Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ten Years

Ten Years ago today I posted my first entry to this blog. 523 posts since, I'm still here. Why? Weaving.

silk fabric3

All those many years ago, 2 friends and I were talking online about how nice it was to read knitting blogs, and decrying the lack of weaving blogs. We decided to do something about it. Marie and Char still blog, although less often. We have all had long or short hiatus, but we are all still here. Ravelry has certainly taken some of the energy from blogs, and yet it is itself indeed a wonderful gift to the knitting, and, by extension, spinning and weaving communites.

Our original blogging intent was to de-mystify hand weaving, bring it out of the closet, and demonstrate how easy it can be. Yes, there is a learning curve, there are frustrations, but that is part and parcel of learning any craft. I think (based solely on nothing but intuition) that more people are weaving now, that knitters have become spinners and spinners are learning to weave. It seems an explosion, lately, of interest in weaving, and very good work is posted now all over; on blogs, in Ravelry and Weavolution, and in print magazines and books.

There are many weaving blogs now, in fact, I think a determined person could learn everything there is to know about weaving, looms, tricks and tips by following blog links, weaving blog to weaving blog! A good thing.There are over 150 blogs on the Weave Ring, I'm not sure how many are active, but it gives one a place to start. Most blogs have sidebars with links to further blogs (I have never figured out how to do this, I use a reader to save my blog-links). Almost-local-to-me-Sharon's blog has a goodly list to start on her sidebar, if you have an interest in finding new-to-you mostly weaving resources.

So how and why have I kept it up? Well, first and foremost, it feels like a conversation. I get feedback, comments on the blog, emails and comments in person from people who are still reading, or who have found me in the interim. I have enjoyed the thinking, talking about, and deepening understanding of this work that I do. In order to put it into words, I have to have something to say. Yes...some posts are merely Look! at! This! picture heavy. But many have required that I analyse what I am doing in order to pass it on. The still-favorite posts every day in my stats are the tutorials:

Inkle weaving 101

Pick-up tutorial

How to make a Shawl Pin

Older posts sometimes do not show up with photos: they are still there, on Flickr. If you click on the blank box that says photo no longer available, it pops up from my Flickr site.

cardwoven bag

But more than just the ability to put it all into words, the blog has brought me a platform for a larger audience. I've been teaching spinning and weaving in Northern California, where I live, since 1980, at first in local weaving shops. The Conference of Northern California Handweavers (CNCH) is held annually, and I have taught there since the late '80's (I could look the exact date up, but I am lazy).I've taught at other regional conferences: ANWG, Black Sheep, MidWest Weaving Conference, CASCH (Southern California, alas, now sadly defunct), MAFA (sadly diminished but still going), SpinOff Autumn Retreat, also now sadly defunct, and at weaving/fiber conferences in Canada, Britain and Australia.

Some of these teaching events happened before I started blogging. But my classes have been easier to fill since the blogging happened. And at least one (Tasmania, the Bothwell SpinIn in 2009) would not have happened at all if the organizers had not been familiar with my work and me, through the blog. Think of it: I was invited to come and teach halfway around the world, all expenses paid plus I was paid for my time there. Who could ask for a better return on the investment of my time writing this blog!?

pile demo piece Tasmania 2009

I've had some amazing experiences, exchanges with people I would not know but that they found me through the internet. I was able to finish this carpet for a weaver's family after he died, leaving it without the last three inches:

rug done2

It was a gift to be able to do this, and also cause for much thought: how much do I want to leave unfinished? Is it important to leave things behind? They are, after all, just things. But, are they a comfort, do they extend your memory into future generations? Is that important or even desirable? Are all these words important to leave behind, or even leave out here?

I've written 3 weaving and spinning books since starting the blog. I am quite sure the book acquisitions department read at least a few blog posts before extending me those contracts: does she know what she is talking about, can she write, is she interesting? :) One book, Woven Treasures is only available new in print directly from me, now, but the ebook version is still for sale by the publisher. Spin to Weave, and Spinning Silk are still in print, and there are DVD versions of the latter two books for the auditory/visual learners.

silk shawl2 April 2007

Ten more years? I have no idea. I am a maker, I will continue to make things. I am still weaving, fabric and knotted pile mostly, for clothing and bags. I am still spinning. More of the same, really. Is it repetitive to keep on? I can only really speak about what I do, and weaving is such a huge topic, no one person can know it all. I certainly have new directions/new projects, traveling and teaching about which I can continue to write. I do plan to claim back more of my time in the future from travels for teaching. I have no thoughts of stopping entirely, either the blog or the teaching, but my posts are clearly less frequent than they once were, too. I have grandchildren (have you noticed?) and prioritize visiting them, or having them visit me:

art show at Grandma's

the artists, one with truck

artist at work

If you have been with me since the beginning: thank you! Thanks for your input, comments, and perseverance! If you have just found this platform? Welcome. Be warned, the posts here are weaving-centric, with a side of spinning, dyeing and now? leather bags! and a dollop of grandchildren. I welcome your input, in the comments or in person.

It's been quite a long trip, so far. How much further? Anybody's guess!


Blogger Devin said...

Congratulations on your ten year anniversary!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

I'm looking forward to the next 30 years of your blogging!

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Freyalyn said...

Congratulations. And no need to stop now...

6:15 AM  
Blogger Louisa said...

Happy Blogiversary, Sara! I've been enjoying reading you since the beginning even though I don't weave as much any more. You started blogging 4 months before I did, way back in the olden days. ;)

Carry on!

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations. I enjoy your blog even if I haven't been reading long.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Gloria19 said...

Congratulations on 10 years of blogging. That is a long time as blogs go!

Love reading what you write and that you share your work and you life.

Blog on.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

My blog is almost eight years old and the time has flown. I had no idea what to expect when I started, least of a place to make friends and a forum for learning. I know that without it, I would not be the weaver I am now. Sometimes it feels like the tail that wags the dog and I can be less than enthusiastic about posting, but it keeps my friendships and interest alive. Like you, I post less often and include grandchildren :) You are one of the friends I've made through blogging :)

8:15 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

You've always inspired me.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Charleen said...

Happy Anniversary! Thanks for all the inspiration and advice you've given over the years. I'm reading through the MAFA workshop list right now. Wish you were teaching! Let me know if you get back to the east coast again.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Goatldi said...

Congrats Sara! I imagine that in ten you will be toasting another part of the blog journey. I have been delighted to know you, take a class or two and ride along with you and so many others on the Sheep Thrills (original version) . Love your weaving and words.

9:18 PM  
Blogger ChelleC said...

I really am glad I found your blog. I love your sharing of your weaving knowledge. I've thoroughly enjoyed your books and DVDs since I can't directly go to California to take a class from you. So please continue to blog. There are many of us still reading. Chelle

6:22 PM  
Blogger June said...

I've enjoyed many an entry from you,thank you for that. Congratulations on your milestone!

3:58 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

congratulations! Has it really been 10 years?!

What a wonderful, inspiring post.
Love the art show at Grandma's.

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Sara Nye said...

Hi Sara,
Bothwell Spin-in (Tasmania) is once again on - next weekend. We still remember your visit and your inspiration. Every week I do my washing I think of you - as I hang my tea towel on the line. And Christmas 2013 one of your books featured in the front window of Fullers Bookstore in Launceston. I am very glad you continue to blog and to share, and look forward to many blog entries to come!
.. Sara

2:46 PM  

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