Friday, February 27, 2009

Next Towel Design

What this photo doesn't show very well is the darker blue in the middle of the cloth. If you squint, you might just be able to make out the colour shift to the far right and left sides.

When I say 'darker', the blue is pale so it isn't very much darker than the white. Perhaps it will show up better off the loom and after wet finishing.

The good news (?) is that I've found enough fine cotton to do another warp without buying more yarn.

I've been thinking a lot about issues of efficiency lately. It seems that the topic is coming up on the chat groups with more frequency, and people are becoming more interested in working with less fuss and bother.

Personally I don't like struggling with my process, equipment or materials. If something isn't working smoothly, my approach is to try to find out where the problem is and fix it. Sometimes that means modifying equipment, or replacing it with something more efficient. Life is short; time precious. This past year certainly brought that to my attention in a big way. :}

Unfortunately if a new weaver is only ever exposed to one type of equipment they don't know that there is anything else, so they wind up struggling with what is available. :( Even worse, when muscle memory has been formed, changing becomes more difficult than if one learned how to do it with more efficient tools in the first place. Most people simply don't bother to try to change because they don't like the feeling of being less than competant than they are used to.

When a person doesn't know what they don't know, they can only do the best they can. But we can change when something better is shown to us. Sometimes going back to the beginning can wind up being very beneficial.

I can weave very fast. The reason I can do so is that I have found the processes, tools and equipment that work well for me. I have refined my technique over many years until I can do the varioius steps with the least amount of hand movements. My goal is to work smarter, not harder - to accomplish more by doing less. Not all of the techniques I use came easily or quickly, but I could see the potential of saving time by taking the time to learn them. So I wallowed at the deep end of the learning curve until I became proficient.

One of the things that causes grief for most weavers is threading. Our bodies are in a posture that is uncomfortable and the longer it takes to thread, the longer we have to stay crouched in that posture. Even though I was considered fast at the time I took a workshop with Norman Kennedy, who showed us a different way of threading I took the time to learn his method and my threading speed increased significantly. Learning how to sley differently recently made that task faster and easier because instead of large arm movements, I now sley with smaller hand/wrist movements.

Now that my health appears to be stabilized, I am looking forward to being able to weave for many more years. Weaving is labour intensive. Whatever I can do to lessen the time and effort required, I will do. Even if that means wallowing at the deep end of the learning curve, erasing and building new muscle memory all over again. :)

(I show people my 'tricks' in the seminar You Have to be Warped, and on CDWeaver.)

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