Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Long View

In the last month I have woven 5 fabrics, all of them of handspun silk in its various iterations. One of them is an odd little sample, the rest are scarves, so not huge fabrics, but still, consumers of time and energy.

They were/are moderate successes. One is quite nice, and this last one may just be spectacular (don't know yet, just off the loom and not washed).

The first one, odd though it is, it is a successful sample. It's not particularly pretty, it is in fact a little homely, but it shows what it shows and will be fine for the photo for which it was made. (I'd show you a photo, imagine one here, except it was mailed off several days ago. Instead, imagine plain white plain weave silk. It could be lovely or rustic, lustrous or plain...).

Sample #2, an actual scarf length, was perfect in the spinning, weaving and finishing...until: it touched another scarf, while wet, and got a stain on it. Permanent, as far as I can tell, having washed, spot-cleaned, re-washed and fretted over the thing.... so it went from perfect! to "it's OK, we can get a good shot of it where the stain is not, and then overdye the whole thing later...."

Then, and this is the big disappointment: there was the also-perfect-scarf-length whose colors ran in the washing (thus the stains above) and which, while still of very nice colors, is different than what I planned. Again: it's fine, we can get a good photo of the aspect that it was intended to illustrate, but color? wrong? now? Is disappointing.

#4 yay! nothing untoward occurred. #5: Finished weaving yesterday, I fly out today. I will be twisting fringe and washing, pressing and hanging it to dry in some unknown quantity of a washer/iron/apartment. This could go well, or alas, it could also go poorly. I choose to walk forward as if it will go well. Why court disaster? I'll do what needs to be done, not whine about it, and we'll all just see how this turns out.

silk 004

The point is, I suppose, or rather what I have been thinking about as I weave these things in quick succession: hope springs eternal. If I let myself be discouraged by the first, or, god forbid, the second and third, I'd be paralyzed and not get anything done. I plow on. The next thing will be better/right/beautiful/perfect. That is always the thought at the beginning: This! is going to be great!

And sometimes it is. Without the meh, and the disasters, there would be no spectaculars! And while it would be nice to think that everything I make is wonderful, it's not. Much of it is plain, everyday, simple, straightforward, no-one-even-knows-I-made it kind of cloth. Many things/fabrics take re-working and overdyeing, and fussing in some way to even make then presentable. It would be depressing and stifling if I judged my work only by the piece in front of me, or the one just finished, etc. Instead, I am always looking forward to the next one, and of the opinion that that Next Thing will be perfect! beautiful! and useful.

And when all of the work is piled up together (or in this case boxed up to be shipped) it is spectacular. It is a great pile, in many senses of the word great. Just the whole, the entire, the pile itself is a wonder: I made all that. I started with fiber. I usually added colors, but sometime I bought dyed fibers. I spun, knit, wove and finished all those things, some of which would stand alone as being Very Good.

silk 012

I learned a lot...and have some very nice things to wear and use, and maybe, just maybe, I can tell you just what I did so you can do it too, without so much of the meh. And certainly without the disasters. Let's hope. Cautionary tales, and all that, with a little shared wisdom thrown in for luck.


Blogger Lynn said...

Yay for a great pile of fabric! It is a wonder, sometimes, isn't it, that we keep on making cloth, when so often it's ... OK. Just OK. At best. (but it was so wonderful in my head!) After a while, though, there is this pile, or several piles, of fabrics, knit or woven, handspun or not, and I wake up realizing, huh, I made all that. It's a good thing.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Freyalyn said...

Your book is so inspiring. I now have three bobbins full of Romney yarn, tightly 2plied, and I'm girding up the loins to block it after washing. Then gird up even loins to put in on a loom!!

3:40 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

"Without the meh, and the disasters, there would be no spectaculars!" So true! Thanks for the great encouragement to keep taking the "long view." I never know for sure how something will end up until it's off the loom, washed and finished...

11:29 AM  

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