I discovered weaving in 1978 and spent the next 15 years happily exploring the world of weaving. For the next 20 years, I designed, wove and marketed table linens in repp weave. Then I quit. Being completely burned out, I sold all looms, yarn, books and equipment I had spent years acquiring. Do I have regrets? Sort of.
I now have a greater appreciation for handwoven textiles. Perhaps when I was knocking out yards of placemats and runners, it all seemed ordinary. I was very casual about it. Last year, a good friend gave me one of her handwoven towels for a holiday gift. It was so special, I almost cried. Every time I use it, I realize how unique it is.
I miss the tactile nature of a handwoven cloth, and the yarn that went into it. Yarn textures, colors, size, and strength all play an important role in creating a handwoven textile. Before the cloth is woven, the weaver most likely played with that yarn, running it through their fingers, judging the yarn diameter and sett needed for a successful weave, pairing it with other colors and textures, and picturing the finished cloth.
I miss my weaving friends and the weaving community that was my home for decades. In my quilting world, I have found wonderful friends and have been lucky to find very knowledgable and generous teachers. But I simply miss my weaving tribe; I was with them for a long time. We shared many happy moments in workshops, at sales and many guild events.
I miss the academic process of designing a complicated weaving. I worked out many weaving designs at night when I couldn’t sleep. The math occupied me for hours. Repp weave, a multi-dimentional block weave, requires thinking in layers and can make for a stimulating mathematical challenge.
Many facets of my weaving world have migrated into my quilting world — my contemporary design style and love of bold colors, the excitement of a new project, learning new techniques, meeting like-minded folks, sharing and admiring accomplishments. Perhaps that is why I am comfortable in my new medium. Yet, weaving will always be a part of my creative process and my identity. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.