Thursday, March 3, 2011

In Over My Head

One of the disadvantages of wanting to learn new things is that you so often find yourself in that most uncomfortable position of being in over your head.  Boys and girls, I am now officially and undeniably in over my head.  A good "friend" has convinced me to take a workshop on overshot weaving.  If you've ever seen old coverlets, you're probably familiar with the look, even if you didn't know that's what it was called.  Here's a sample:
Pretty but not a beginner technique, I wouldn't have said.  And I am without doubt, the rankest beginner.  In fact, I'm such a beginner that I could count the number of things I've ever woven on the fingers on one hand and those were on rigid heddle looms.  This pretty little pattern is woven with a 4-shaft loom.  And that's a different thing altogether (in case you didn't know it).

Now, in my favor I know the following things:
  1. I know what thread is.
  2. I know what yarn is.
  3. I know what a shuttle is.
  4. I know what a loom looks like.
  5. I know what a 4-shaft table loom is (because I just purchased a used one from TLD Designs in Westmont - near Chicago - cool place, you should go) but I first handled one about 4 hours ago.
  6. I know what the parts of the loom are and what they're supposed to do (sort of).
  7. I know people who weave.
No doubt, those are all good things to know and will get me started.  Here are some things I don't know (or don't know much about):
  1. I don't really know how to read the weaving patterns.  I thought I did until I tried to actually follow one tonight and realized, I don't really know.
  2. I don't know what a block is.
  3. I don't know what a tabby is.
  4. I don't know what I'm doing.
Granted the don'ts are a shorter list than the dos but, let's be real, I stopped because #4 really just covers it.

In over my head, while it can be uncomfortable, is also kind of exciting.  I like being reminded what it feels like so when I'm teaching, I'm never very far from that feeling that so many of my students are also feeling.  It gives me a lot of patience. 

But it's also uncomfortable enough to feel like the weekend after next is going to be a collosal waste of time - mine and the instructor's.  But I did get a "mini warp" put on the loom tonight and I've almost got my real warp for the workshop finished measuring out (or whatever weavers call it).  Then it's just warping 131 ends of 10/2 cotton (bedspread weight cotton for the rest of us).  I have a feeling I'm going to using a lot of terms like "thingy" or "thingymabob" or "jigger whatsit."  I have a pretty extensive generic vocabulary and it may get some exercise in the next few weeks.

I used to have a pastor who would say he didn't much trust a leader who didn't have at least one major failure in a sincere effort to serve God (or words to that effect).  I've already racked up plenty of those, so what's one more!

P.S.  I'm feeling a lot that way about the bobbin lace right now, too.  I've finished my travel pillow but attempted a new pattern this week and failed miserably.  That's next.

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