Getting Started

by | Mar 5, 2015 | Uncategorized

At one point in time we were all novices in our chosen craft.  Technical terms were a foreign language that we had to master before we could participate in a conversation.  We had to develop hand movements akin to writing and learn how to coordinate feet hands and head as you would in a sport.  There were calculations and ratios to memorize too.
Our early efforts were far from perfect.  Our hand spun yarn may have been both over spun and under spun along its length but the marvel was being able to move your feet so the wheel turned with a consistent speed and the fleece fed to the wheel formed a yarn that did not disintegrate.  My first efforts were a far cry from the lovely dyed yarn in the picture.

For new weavers the biggest challenge is dressing the loom.  In the beginning, it is like trying to dress an uncooperative 3 year old for a winter day.  At least the loom does not squirm around but at times the warp show signs of having a mind of its own.  There are tangles to separate, broken threads to mend and order to be made from chaos.  But oh the satisfaction when you have that perfectly aligned and tensioned warp just waiting to be turned into cloth.

At some time, we all made that first scarf from our own yarn.  It may have been a little thick and thin in places but we made it ourselves, from scratch and it deserves a place in our personal history.  Here’s to the place mats with the slightly wavy edges, the mug rug made out of yarn so thick we could hardly thread the heddles, the too short scarf of unknown fibres we got from the thrift shop and all the other first projects that got us started.

There is always something new to master no matter how long you have been working at your craft.  The dyed yarn in the photograph is the result of experimentation which is part of mastering a new skill.
The subtle colour variation in the woven shawl is another example of experimentation with dyes.  While these examples are lovely even experts have failures when trying something new.

Don’t assume everything you see is so difficult you can do it yourself.  This bag is made of squares woven on a simple loom then joined together with stripes of material for form a bag.  Even simple weaving can create something that has a very complex appearance.

So, in closing the next time you see a beautiful hand crafted item remember that the person who made that item had to start somewhere and they probably have some cherished but not so perfect items in their creative past.  The struggles and the mistakes they suffered were necessary so they could learn how to do it better.  Take pride in your early works.

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