Constance/ April 19, 2018/ Weaving

I haven’t done any weaving in a while, in months, really. When I got out my loom there was an unfinished project on it. I settled in to polish it off, not remembering much about the yarn except it was yak, and very thin. Several warp string breaks later I swore to never try THAT again. I managed to finish the project with much grumbling and get it off the loom.

As I got ready to warp my loom for a new project, I made a startling discovery. My living room had shrunk! At least that was the way it seemed. I had to rearrange some things, because my warp peg was attached to my desk, and the warp I had to put on my loom was 120 inches long. 10 feet of warp. That’s halfway across the living room. Since I wanted to make a wide shawl, I needed lots of yarn. 25 inches of yarn across my loom and 10 feet long. I measured twice with my trusty carpenter’s tape measure, put my loom in place and started warping.

To warp the loom you have to tie the yarn onto a dowel at the back of your loom, pass it through the rigid heddle, a contraption that has very thin reed like structure about 4 inches high, the reeds have holes in them to pass yarn through, and in between the reeds are narrow openings called slots. You pull the yarn through the slots doubled, then cut the far end and thread those yarn ends through the holes. Just know it’s semi-complicated and involves math.

I have 300 slots and holes that need a yarn threaded through them. I do the 150 slots first. I pull the warp thread through a slot doubled, walk my 10 feet to the warping peg and put the loop over it. I walk the ten feet back and do it again. And again. Until I have 150 loops over the warping peg. The warping peg is a piece of thick dowel set in a wood block that you clamp to your table top. I must not have clamped the peg down well enough, because about 26 loops in, the peg came off the table. My precious looped yarn was in a heap on the floor. Many four letter words were uttered, causing the dog to cock his head and beat a hasty retreat outside. I very carefully ran my fingers through the yarn loops, straightening the threads, reset the peg, cranked it down tight, and put the loops back over. I got lucky. It didn’t really tangle and fell in a nice pile.

Since paranoia is just good thinking, I tied some spare yarn around one side of the loops, so if it fell, they wouldn’t tangle. I did this every 10 loops or so, having this horrifying vision of the peg popping loose again when I was on thread loop 149. I did NOT want to start over. 26 loops in it didn’t seem that daunting a task, at 149, four letter words wouldn’t have been enough. It survived, I survived, and I’m on my way to making the 150 loops into 300 yarn ends for weaving.

Moral of the story? I got sloppy. Overconfident. I strayed outside the moment. I had done this so many times, I didn’t stop to think of what could go wrong. I failed to plan for the inevitable loss of luck that kept me from running into this problem before. Life is funny that way, giving a gentle nudge of a lesson to see if you’re paying attention before lowering the boom. I’m paying attention now. I’ll incorporate some new measures into my weaving practice to avoid failing big time.

What are you doing on autopilot that you should pay more attention to?