Spin, Weave, Dye or Blog?

What do you do when you get stuck?

Considering how long it’s been since my last blog entry – it’s pretty clear that  “publish a new blog post”  hasn’t been at the top of my to-do list for a while.

It’s there.  Just not at the top.
Not because I don’t like sharing my work.
And not because I haven’t been working on things I’d like to share.

Like these two rugs

photo of handspun handwoven rug made by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT
“Brick” Rug, 31″x 21″, handspun and handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT

 

photo of multi-color wool rug, handspun and handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT
Multicolored Rug, 41″ x 21″, handspun and handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT

and this twill tape/binding (the hem sections on the multi-color rug were too bulky to fold and didn’t look right),

photo of twill tape used as binding on multi-color rug, handspun and handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT
Twill Tape for multicolored rug, handspun and handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT

and another greeting card project with removable/useable mug rugs,

photo of greeting cards with fabric inserts handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT
2013 Holiday Greeting Cards, fabric inserts handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT

and a couple of scarves,

photo of Yak Scarf , 69" x 3", handspun and handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio,  Fairfax, VT
Yak Scarf, 69″ x 3″, handspun and handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT
photo of silver-gray, Alpaca and Silk scarf, handspun and handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT
Alpaca/Silk Scarf, Silver-Gray, 71″ x 13″, handspun and handwoven by Joanne Littler, Pine Ledge Fiber Studio, Fairfax, VT

and some experiments dying fabrics and yarn to “go-with” commercial yarn colors.

photo of fabric and yarn dyed to match commercial yarn colors
Matching colors – hand dyed mop yarns and muslin.

The reason I haven’t shown up here for such a long time is that this blog is part of a question I’ve been struggling with –  my “What will I do about building a new website?” question.

And by struggling, I mean stuck.

The kind of stuck-ness that happens when you know something’s wrong with your project.
And you try to fix it.

photo of a film can attached to a warp thread to fix a broken warp during weaving
Is one enough?

But it’s the kind of wrong-ness doesn’t go away.  It just gets worse.

photo of 5 film cans hanging from the back of a loom used to try and fix broken warp threads during weaving
Are 5 too many?

And you start to think it might be better to cut your losses and move on to something else.

photo of cotton threads, cut from the loom
The final solution.

If you’ve ever struggled to understand something and felt like you didn’t  “get it” – If the only thing you did manage to get – from all the hours, days, weeks, (months?) of study, practice, work and effort  – is a feeling of frustration – then you know what I mean by stuck.

Like you’re not getting anywhere.
You’re just spinning your wheel(s) and not making any yarn.

And if you know what that’s like, – you probably also know how easy it is for feelings of confusion and bewilderment to turn into disappointment and doubt.

The problem isn’t that we get stuck.

Learning something new is always filled with challenges; situations, information, techniques, materials – all kinds of things we’re unfamiliar with and aren’t (yet) ready or equipped to handle.  So we ask questions.  Our questions lead to answers.  And the answers help us move forward.

The problem is – instead of asking “What’s wrong with this?”  the question we often ask ourselves is  “What’s wrong with me?”

When that happens – when we interpret our inability to move forward as some kind of personal failure, our self-esteem takes a hit.

Maybe – instead of trying to push harder against what’s holding us in place – maybe what we need to do is take a step back.

Maybe we need to walk away.

It’s not about quitting or giving up.  It’s about checking in with ourselves and reconnecting with what really matters.

It’s about recognizing how we feel about what we’re doing.
And giving ourselves permission to do something else – something that allows us to rest our minds and re-set our intentions.

If you find yourself, like I have, in the middle (or at the beginning?) of a project that isn’t going well, –  if you’re unsure about which direction to take, or what to do next, – instead of beating yourself up about what isn’t working, and what you think you did wrong, – remind yourself that there are plenty of things that you can do right.
Things that give you pleasure.  Things that you can you enjoy.
Things that make you feel successful.

Do some of those things.
At some point, when you’re ready, if you decide you want to take up where you left off, you can do that, too.
Unless – before you walked away – scissors were involved.

I gotta go put on another warp.
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