Urban Weaving

Our guild had a very interesting guest speaker at the last meeting. An enthusiastic artist, she showcased the Urban Weavers Project, a wonderful idea on many levels.  One of the goals of the project is to use some of the invasive plant species that threaten native ones, and to use them in a sustainable, least harmful way. The community based project allows people to participate in such things as cedar basket weaving, spindle spinning, and natural dyeing. The link goes to a site that I looked at for some time. One looks at the immediate environment in a whole new way.

This is what english ivy does, as one example of an invasive species. Green, lush, and harmful. Dedicated volunteers cull and dry, and some of this end product is used in the weaving projects. I encourage a look at the site, it is quite inspiring.

IMG_0090The other kind of urban weaving,(done by me, here in this city)  is this first project on the loaner loom. The warp is silk, at 18 ends per inch, and the weft is hand spun, a combination of silks and exotic fibres, samples from the spinning workshop last year. I can’t decide if this broken twill fabric will be a scarf or not, it is a bit reminiscent of a 70’s style sofa. I wonder how it will be off the loom and finished. A beginner project for sure, nubbly from the hand spun. It feels very different this working on the four shaft loom after the goofy free wheeling of the plain weave on the rigid heddle. More formal. The analogy I have heard a lot is the difference between baking and cooking. When baking, precise measurements, at least of some very important ingredients, are needed for success. Cooking can be a bit more “loose” – using up what is in the cupboard, tossing it together to see what comes out, more room to improvise. (I don’t cook or bake enough to know if this is a good analogy, it is just a common one!) I am suspending judgement till I get a bit more experience though. Having only done two warps on the four shaft I can’t say I am anywhere near comfort with it. It’s a process.


Speaking of process, this is the month that finds us, Grant and me, back in a more “normal” schedule. Back to work, back to health, back to the day in, day out that has characterized the last few years. Of course there have been changes, some of them profound. Life is just like that. But all is well, “and all manner of things will be well” which is part of a quotation credited to Julian of Norwich. A favourite.

All things change, that is one of the universal truths taught by the Buddha. And really, it is a truth known to anyone, Buddhist or not, who looks closely at things. How much we suffer seems to be in direct proportion to the degree we get that figured out. At least that is how it has been for this knitter.

IMG_0070When I went for my appointments in town this summer, on the counter in the office we placed our appointment cards into a set of hands, just like these ones, only wooden. The very first day, when I saw those hands, in spite of everything, I knew for sure it was OK.

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