Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why We Celebrate

Last week, at the Center, a new weaver began to cut off her warp.  We all asked her to stop, that we needed a photo, and then we applauded her.  She asked if we always made such a big deal out of finishing, and we said yes!  Of course!
  We all know that weaving is the easy part.  There's the inspiration, the planning, the math, the charting, the yarn selection, the warping.  Should I warp back to front, or front to back?  Four shafts?   Eight?  More?  The threading is a slow, careful process that can go horribly wrong, or be effortless.  The winding on is like Tai Chi when you're on your own, or like a battle of wills when someone helps.  One part I find slightly maddening is getting the first tension just right, that back and forth dance of tying first from the left, then from the right, meeting in the middle and going back over again.
   Then there are the first few tentative throws of the shuttle, watching for threading errors, checking tension, finding out if the pattern is really what you wanted.  At that point, there can be anything from tweaking the warp slightly to complete rethreading, or anything in between.
  Finally, the pattern is just right, the weft looks wonderful, and the meaty, fun, why-we-do-it part can begin!  As the cloth grows and goes over the beam the first time, we feel as if we're on our way.  We can imagine the finished project, the oohs and ahs of our friends seeing what we woven for the first time.  We run our hands over the woven part, admiring the texture, or still wondering if it's the right pattern, weft, tie-up can creep in.  We sway back and forth with the throwing of the shuttle, eventually giving way to other thoughts as the cloth becomes cloth, that magical process of thread crossing over thread to make something real and three dimensional.
  Eventually, the warp knots come over the back beam, and we're done!  The weaving is over and the finishing can begin.  The last throw is caught, maybe there's some hem stitiching and it's time for the scissors.  To cut off a warp, especially one we've loved weaving, is momentous and special.  It deserves notice.  I always want to call someone, tweet about it or, as I'm doing here, share it with you!
 To the left is the pink silk weft, with the pattern and tabby wefts both of the pink silk.  It's going to be mine!  It has the yummiest hand, so soft and drapey; I have just the perfect beads to go on the fringe!
  On the right is the last bit of warp, using the lavender cotton as the tabby weft, the pink silk as the pattern weft.  It's going to be a small bag, though it came out a bit smaller than I'd have liked.  The warp was just starting to go wonky, and I couldn't get any more out of it.

And here is the one for my exchange with Amy, who's painting a yellow cupcake for my kitchen.  I've chosen the beads for it, too, and am itching to get started!
  But not before I finish the shag rug, get the Center challenge shawl threaded and a new project I dreamed up this morning, lace curtains for the living room, using bamboo and a Swedish lace pattern.
  My new sewer pipe made this vacation that began today a Staycation, but that's okay.  Lots to do, in the loominaria and in the yard and house, and I love staycations, anyway!  Have a lovely week and stay tuned on progress from the looms!  Remember to celebrate your beginnings and endings!


Tina J said...

I hope you are planning to bring those to weaving on Tuesday, I would love to see them.

Sharon said...

Isn't that the truth - well said! The weaving is the least of it. And you know, even in retirement I love staycations. I've gotten so busy that a week of being here without disruptions is lovely.

Roxie said...

Can't think of a better reason to celebrate! that pink silk is yummy!

LA said...

YES...we celebrate the end....that makes sense!!! Your warp is beautiful!!!!! Celebrate again!!!!