Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Back in the Game

In mid-March, after six weeks of pain, I was told I had tendonitis, and to avoid activities which put stress on my right wrist and lower arm. It took me a while just to identify these activities; washing hair, brushing hair on the right side of my head, brushing teeth, and ironing were among them. And anything to do with scissors and knives. In fact, there was very little I could do. Normally, I love to read, and I look forward to a few days off with a cold every winter, but this time I felt restless and paced like a caged animal instead.

By Easter, I was at my wit's end because I just wanted to weave. I had so many ideas, plans, unfinished projects, all the time in the world, and, of course, yarn. I was especially eager to return to a fulltime weaving routine I established last year. I was cranky. At the same time I didn't want this to be life-as-a-weaver-threatening, so I went cold turkey. Weaving in short spurts, for me, tantamount to being given a chocolate chip cookie after all the chocolate chips have been removed.

But with age does come a modicum of wisdom. After a month of pacing and no chocolate chips, I sensed that if I want to weave to be 90, I couldn't go back to that routine . So I conceded to doing this sensibly.

Today, I wove for one hour. Except for a botched sample weaving in late March, this was the first time I wove since Christmas Eve. I set the kitchen timer for 60 minutes.

I wove on my 4-shaft Jack loom because this is the most comfortable, and it was already dressed with a glorious warp - three reds in shiny wool in a very wide Dornik Twill stripe. I wove three shawls on this warp last year with different wefts, and named them Merlot, Cab Sav and Stawberries and Brut, and sold Merlot at the exhibit in Blenheim. 10 pirns for the shuttle were already wound with red possum/meirno/silk. All I had to do was to tie the beginning and weave.

I felt a bit shy at first. It was like meeting a friend for coffee; a friend I've known for years, who lives not far away, but we were meeting for the first time in a long while. We both felt a bit guilty for not being in touch and sniffed around for safe things to say, but after 20 minutes, the company was as familiar as the scent of my favorite wool wash. The harnesses lifted smoothly, the shuttle glided, and we parted knowing we'd be seeing each other really soon again.

After the hour, still not wanting to leave the studio, I started to dress the 16-shaft compudobby. This is going to be a very narrow warp, only 160 ends of undyed merino, so I can redo the sample weaving. And I'll probably have enough leftover for a short scarf for myself.

It's fabulous to be back in the game.

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