Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

Weaving Sows Order

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2010 is to clean up my home. I’m so crowded with weaving tools and looms (my stuff), and toys (my son’s) that the path from the living room to the hallway changes frequently. Sadly, there are times when there is no path. I came to the conclusion that, in order for me to weave more in the future, I need to weave less in the near future, i.e. clean house first.

And, for a few months, when I had a free moment from homeschooling my child, I dutifully put some microscopic niche of the house into order, rather than sit at a loom.  Then, the ornery streak in me took over. That mutinous part of me said, “Enough!”, and it’s been downhill from there. I had been miserable, not weaving, and any little house clean-up progress I made could not overcome the energetic antics of a five year-old. Have you heard Erma Bombeck’s witticism to the effect that cleaning up a house while children live there is like shoveling snow in a snowstorm?

After feeling very deprived from not weaving anything, I felt desperate enough dig through my box of  items cut off the loom and in want of finishing.  Technically, not weaving anything!

The first project I ever warped, was a set of cotton dishtowels, woven off my rigid-heddle loom more than a year ago.  They needed to be hemmed and washed.  My sewing skills are rather clumsy; I made an apron in some high school class, but haven’t had any other instruction before or since.  Except for sewing straight lines and mostly-straight things to others, machine sewing scares me.  The thought of fitting a sleeve to an arm-hole is something akin to a nightmare, as my sewing  involves more luck than skill.  However, as one of my goals is to eventually weave fine cloth and sew it into fitted garments, I know many more difficult hurdles than sewing dishtowels need to be overcome.

(As an aside, doesn’t anyone else feel bothered by the fact that sewer, or “one who sews”, also can be read as “place where the stuff you flush goes to”?)

When I was younger, I actually sewed many curved pieces of cloth into little things like mice or such, but those were all hand-sewn. I recently learned that most high fashion creations are hand-sewn to fit a dress model created to match a client’s exact measurements.  That was interesting to find out, as I have hand-sewn many things that I have no idea how I could machine sew.  However, it has been many years since the last time I hand-sewed; and I certainly don’t have the time, inclination, or nimbleness of finger to do that now.  But now that I weave, there’s no getting around it: I must learn to sew.

Finally understanding that sewing doesn’t mean only sitting in front of a sewing machine, I’m learning that it’s just as important to drag out the iron and ironing board as well. The pre-weaving me couldn’t bear to slow down enough to bother with that, but the weaving-improved me has learned a lot about being patient, and about doing things the right way, with the proper tools.  (As well as learning that machine needles need to changed more often than once every five years, even if not broken!)  In my current messy-house situation, the ironing board is in another room down the hallway from the sewing machine, and is yet another reason why weaving is forcing me to streamline and put things into order. Create Order. Weave. Learn to Sew.

My first unwashed and washed samples for my notebook.  It certainly is magical to see the transformation!

I hemmed my towels before washing, as I don’t have any confidence that I could produce a temporary hem that would survive a washing and drying intact. These are very rough towels that will be used as kitchen rags, and will likely never see an iron again (yes, the towels below have been ironed!). As my first self-warped weaving project, they are rife with inconsistencies in beat, pattern, and selvedges (well, everything!); still, I can’t help but enjoy using them.

It was such a marvelous feeling to escape the weaving moratorium, that I felt myself free to weave off several other projects without any further justification. I still need to clean house, as my son longs to have friends over, and I’d like to be able to have weaving and spinning friends over as well. I’m terrified that if I don’t set a proper example for my son soon, he’ll waste valuable productive time in his own life to cleaning and organising, like myself.  It’s very challenging for us, as we both have more things we’d like to do in a day than there are hours available to us.  I know part of the answer requires both of us to be more ruthless about donating older toys and hobbies, but it’s a slow process that doesn’t seem any easier, as each item requires another round of deliberations. I do know that not weaving isn’t the answer, as the lack thereof has been counterproductive. I haven’t lost my determination to clean house, as I really cannot devote myself to more intensive weaving until that happens, but for now, the quandary is still bearable. If I clean house, I get to weave more.  Even if I don’t clean house, I won’t stop weaving.


18 April 2010 - Posted by | sewing, Weaving | ,


  1. Beautiful I love your colors! I do bead weaving I know it is not the same but the same energy. Calmness,mellow and just a good feelings. Many Blessing and Positive Thoughts Always. Lisa

    Comment by sedonamoonshadow | 18 April 2010 | Reply

  2. I remember these. And I still think they’re great! You’ll have the prettiest kitchen rags on the planet. I’m glad to hear you’re letting yourself weave!

    I am so familiar with tug-of-war between trying to improve the living space and making things, as the making things actually sets you *back* on improving the living space, the way it seems to generate mess. The rigid heddle loom was my crutch the last couple of winters, easier to pick up and leave somehow, and the radiating mess wasn’t quite so exensive.

    Have you thought of taking a sewing class? A lot of sewing machine shops offer them. I’m not the best one to talk as I have never done a buttoned cuff and am the veteran of exactly one hidden zipper, but for just being comfortable with your machine it really helps to have someone walk you through the process of button holes, top stitching, etc. a couple of times. Does it help to say its a lot easier than weaving? If you can tie up a countermarche, you can definitely set a sleeve! (Though in my opinion, setting sleeves is not nearly as much fun…)

    Comment by Trapunto | 19 April 2010 | Reply

  3. Boy, can I relate to your quandary. In February of this year, my studio (sewing, dyeing, jewelery making, bookbinding, you name it studio) was so ridiculously overcrowded with stuff that I literally had a narrow path from the door to the sewing machine to the ironing board. I could not actually produce anything in there.

    What I found to be very helpful is o spend fifteen minutes a day of dedicated clearing away. There are days I don’t do it (to be honest most days at this point) and there are days when I do more. A

    To be honest, that first month, when I was feeling really motivated, I did one hour each day. After that month, the studio was so much better, but never got to the really organized and tidy stage. Then things started to go back downhill. However, when I can remember to spend the time and actually do the fifteen minutes a day in one room or another, things get better at a surprising rate. If only I could keep that up every day, things would be tidy!

    Of course, I did have to get rid of a lot of things. That was hard because I have so many interests. However, I found an organization that would use my donated things (fabric, an old sewing machine, etc.) and that made it so much easier to part with things I had been reluctant to part with.

    Then about two months or so ago, I was doing research into trims and began weaving. Gads, more stuff to add to my supplies. I started off with card weaving and finishing off a project that I had started off years ago on my inkle loom, but now am the proud owner of a Cricket loom and have started building a larger rigid heddle loom. Gads! I need fewer interests, not more of them. But, I suppose this is who I am and denying it would drive me crazy. So, I am off to do my 15 minutes and then to warp my little loom with a bit of doubleweave fabric!

    Good luck with the clean home/weaving quandry.

    Comment by Fibrewoman | 28 May 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Fibrewoman,

      Thank You for your comment, and for stopping by.

      You wrote that you could relate, but what you describe (especially the narrow path from sewing machine to ironing board) sounds as if you live at my house!

      I’ll give your 15 minutes a try. It seems not to be enough time to make a dent in the incoming messes (or even just the daily mail), and I think I spend more than 15 minutes every other day just to clear off my part of the dining table, but I’ll try. It’s nice to know someone else out there is doing the same and making progress.

      Congratulations on the Cricket loom! It’s such a cute and portable loom, I hope I get to see how you use it for your doubleweave project!

      Comment by SpinningLizzy | 10 July 2010 | Reply

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