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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Is it perfect? No. Is it mine? Yes. So, I'm happy.

A Change Is As Good As A Rest, Right?

Way back in late March, I chatted with Marilyn Murphy. From then until TNNA, I went around telling people that she had commanded me to learn how to weave.

I had my own reasons for wanting to weave, too, along with Marilyn's encouragement.

1) It is fast.

2) I can use it for stash yarn I might not otherwise knit.

3) The Yarn Harlot does it and she hasn't stopped knitting and spinning. (This one is big. I need role models in every aspect of my life.)

4) In a zombie apocalypse, I may need something other than knitting to clothe myself and those I love. (What? That's a normal consideration.)

I was saving for a Cricket. Small enough not to be terrifying, and reasonably affordable. At TNNA, a conference for all things fibery, I ran into Deborah Jarchow (who I hope to have on the show soon), and I let her talk me more into why I should really take up weaving.

Deborah's main points were these:

1) It is fast. Even a first-timer can usually make a worsted-weight scarf, from start to finish, in less than 6 hours.

2) It is fun.

3) You can make more than scarves. (Although it's ok to do those for as long as you want.)

4) Weaving on a small room is as compatible with watching television as knitting.

5) About 50 feet behind where we were standing, I could buy the Ashford sampleIt (which is very, very new) for less than the Cricket I've been eyeing.

I wrote in May about the walls we build that stop our creativity.

A really, really big one that even seasoned crafters use is Time. Almighty time. "I can't give up any more of my time," I think.

For me, that's a reason not to dust my house every week, not a reason not to try a new skill. (I do dust, just not every week! Sorry, mom.)

Long story short, I bought a loom. When I came home from TNNA, I made myself unpack and do laundry (I can't let my mom down, completely), then I set it up. My partner helped me warp it (you can warp solo, but it's trickier). Then, I wove a scarf. Just like that. Less than four hours after I opened the box, I had a scarf. Something out of nothing but yarn, a tool, and a little effort. Magic.

I still have a sock in progress. I'm still knitting. I'm still spinning. I'm just weaving, too.

I've read a bunch of websites and several books from the library. I loved one so much that I bought it.

I was home alone for a few hours last week, and wanted to weave, so I warped my loom all by myself. One more scary thing down!

I have a lot of mental and physical tools that I've gathered through knitting over the years. Two are very useful for knitting. On the physical side, my needle gauge is great for checking how many threads per inch I have in my weave (too loose isn't as bad as too tight, I hear). Mentally, my faith in the process helps me deal when the piece looks, well, off, when it's on the loom. Finishing fabric by washing/ironing, or even just letting it rest for a few days, helps it "bloom." If your fabric looks exactly the way you want it when you're weaving it, it will probably be too stiff later. (Or so I hear! I'm still learning.)

This is kind of like knitting lace. Many lace patterns look strange or downright crappy when you're knitting them. Their true beauty needs the stress test of blocking to appear.

I'm not less busy. I doubt I ever will be. I don't even want to be. But, weaving adds something to my life, and I'm glad I made the leap. I am ever, eternally, and deeply grateful to both Marilyn and Deborah for giving me the push I needed.