Weavers: Do You Ever Want To Just Tie One On?

Not a dozen.
Not 4.
Not a complete “set” of anything.
No extras for friends, or gifts to give.
Not enough to donate or sell.
Do you ever choose to warp your loom for just one thing?

It sounds simple enough.
But it might not be all that easy – especially if it’s not what you usually do.

If you usually try to make the most of your weaving plan by making multiples, warping for just one thing seem might seem like a waste.

Why does it feel like one is not enough?

Maybe because your time is valuable.  And as a resource, it keeps dwindling.
When we’re short on time, but passionate about weaving  – we may feel the need to maximize our efforts.

It’s an economy of scale thing.
Warping a loom – getting ready to weave – requires a lot of preparation.  Measuring, sleying, threading, tying on, winding on…

Photo loom harnesses and heddles being threaded
One part of the warping process – threading heddles.

Whatever order you choose to do it in, –  it all has to happen – whether it’s to make one thing or to make many.

Each additional thing you plan to weave adds more length and uses more yarn.
But measuring and winding on only take a little bit longer.

Most other parts of the process stay the same.

So you’re actually saving time by making multiples – by not having to repeat all the steps.

Clearly, it’s more efficient to make more than one.

But … Are two enough? Are 6 too many?
When a TV ad posed those questions several years ago, the answer was obvious – because with prunes you really can ‘trust your gut’ to get it right.

When you’re planning a weaving project – sometimes it’s hard to see why more is not (necessarily) better.

Rigid Heddle weavers may have an advantage here.  Limitations imposed by the equipment prevent over-reaching.
My RH loom comfortably holds about 4 yards of warp.   I’m not tempted to set it up for 24 towels – because I can’t.

On my floor looms, weaving 2 dozen towels from one warp is definitely possible.  (But if you think this might be a good thing –  and if you  know you have a short attention span, and/or are easily bored, please – pause and consider –  by #7  the weaving starts to get old.  The next 17?  Not a lot of fun.  Trust me.)

How you feel about the warping process can make a big difference.

Especially if  you think of it as an ordeal.
Do you find it excruciating?  Or merely off-putting?
Does it seem like it takes forever?
Do some parts of the process feel awkward and uncomfortable?
Is it complicated and confusing?
Does warping your loom feel like a major undertaking?
Do you warp for more than one so you can avoid having to do it more often?

Do you wish you could warp less and weave more?

For a lot of weavers,  the work of setting up a loom isn’t the fun part – and that becomes a problem when there isn’t  a lot of time to spare.

But if we pay attention to what’s fun and what’s not fun – if we consider what we might do differently – we can find ways to make the not so much fun experience more satisfying and less of a problem.

Warping is part of weaving.  A big part.  One thing has to happen in order to “get”  to do the other.  (And those next 17 towels do have to be woven off before I get to warp for something else.)

So how do you feel about warping for (and weaving off) just one small thing?
Does the prospect make you happy and excited?
Or does it sound like a waste (of time and materials)?

What if you enjoyed warping as much (or more) than the actual weaving?

What if the time it took to set up your loom was just – time?  What if it was good time? Special, satisfying and rewarding time?

What would it take for you to feel you were making the most of it?

If you feel the need to make multiples of a project – is it because your weaving dreams include lots of things?

Or is there some other compelling ‘ought to, have to, must do’,  – driving your choice?

If the reason you’re hesitant to warp your loom for just one thing is because you’re uncomfortable with the process – if it feels confusing, if  it takes too long, – if  you need someone right there with you to help you, and you feel intimidated by all the steps involved:

Warping more and weaving less might solve the problem.

Sometimes it makes sense to tie one on.
Just one thing.

And weave it off.
Then do it again.
And again.
And keep doing it.

Try warping your loom for one thing at a time.
Practice the part of the process that (for many people) is problematic.
Give yourself a gift (of time) that allows for practice.  Lots of practice.

It won’t make you perfect.  But I’m pretty sure it will make you feel capable, comfortable and competent – with your own version of  ‘warp speed’.

You might find that you enjoy how slow you go.
Maybe even find it exquisitely slow.

I gotta go weave.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio

Taking Leave

Photo of daffodils & study tools
Restful Study Flowers

It’s official.
For the 2012 season – this summer market season –  I’m off.
My market experience will be as a customer this year.

Technically, I’m on sabbatical – with a booth space reserved for 2013.  And (no surprise) the current relationship I have with Webster’s Dictionary compelled me to look that word up.

Webster tells me sabbatical is an extended leave – for “rest or study”.
I intend to do both.

Rug making, rep weave, and  log cabin designs have my attention at the moment.

Several new-to-me yarns from Henry’s Attic are making their way into project plans.

Ashland Bay has new fiber I’m eager to spin and weave – especially the new colors in their merino-silk blend  –  likely additions to my line of shawls and scarves.

And with warmer weather on the way I’ll be moving outside with dyes: trying out a few new techniques and applications;  fine tuning some of the color combinations I like best; and practicing on my handwoven fabric.

At the same time I’m continuing to review, renew, re-write, re-weave, and re-work several Rigid Heddle projects – hoping to give students in my Beginning Weaving class some additional choices and offer some of these new projects to a larger audience of RH weavers.

I’m also trying to develop a better working knowledge of how to use and maintain a website/blog.

As for vending at the Burlington Farmer’s Market, it means I’m not.
Not this summer.
And not having to wake up at 4:15 Saturday mornings?  That’s part of the “rest”.

This summer I’m looking forward to shopping there.
More than a quick dash away from my booth.
An actual jaunt.
Maybe even a saunter.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the new ‘footprint’ of the market works for both customers and sellers.  This larger space includes a section of St. Paul St.-  closed to traffic – with vendors lining both sides of the street.

More space means more vendors – 90 this year!   Vermonters selling what they grow and make – fresh produce, meats, cheeses, beverages, prepared foods and handmade crafts.  The market keeps growing – changing, improving and expanding – bringing more good things into the mix.

Better and better.  Every day  in every way.

And that sentiment is guiding my choice as I take my leave this year.
It’s time for me to look forward and include more good things in my spinning, weaving and dyeing – things I can share with an incredible group of individuals who enjoy, encourage and support the work.

I appreciate the opportunity.
And promise to post my progress.

Joanne's blog signature, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio