Loom Alone | Handwoven

Loom Alone

You might be familiar with the eye roll I get on the rare occasions when I ask someone to help me wind a warp on my loom.

Susan E. Horton 26 days ago

Loom Alone Primary Image

Loyanne Cope wove a scarf to honor Madelyn van der Hoogt’s contribution to the weaving world—Handwoven September/October 2019. Photo by Harper Point.

A friend of mine was telling me the other day that she never has any time alone. If she is at work, she is surrounded by people, and because of her husband’s and son’s schedules, they’re always at home when she’s there. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I should have told her to take up weaving. There is no denying that weaving can be a solitary undertaking which perhaps is a double-edged sword.

At home, I can be reading, on the phone, or on my computer, but it doesn’t deter family members from seeking out my attention. If I am winding a warp or threading, however, it seems as though a little cone of silence protects me. Family members enter the room but then hesitate and go out, perhaps afraid I might want some sort of assistance that they’d rather not give. (You might be familiar with the eye roll I get on the rare occasions when I ask someone to help me wind a warp on my loom.)

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Associate Editor, Christina Garton channeled Anita Osterhaug, editor emeritus with her Norweigan Blue Towels––Handwoven September/October 2019. Photo by Harper Point.

That same cone of silence can feel overwhelming on some days. On those days, I use music or movies to break up the silence and help me keep in touch with the outside world. Other days, it suits me perfectly—when I really need to think about something. I find the repetition of sleying, threading, or treadling relaxes parts of my mind just enough so that other parts of it can concentrate on the problem at hand.

If you have the opportunity to weave in a shared studio, I recommend you try it. I’ve found that fellow weavers recognize those moments when you can’t be interrupted and sense when you would like to be interrupted. Sharing ideas, showing successes and failures, and helping another weaver with a project are great ways to expand your own weaving skills and to make lifelong friends.

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Sara Bixler reworked one of her dad’s (Tom Knisely) rug patterns to weave 2 rep weave runners––Handwoven September/October 2019. Photo by Harper Point.

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I learned to weave in a studio and still cherish the memories of those days. We had classes once a week, but there was another day every week when you knew you could show up and have friends to talk to. If you showed up on other days, that cone of silence might be in effect and you might not do much more than say “Hello” to the other weavers. After all, weaving can be a solitary undertaking.

You're never alone with Handwoven! We want you to celebrate with us this month! Be sure to visit the Handwoven 40th Anniversary page to enter the Anniversary Contest. You could win one of ten prize packs filled with awesome prizes from our Anniversary Sponsors!

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Weave well, Susan

Featured Image: Loyanne Cope wove a scarf to honor Madelyn van der Hoogt’s contribution to the weaving world–Handwoven September/October 2019. Photo by Harper Point.


Celebrate Handwoven’s 40th anniversary with our September/October 2019 issue. Find out what your weaving friends have been doing!

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