Friday, October 23, 2015

Riveting drama... at less than a snail's pace

I am back at the loom, and it is a wonderful thing. The new online course, Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry, consumed most of my time for much of the last six months. Now that it is finished and I have put out a few other fires caused by inattention, I am ready to weave some tapestry.

I am fascinated to watch my own mind as I'm working. It takes me a few days to get back into it after a long absence. But once I'm hooked again, I'm really hooked.

Sarah Swett talks about the microdramas of tapestry weaving. I sort of knew what she meant when she said it, but paying attention to what keeps me engaged in the long, sometimes-tedious work tells me quite a lot about myself.

What is so interesting about the weaving of a large tapestry is not finishing the whole thing (that takes too long to keep me engaged), but the little things that happen moment to moment.

It sounds boring, but it isn't.
Is this butterfly going to run out before I finish that point?

Is this color going to work with the one next to it?

Oooo! Look how great that eccentric outline worked in that curve.

How am I going to shift the colors to the left by one grade without screwing up my hatching?
(Hint: often it involves a lot of splicing.)

It seems so silly, but the weaving is all about the process. And the process happens moment to moment. I am still amazed at the excitement I feel when I realize that the third dye run was worth it and the colors are perfect. Or how I can hardly wait to start a new design element and see how it is really going to look in the piece.

My progress is slower than your average snail crawls. On a great day I am rocketing ahead on the 24 inch-wide piece at about a half an inch an hour. And that is fast. A snail can move 55 yards per hour (clearly a non-metric system snail). That is 1980 inches per hour. So I suppose that means the snail is about 4000% faster than I am.

Good to know.


  1. All about the process. I have not gotten to my loom today........grumpy ��

  2. Thanks, I needed to read this one! Closely!!!

  3. I love the person I am at my loom, the person who lets go of all I can't control in Life, and the person who feels like I can control what's in my hand for a time - even if it's just a tiny piece of wool. (Guess I'm a bit of a control freak.)

    1. I agree Kathy. I am also a bit of a control freak and that works well with tapestry weaving. The weaving also helps me level out and feel calm.

  4. Yes, this, exactly. This is why I love tapestry weaving.

  5. Trish at Tangled ThreadsOctober 26, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    If you can weave a half an inch per hour, you are weaving at the same speed as the Harlot knits! Lightning speed!

    1. Let's just say that weaving half an inch an hour takes a special set of circumstances (all yarn is ready to go and correctly marked so there are no mistakes, the section of weaving is not complicated and contains few new decisions, I've had my black tea, I turn my phone ringer off, and I am not tired). But I am getting better at creating those circumstances for a few hours a day, so there is that!


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