Monday, March 15, 2010


Closing the Circle

I spent a few hours this afternoon out with the looms and the wool stash and all the bits and pieces that weavers need in their business. Shuttles and heddles and ball winders and threaders, beaters and spindles and swifts and books. A goodly shelf of books, and a whole cupboard of Handwoven and Spin-Off magazines.

And the stash, - great huge see through containers and baskets and bags, all stuffed full of thin wool, thick wool, silks and cottons. Cones and thrums and pre-wound warps - and all of them speaking of a half a lifetime of weaving.

I was just past the first flush of family when I became passionate about weaving. The sheep we had were inspiring, and I tied fleeces willingly at shearing time in order to save the longest and finest and prettiest for my new spinning wheel and the dyepot that accompanied it.

I gathered dye materials from the hills and the garden and the grocery store. I experimented with mordents and was fascinated by the gorgeous and varied shades they produced.

I bought an Inkle loom and we made frame looms of different sizes, - I read everything I could get my hands on to learn the intricacies of more advanced weaving, and as I did so I shared the knowledge with others who were full of enthusiasm too. There were no local Weaving Guilds but for a few years there were others who were excited about weaving on primitive looms, and we shared what we knew.

Probably the flower children who worked in our orchard and the turnip field passed along more ways of doing things and more delightful ideas for what to weave and how to do it.

Finally I bought my first table loom, - a LeClerc Dorothy, and then a jack loom that opened the window wide on blankets and scarves and tablecloths and light rugs and I was in my glory....

After we moved from the farm to the village Charles and I bought an eight harness countermarche loom, and he became a very important part of the weaving studio with such wonderful inventiveness and practical wood working. He made sectional beams for both the floor looms and creels and the most ingenious tensioner and a counter for winding bobbins. We had as great room on the lower floor that accommodated both the floor looms and equipment, and a spare bedroom for the ever growing stash of wool.

Ah, now we come to the crux of the matter, - that enormous stash of wool that filled my dreams with plans for projects, - all sorts of intricate patterns and threadings and treadlings and all these yarns would eventually be woven into beautiful weavings.

Alas, time and energy seem to sometimes be at cross purposes with our dreams, and sometimes dreams turn into stress that lies unconscious under all our plans.

And so I have come to this time when I must face reality and share all the yarns (except for some lovely silk that I may take to the grave with me!) with younger, more energetic people who are knitters or weavers or crocheters, but who all cherish the passion for fabric or creating.

I have found an eager home for two table looms and all their accoutrement's. My knees outgrew the countermarche a few years ago when lying on the floor tying up heddles was no longer exciting, but almost impossible. Someone is coming to take away the rug wools and warps, and I know that shoppers at the Bargain Centre will be happy with my other yarn offerings.

I will keep my first Jack Loom - it is warped and anxious to have a lovely weft flying back and forth. And besides, Charles has not yet made that fly shuttle that he planned, just for the satisfaction of creating it....

The circle holds so many memories, and I will close it to where I first started, holding the memories safe and sure and secure within its lovely bounds.

8 comments:

Penny said...

Oh dear, I think it is coming to us all, but not just yet to me I hope. If I lived closer and not a sea away I would love some of your wools to knit with. I am sure you will find many homes for them. I think in a way I am glad I didnt ever quite become a weaver! So many other things to explore but I have always knitted.

Fonnell/Grammie/mom said...

oh, I don't know how to feel. I'm sure you don't either. Yes do take the silk with you where ever you go. I think heaven is paved in silk also. I can picture you behind your big loom.

Well there is always sock knitting to keep us going right....

Happy trails to all your lovley weaving "stuff"

Aussiemade said...

Hildred my darling husband is doing a similar thing at the moment. Going through and working out who to share his treasures with. Gifts given while he can and share in the pleasure at seeing family and friends being given something so special. I am sure those that receive your beautiful threads, will use them with love, respect and gain much joy out of them.
I have always loved the textures and woven fabric. You must have given much pleasure and special mementos that many people have come to treasure over the years!

Wanda said...

Such an emotional time for you, I'm sure, but simplifying leaves open the door for new ideas and creativity. Such memories you have though and boundless other oppoutunities to express yourself, Hildred.

Dimple said...

Today is a thoughtful day. I just read another post about time going by and what is important.

Psa 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Both numbering our days and applying wisdom are easier as we age. (I am not where you are yet, having just past 60, but I am no longer young!)And although your post brought sadness, it also brings hope. Wisdom, in part, is recognizing what must be and acknowledging that change is good. You have shared your love of wool and weaving in many ways, and you continue to share it by passing the tools and supplies you know you will no longer use to others.
Blessings both to you and to Charles!

Hildred and Charles said...

Oh Fonnell, after I went to bed last night I realized I had forgotten to mention the wonderful friends that weaving had brought me, - and you, of course, at the top of the list! You helped me in so many ways, not the least being your dear friendship. It deserves a blog all its own.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. (which left my eyes quite moist) I must tell you Wanda that I am being seduced by a knitted Yggdrasil Blanket which can be made in ever widening squares - shall I try for the first 38 inch square. I know I shall feel quite pure and virtuous when the stash is depleted, and probably a little lost. This looks like another 'boundless' opportunity!

Dimple - I take to heart your quote from the Psalms and recognize its wisdom.

Penny, - I wish I could bundle some wool into a sea-worthy package and send it sailing.

And Aussiemade, I understand the poignancy your darling husband must be feeling. My DH has been diligently working at depleting his own particular stash of tools that stretch back to some of his grandfather's.....life has many twists and turnings, but in the end it is a straight and lovely road if we drop all the baggage.

Barb said...

Oh, Hildred! I had to shed a few tears at this post. It's hard to "close the circle" as you say. I'm glad you're keeping the silk and the Jack Loom. Keep those fingers flying doing the sock knitting - you have a long way to go!

jo©o said...

Hildred you are making me smile.
First the trailer (now THERE'S a thought) and now the 'getting under the loom and staying htere for hours' - bit. I was advise to take aa thermos :-)
My two LeClercs are 'in waiting' after a move and my lovely yarns are also in (200) see-thru boxes.
Any day now I'll go back to it all. Who am I kidding?