As might be evident from the photos on here lately, my love of weaving has been rekindled in the last few weeks. At the outset of the pandemic, I sold my large loom because it wasn’t working for me on a number of levels. I still had my small Julia loom, but something about the sale put me into a bit of a weaving slump while I focused on sewing and other things. In the September I bought a new-to-me loom which I thought would spur my interest again (I love this loom so much), but even then I only managed to get one warp on it before drifting off again into other projects. The longer I stayed away, the more daunting it seemed to get a warp on either loom and about two months ago I told Brian that I was thinking of selling off all my weaving equipment and fiber. It takes up so much room that to leave it unused seems like a massive waste of space and energy.
Fortunately, he reminded me that I’m like this with things.
That is, I tend to swing between obsession and fallow periods in all creative endeavours. I run hot and cold, keenly focused in one minute, dropping my tools in the next. I’m not sure where this comes from, for it surely is not the way I was raised – with a focus on daily practice and incremental mastery in music – slow and steady, constant. The way I am as an adult is not that, though I know how to engage in daily practice and turn my attention on, I have a hard time disciplining myself to do so over long periods of time. On the upside, when I am productive in one area, I am *really* productive. On the downside, leaving skills to the side for months on end means that I lose a lot of ability in the offtime. This is especially true for things which require daily practice to maintain skill at – like playing the violin or writing.
One of the reasons I started Comfort for the Apocalypse at the encouragement of my friend Jill, was to give myself a monthly output and reason to write. Likewise, the times I have been most consistent in music practice is when I have been in a band, with regular gigs. Having an audience goes a long way towards encouraging my discipline, otherwise I tend to wander between projects without getting a lot “finished”. While that might look impressive on Instagram (process shots are exciting), the end result is a bit of a cluttered studio. I pretty much always have several unfinished projects kicking around, no matter how much I try to force myself to focus on getting them done.
Something that does help me finish weaving and sewing projects, is earmarking them as gifts from the outset. Lately I’ve felt a real call to give things away, which I expect is linked to the fact we are still in quarantine and it’s one of the ways I can reach out to folks I care about. When I think of all the people I would like to give some handweaving to, the list is endless! That gives me a lot of motivation to start and finish projects, and because handweaving is pretty rare in this world, the gifts are always well received. The issue then becomes that the obsessive weaving pushes everything else out of the way and I drop the writing, the music practice and so on. It feels like I’m always trying to re-balance my interests against work and other “hard” commitments that I don’t have a choice about showing up for.
I’m trying to work with the mindset that everything has its time and place, rather than getting stressed out about everything I (want to and) can’t fit in. Though I’m not sure why weaving has crept up as *the only thing I want to do all the time right now*, I have to appreciate my single-mindedness for the fact that I am advancing in my craft with every warp I put on and weave off the loom. As long as I can still fit in a bit of writing, and a few music practices a week, I don’t want to be too hard on myself. It’s not like anyone is waiting for my output (woven, musical, written, or otherwise) except me.
I have just restocked my weaving supply (see the above picture) for many more projects on the near horizon. I hope I can keep up this obsessive streak long enough to use at least half of that – but even if I don’t, yarn keeps and I always get around to it in good time. Yesterday I finished a table runner for a friend (fabric pictured here), and in the next couple of days I’ll be putting a sample on for some linen napkins I’d like to make for our house. I’ll think of it as a gift to our guests, and that way they might actually get finished.
I can emphasise with running hot and cold. For me, I am full of enthusiasm for all my projects and all the possibilities and all the things I could learn but haven’t got my head around my inability to do all those things at the same time. I’m doing better at not adding to my stash and mostly manage to constrain my purchases to what is needed for a specific project. Genuine bargains and thrifting are still allowed but I need to train myself out of thinking that buying materials is a part of doing. It’s a challenge not being superhuman and having multiple other demands on our time.