As I sit at my Union 36 floor loom today weaving with hand woven yarn I found at the local thrift shop this morning, my mind begins to wonder. When I made the decision to start leaning about creative fiber arts I had no idea what a journey this was going to be. The yarn I chose for this project is a creamy off white. It looks really nice against the deep brown yarn I chose for edging of this project. The colors of this rug makes me think about how nice a rug it will be come winter when there is nothing between the cold wood floor and my bare feet except this warm wool rug.
The worn varnish on my loom as well as other markings that show that it was well loved in another life make me wonder who used to own the loom and what made them purchase it. Were they mysteriously drawn to the fiber arts in the same way I was or was it something they always enjoyed? Possibly they wove to make fabric, rugs or other items for their home out of necessity. Maybe the loom handed down as a precious reminder of a grandmother or other family member who used to spend time weaving on it. Who made the decision to get rid of it and why? Whatever the case, the condition of the loom clearly shows it was well used at one time.
None of the past really matters but I am still curious about it. I would love nothing more than to talk to the original owner of the loom and learn more about them. I am sure they would have lots of tips – and stories to share. I find that knowing the history of things I own helps me connect to them more. Suddenly they are not just a large piece of furniture or knickknack but something with a past that I might be able to relate to in some way.
The loom is mine now so in the end, that is what matters. It is sitting in my living room facing the front door so I can look outside as I weave – and it is much larger than I imagined it would be, but that is ok. The sound of the threads being beat into place as I learn how to weave for the first time is somehow soothing. The repeated motion, is stress relieving. Each project I make is a little different – and none are perfect but that is part of learning a new skill. Some of the projects I like, others I hate, but all of them will find a home somewhere even if it is in someone else’s home.
For this project I chose to go with an artistic thick and thin hand spun wool. It is soft and supple but not at all smelly. The lanolin in the wool is easily felt as the yarn moves through my hands. My mind wanders. What purpose did this wool serve for the person who donated it? Why was it not used or was it simply leftover wool from another project? It doesn’t matter much now. The yarn, my treasure from the second hand store, has a new purpose, as a rug.
The price tags were still on the wool when I pulled it out of the box it came in, so I intend to search to find out if the company is still in business just in case I want more of the same kind of yarn. More importantly, I know now what my hand spun yarn will look like in a rug provided I chose to spin it the same way this yarn was spun – thick and thin.
I am inspired and anxious to learn to spin fiber from my own animals into a yarn that I can then turn into rugs or even fabric. My angora rabbit Gizmo, my cashmere goat Tulip, my angora goat Leonardo, plus my Leicester Longwool sheep Johnny and Pearl’s fiber will be put to good use through my spinning and weaving. From clothes to rugs and beyond, there will be plenty of projects to keep me busy for months to come.
Learning to spin and weave is very do-able but it takes practice and patience. I have plenty of time to devote to learning this lost art – and that is what I intend to do. My journey into this process is not mandatory but rather a desire to learn creative fiber arts, to be more connected to the items I have in my home, to be able to be self-sufficient and to live off the land. Some might not understand this desire and that is ok. For those who find themselves on this same journey or are simply curious, welcome.