|One of the samples Christina consulted
for inspiration while waiting for her loom
to be fixed.
Recently my floor loom suffered from a snapped lam cable. It was an easy fix, but it meant waiting a week for the lam cable to arrive in the mail. I had been in the midst of weaving a set of six napkins, and the cable snapped almost precisely as I reached the middle of napkin number one.
I think if my loom hadn’t been warped the waiting wouldn’t have been so hard. My loom sits in my living room, just past the front door, so every time I walked in my house, the first thing I would see was my perfectly warped loom, calling me to stop ignoring and weave a few more inches.
There’s something about not being able to weave, though, that stimulates my creative juices. My best ideas for projects tend to come when I’m out of town, too busy with work and life to warp, or have guests. So while my loom sat sadly in the corner, I dreamt up a thousand new ideas: silk scarves with a dyed bombyx in the warp and a golden muga in the weft, ombre twill towels that slowly creep from gray to bright blue, and an undulating twill wool scarf that uses white alpaca in the warp and a handpainted wool blend for the weft.
I had time to look through back issues of Handwoven for color and structure inspiration. I sorted through my binder of samples to look at different color combinations I had woven and forgotten about. I also took pages of notes on everything so I would be ready once I was up and weaving again.
Now my loom is fixed and I feel like I can’t weave fast enough. I love my pinwheel napkins, but I can’t wait to see whether my ideas for weaving an ombre towel will turn out. At this point, I probably have enough projects in my head to keep me happily occupied through the first half of 2015, but as time goes on I’m quite certain I’ll get distracted by a new yarn or a new color combination.
One of the many things that keep me weaving is the idea of endless possibilities. Every project leaves me wondering “what if.” What if I wove these same colors in the weft using a different color in the warp? What if I wove this same draft using wool instead of cotton? What if I took these colors and used them in overshot instead of twill? I’m quite certain the yarns currently in my stash could be used in a million different ways.
Sometimes people who don’t weave will ask me how we keep coming up with ideas for the magazine. Hasn’t everything been done? How many different ways can you really design dish towels? (I have to wonder if they would ask the same quest of a painter or chef: “Hasn’t everything been painted?” How many types of soup can you really make?”) The truth is that it’s easy to fill every issue to the brim with new projects; I look through past issues of Handwoven and it’s amazing how differently weavers through the past 35 years have interpreted something as simple as, say, a 4-shaft twill. If you gave 100 different weavers the same draft, I'm quite certain you'd get 100 different results.
So as I weave the rest of my napkins and dream of projects yet to be, I can't help but think I'll never be at a loss for what to do next time.