Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

De-Clutter And Weave

I know it’s been a long time since my last post, but I haven’t given up on weaving.  On the contrary! Be assured that I have not wavered in my preference for weaving above all else! Family and other obligations have been keeping me so busy that I’ve had to moderate some activities to make time.

Two issues have hampered my weaving productivity. The first problem is my house is so messy, it’s difficult for me to find the space to weave effectively. The second is that I’m afraid to use my better yarns to learn and weave on; I feel I need to work through my stash in order of least-liked yarns first.

But, there are indeed angels in this world! I’ve met one in the form a clutter buddy — someone to be accountable to on a daily basis to do something in the way of de-cluttering some small space in the house. It seems hardly likely that we’ve been at it for less than a month now, for already a few areas that were perpetually untidy are showing a small semblance of order. It was difficult at first to find even fifteen minutes daily to de-clutter. But, by the end of a week of forcing myself to address the drudgery, I found that having a few small pockets of cleaned, open areas had benefits besides tidines:

  • If we wanted to pursue any project, be it homeschool study or playing a video game, we didn’t waste too much time hunting down all the requisite parts or manuals.
  • I agreed to let DS pick out a new toy at Toys ‘R Us for doing so well at his swiming lessons. After wandering up and down the aisles for an hour, he turned to me and said: “There’s nothing here that I really need. I’d rather have a clean house so my friends can come over to play.” That was the first time we’ve left that store empty-handed!
  • With a system in place, it’s been easier to maintain.
  • It gives me such happiness to look upon the areas that used to be piled with papers and whatnot, just to see the nothing that is now there!
  • Most incredibly, when I know I’ve put in my clean-up time in the morning, I’ve been able to weave or do anything else I please with a new productivity that is free of burdensome guilt. I had not realised how heavy that sense was upon me until it was gone. It’s a marvelous feeling.

The house still needs a lot of work; I have a long way to go, as it had taken years for me to get into this mess, so to speak. But I am finding it easier (usually) to face the daily de-cluttering without dread and procrastination.

Thank You, de-clutter angel!

My second problem has to do with allowing myself to use the better yarns in my stash. If a yarn is particularly nice, I find it difficult to use it until I can pair it with a perfect fabrication. I can safely say that I have never accomplished this! I gravitate to used looms that come with unfinished projects, because it’s always easier for me to finish something already started, albeit less rewarding. I also feel the need to work through my stash in order of least-liked yarns first. Mindful of this, I have been struggling to buck this tendency. In this, I have been helped in a most surprising way: I’ve been given a car-load of weaving equipment and luxury yarn. 

My friend Cynthia, a knitter and weaver extraordinaire, is temporarily streamlining and downsizing her residence; and shunning any packrat tendencies, her brilliant and courageous idea was to bequeath a sizeable chunk of her stash to me (as I do not in the least mind being a dense and cowardly packrat).   The treasures include several RH looms, two colour gamp kits in cotton and wool; a hand-dyed and pre-wound warp; bags and bags and bags of luxury yarns like Noro (and Manos, alpaca, cashmerino, etc.); something like twenty unused cones of CottLin; and more than thirty new cones of perle cottons and wools in different weights. I’ve been assured that I would be amazed by what she’s still keeping.

As if to ease me into this wealth, one of the looms, an Ashford RH loom with stand, even came with an unfinished project. In re-tracing Cynthia’s steps to complete this scarf, I’ve both marveled and delighted at her audacity in choosing beauty and extravagance for every pick. The woman has serious and dangerous taste, and isn’t afraid to wield it. Nothing like the parsimonious allocation of scraps as I would have done.

The scarf has been cut off the loom, and is awaiting a wet-finishing. I’m a little nervous about it, as I’m not sure how the novelty yarns will react.

Another RH loom from Cynthia is this portable little Travelling Rigid Heddle Loom made by CraftsByPatricia.

When I saw this cute portable RH loom, I immediately thought it perfect for a huge ball of warp that had been given to me last year.

Before it fell into my hands, it had been stored away for years, long enough to sport discolourations in places. It looked twisted and inconsistently wound, which is why I never put it onto my large inkle loom; but over the past year I’ve been hoarding it, I could never quite bring myself to cut it down to shorter lengths.

I was happy to find that it still had an intact cross of sorts; doubled, rather than single ends in the cross; with two whites and two blues in alternating sequence. I found that the addition of a comb to space out and tension the threads made it easier to advance the warp evenly and eliminates draw-in before reaching the heddle. The orange weft is something synthetic, more  leavings from yet another weaver.

After creating a few yards of webbing, I decided to start a striped band, and will experiment with some pick-up designs. I kept the orange weft, as I like the touch of contrast at the edges. The narrower band needs to be advanced at every other inch, so it isn’t as fun to weave.

I can say that working with Cynthia’s scarf project is distinctly more pleasing than my inchworming project on the travelling RH. After weaving approximately six yards of webbing and band, I’m almost ready to chuck the rest of the gigantic warp ball, which doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller. This is one case in which an infinite warp is definitely not a pleasure! I’ve packed it away for the time being; I might need some intervention to help me cut off the remaining warp.

As for the weaving stash, there is nothing like being deluged by a flood of beautiful yarn to help dislodge me from my fears of weaving with them. I’ve already wound a brand-new warp from some Astra in the bunch, and look forward to dressing my loom with it soon. (I believe Astra is synthetic yarn – so you see that even with high-end yarns, I’m still starting at the bottom!) I know it seems countreproductive to be bringing in so much stuff when I’m trying to clear things out, but the quantity and quality of the yarns are so different from the hodge-podge of things I’ve acquired piecemeal. Cynthia’s stash is well thought-out, purchased for the love of the yarn and the aim of weaving, rather than because they were on sale. In fact, I’m learning so much from her gifts to me, such as:

  • Identify what is really important, and let go of what is not
  • It’s OK to let go of things to make life easier
  • Letting go of things doesn’t mean you’ll never have such things again
  • Enjoy every facet of your work, and avoid materials you don’t like
  • A luxury can be essential, in which case don’t skimp!
  • Art and gracious living are easily buried under a plethora of unnecessary things
  • Believe there are always better things in store

Thank You, Cynthia, for your generous gifts and valuable lessons!

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9 August 2010 - Posted by | Weaving | , ,

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