fact that I had spent all of yesterday doing housework, up until about ten pm, so I was happy to finally sit down at a loom, which I had forced myself to ignore all day.

After cutting off warp number two, I decided to warp Moya again, this time for cardweaving. It’s on there, but I feel confident in saying that it was done completely wrong. This is what happens when you have more excitement than patience. I didn’t pull out any of my books, look at the computer, nothing. I made a quick draft, cut the appropriate threads, threaded the cards, and tied them on Moya. There was a complete lack of grace here. Then, once I started weaving, I noticed that the design I had drafted wasn’t appearing on the facing side of the band. The design portion of our program is on the underside…but it isn’t the design I drafted, exactly. What I drafted was a diamond design. What I got was two triangles, point-to-point. So, yes, it’s a version of my draft, but not the one I wanted. Further proof that I should have been more patient and done more reading before embarking on this one.

I’ve discovered that weaving–in addition to having my own “get away from everybody” space–is helping me cope with the BPD a little bit better. I don’t know why. But each loom, each style of weaving, keeps me a little bit more level in different ways. Chiana, Aeryn, and River are my tv looms. I can cart them downstairs, kick back in the recliner, and watch Castle or Grimm or Once Upon a Time or whatever, and I’m fairly level. Moya is just pure fun. Really. Everything is manual with her. There are no treadles, no levers, no harnesses, everything is done by hand, including opening and closing the shed, and I enjoy beating with the belt shuttle. Moya is just fun, and if I’m having fun, I’m relaxed. Zoe is my exercise loom. She works the shoulders and back like none of the others do, and I can be a little more aggressive with her beater. Even raising and lowering her shafts (a noisy, slightly jarring experience to begin with) is soothing, especially when you have a need to throw something. Start working those levers, and you can work out any aggression. Cathartic is the word I’m looking for, I think.

So, I’m learning not only weaving, but new coping techniques, and new things about myself. I think that’s what therapy is all about, isn’t it? Why pay for a psychiatrist or a therapist? Pick up a loom!

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