New Beginnings and Beginners’ Spring Weaving
Spring is a wonderful time for new beginnings. This adage has proven its merit this year as I have been settling into my new role as online editor of Weaving Today, while also learning to weave on 4 shaft and rigid heddle. I love the energy of spring weaving as I dive into these new endeavors. Hopefully spring has been supercharging your own weaving as well!
A major aspect of my “new beginnings” this spring has been my first ever weaving class, which I am taking at a shop called Your Daily Fiber (a name too cute for words, am I right?) here in Fort Collins. I’m starting out learning on a 4-shaft loom, working a twill infinity scarf in alpaca. So far, my selvedges look pretty smooth, but my beat isn’t as even as I’d like. I hear that comes with time, and my most recent few inches were definitely better than my first few, so I’m encouraged.
My weaving teacher, Elaine Sipes, is an extremely accomplished weaver, spinner, and knitter, who has won several awards for her work and creates simply gorgeous handwoven garments. In addition, she raises angora goats, llamas, alpacas, and yaks. She has been so inspiring in terms of showing me what’s possible with handwoven cloth, including fearlessly breaking out the scissors. Her own major project this spring is a gorgeous watercolor of handwoven cloth, with a gorgeous pattern of iridescent silky blue shimmering over a rainbow of rich warp colors.
As I sit in her shop, weaving my own project and staring enviously at her work, it’s hard to be patient with myself and my status as a total beginner. I’m already dreaming about what’s next. Dishtowels? A poncho? Maybe the adorable apron from Handwoven’s Spring Weaving Pattern Pack? I definitely see how people get addicted to this. The possibilities are seemingly endless, even with only four shafts. Already, I’m wishing I had decided to make my infinity shawl into more of a twill sampler rather than sticking to the same pattern all the way through.
As for what’s next, I’m particularly drawn to Sarah H. Jackson’s “Peaceful Rhythm” towels from the Spring Weaving Pattern Pack, as they would give me the chance to practice a few more twill variations. In fact, since all but one of the Spring Weaving patterns are for 4 shafts, I might just have to give them all a try.
As my selvedges, tension, and picks per inch even out, I’m starting to really see what people love about weaving. Even more so than knitting, it’s a truly meditative practice. When I’m knitting, I always need to have the TV going, or at least an audiobook or a podcast. But weaving allows me to really just settle into my own thoughts and put my whole body and mind to work creating and imagining. When I stop by Your Daily Fiber after work to weave for a half hour, I find that I have as much energy as if I had taken a power nap. Now that’s restorative!
Remember to let your weaving restore you as we transition into the hectic schedules of summer, and celebrate whatever new weaving beginnings are coming your way, whether that’s learning a new technique, purchasing a new loom, or fostering a love of weaving in someone new! And if, like me, you’re just starting out with your first weaving lessons, remember to savor this time of beginnings and be patient with yourself.
P.S. Speaking of new beginnings, what was your first ever weaving class like? Who was your instructor? Did you feel overwhelmed, or impatient to tackle bigger things? Share your story in the comments!