Thursday, July 14, 2011

Weaving that is Like Knitting

There are many ways I could describe the weaving that I do, but I am often talking to knitters, so I try to relate the similarities of this weaving:

with knitting. There are the visual similarities, like the section of soumak:

which has a surface appearance like stockinette: thee little v's of opposing rows. Soumak can be pictorial too, like intarsia:
soumak design2

soumak cat

But more than the visual, finger-manipulated weaving like soumak, knotted pile, pickup band weaving, and cardweaving has a similarity with knitting in that it is tactile, contemplative (once the process gets going), takes time, as in a few weeks or months to complete a project, not hours as in fabric weaving, and is less equipment-dependent than fabric weaving.

I had the experience once again, as I am sure many of us have, of a seatmate on a recent flight watching me knit for a few minutes and then commenting that she "did not have the patience for that". Now, I know my knitting style is a bit tortured (!), but really it's not something that requires patience. It is something that requires introversion, as in I am focusing on that which is right in front of me, not the bigger world swirling around (in fact, the ability to focus small and tune out the madding crowd may just be how I survive travel at all).

This weaving is similar. Focused, tactile, small, allowing for contemplation or listening to a book or music while I work. It just may be the slowest of weaving, and it also has some advantages in design: it is one of the few forms of weaving where the graphic image is very freeform, and allows for curves and color changes in a pointillist manner:

But aside from all of that: I love the process, I love doing it. Doing something you love does not require patience. Like the hours watching a child play:
marin swings

Does Not Require Patience.
Just Love.


Blogger Barbara said...

Every time I look at your book or see one of your cut pile projects I wonder where & when you are teaching this class next and how I can get to it.

I've thought about attempting it just from the book but know that I learn so much better in person.

Your work is so fabulous - I am inspired by every item.

My goal this year is to weave fabric for a piece of clothing and then to actually make that clothing - not a shawl - a top or skirt. Maybe I'll have something by SOAR.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

She is growing up so quickly - seems like just a minute ago she was just a little baby - look at what a big girl she is now.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

I think I want a soumak rug. Just a little one, maybe 2' by 3', for my feet to touch on as I get out of bed. Hmm, hmm... I'll put in on the calendar for next year.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Gwen said...

Does Not Require Patience.
Just Love.

I am going to steal this phrase from you.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Charlene said...

How about "I don't have the patience to not do it!"

I don't get people who get on a transatlantic flight and just stare into space. What a waste of perfectly good knitting/reading/kumihimo/whatever time.

Today's Word Verification: moracki: moray eel sushi

5:29 AM  
Blogger Mia said...


8:29 AM  
Blogger Phiala said...


For me there's also a "skill of hands" vs "skill of machines" component. Not that both don't require practice and expertise, but that for me the slow process of handling and manipulating the yarn by hand is more satisfying.

Equipment also trades speed for complexity: in general, the more complex the equipment, the faster the production but the more limited the possible structures.

Structure is what fascinates me.

9:41 AM  

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