I haven’t been regular about blogging lately, as my family is good about reminding me. Summer hours are loaded up with food-related duties, and now I have chicken duty (one I love as much as the food stuff!) as well. That leaves little time for blogging and other relaxing pursuits.
We were blessed with the gift of two looms, one a 48″ floor loom and the other a 15″ table variety. Though I didn’t mean to get involved with either, of course I did. The practice of warping (creating and placing all those threads that run the length of the fabric, from front to back on a loom) is a mathematical and coordination challenge, and I love both. Weaving (the part where you send a shuttle full of thread from side to side) actually takes the least amount of time in the whole process. Who knew.
As I was setting up the large loom for some dishtowels, I got to thinking about our good fortune in receiving this gift. In the first place, the generous donor included everything an accomplished weaver needs: shuttles and bobbins, extra heddles for the warp yarn to pass through, two reeds (another place for those warp threads), a large variety and quantity of threads and yarns, a warping board and books galore. I’m pretty sure the purchasing of all this was well over $4000.
But that’s not the real value, in my book. The real and impossible-to-calculate worth is the experience of the first owner as she moved from one project to the next. I did not know this weaver, and her wonderful husband passed all this along to us when she died so I never will. Not face-to-face anyway.
But there is so much of her infused in her tools. I see how she set up her heddles, what her colorway preferences were, the way she warped her loom (yes, there are different methods). And there are times when I feel her presence nearby as I’m working. It happens when I feel stuck, and then suddenly I know exactly what to do. Several days ago it happened when I was warping those dishtowels. I wasn’t stuck, but I was filled with a sense of what her own mental discipline and rambling might have been as she carried the thread from peg to peg around the board. Again I felt her gentle and humorous reaction when I realized that one decision I made about how to structure a counting thread could have been done more effectively; it was as if she was saying how she had done the same thing herself and that doing it “wrong” is always what teaches us the most. How true.
I have no idea how such communication occurs, I just know that it does. And the result is that I understand that I am as much of a thread as those on the loom, being woven into a tradition as old as humankind itself. Our forebears, whether blood-related or not, are the foundational warp for the ever-growing work of life. I am blessed with the richness of feeling my life intertwine with those of all my ancestors.
And you absolutely, definitely, most certainly cannot put a monetary value on that.