Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Efficient Weaver

These are the scarves I've woven since getting home Tuesday evening. I would have liked to see the pile a lot higher but I had several appointments (dentist/dr/etc) and other work that needed to be done (banking, skein winding, workshop prep - unpacking!)

The truly amazing thing to me is that I've been off the Ezetrol since Tuesday, and yesterday I felt great! After the angio everyone kept telling me I would feel like a new woman, that I'd have energy to burn. And it didn't happen. In fact, things got a whole lot worse before they started to get better.

I'm now suspicious that the Ezetrol, just like the statins, was affecting me a lot more than I'd realized. :(

So far I've had two doses of the Niacin (500 mg a day) and so far so good. My bp has actually dropped significantly since getting off the Ezetrol. It's now low enough that I've been having a cup of high octane coffee in the morning! :D

Anyway, I'm going to ask my doctor if I can stay at 500 mg/day for three months and check my cholesterol levels before upping it to 1000 mg/day (the recommended dose is 1000-2000 mg/day).

My cholesterol has never been 'high' - just that since it's so sticky they want to see it down as low as safely possible. But frankly, I'd rather risk a slightly higher level than go through more adverse reactions.

In spite of feeling so much better I've been taking it easy today after a massage treatment this morning. I wound 3 more chenille warps, and dressed the loom with one of those. I've reviewed the workshop materials and will start photocopying the handouts this evening, with the goal of getting everything into the mail next week.

And I've been picking away at my hemming pile.

I had a bit of a chuckle at the conference. I'd brought a bin of tea towels that needed to be hemmed and worked on those during lulls in the vendor hall.

Two weavers came up to me and commented that I was hand hemming - that they'd been getting negative comments from other weavers about hand hemming their wovens and urging them to machine hem.

When I started weaving in 1975, the vast majority of weavers would not dream of machine stitching their hems. In fact I heard of one weaver who top stitched a coat *by hand* because her guild would not allow visible machine stitching!

Now I have nothing whatsoever against hemming towels by machine. For me hand hemming is much like drop spindling. It's portable and something I can easily pick up and set down. It's my evening tv-watching job (not that I really watch tv - more something that I listen to and glance at once in a while!) For me to machine stitch, I'd have to drag my machine out, and then do it in the studio. It would turn into a big committment - clearing off space to put the machine, setting it up, making sure I had the right colour in the bobbin, yadda, yadda.

So for me, hand hemming is a form of efficiency. I get a lot more hemming done by doing it by hand during small chunks of time. I can take it with me when I travel to teach and hem in the evenings (most weaving hostesses understand about handwork!). I brought a bin to ANWG and hemmed during lulls. And I hem in the evening while watching tv.

Efficiency isn't always about working as fast as possible. It's about getting the maximum amount of work done with the least amount of effort. :)

I set up a group on Weavolution yesterday called The Efficient Weaver. Once Weavolution launches on Monday, people can sign up and join the group. It's open to anyone who wants to join. My hope is that people will share their hints and tips for working efficiently, whatever that means to them. I'm particularly hoping people will have hints and tips for studio organization in tight quarters. :)

See you there!


barbara said...

Wow Laura, if this is what you call taking it easy ["I wound 3 more chenille warps, and dressed the loom with one of those. I've reviewed the workshop materials and will start photocopying the handouts this evening"], your definition of "taking it easy" and mine is very much different. Glad to hear you feeling better. Looking forward to reading "The Efficient Weaver" and the comments other will share. Weaverly yours ... Barbara

Sharon Schulze said...

Do you remember "The Frugal Gourmet"? His definition of frugal was kind of like your definition of efficient in that it wasn't about "cheap" or "easy" it was about making best use of materials (in his case - food ingredients).

I am fortunate to have a sewing machine in a cabinet that is always available to me. Well, unless I have pre-wound warps piled up on it. But there are lots of other things that I don't have set up that I wish I did. I think my dream studio would be one that had a spot for everything. But then I think the studio would be bigger than my whole house is now!

I'm trying to throw the shuttle to reduce draw-in and I can't seem to get all the "parts" to happen at the same time. I'll keep practicing, though.

Oh - and I've learned that satin is beautiful but the weft sure packs in! I'm using the same warp on a 3/1 twill now and it's clipping along much faster. Which is good because I am very, very tired of this warp!

(Please forgive my ramble... I got carried away, I guess).

Laura said...

Now that I actually have some energy, winding a few warps isn't a big deal. And I'm enjoying that feeling very, very much! ;)

In fact, I've been enjoying the processes of weaving so much it's been hard to tear myself away and do the other stuff that needs doing, too!

OTOH, I started a jigsaw puzzle tonight and I've been doing that instead of photocopying. :}

Yes, satin is both ends and picks dear. :) One of the benefits of weaving with really fine yarns and high epi/ppi is that a little expense in purchasing the yarns gives a lot of play time. :D



Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that someone else feels that hand hemming is efficient - I do too! Always have felt that after all the hard work of setting up a weaving project, getting it on the loom, weaving said project and finally cutting it off the loom - that project deserves the next step - hand finishing the hems. Sewn hems to me seem like a short cut and don't "yell" hand craftsmanship - but that is my opinion. Looking forward to reading the comments in the efficient weaver forum of Weavolution. Happy weaving, Martha

Sharon Schulze said...

I'm not good at hand hemming so they almost always come out after only a few washings. It's kind of embarrassing to say "here's a fabulous towel I wove" and then have the hems come out. So I get stuck on that whole craftsmanship thing. I'm wondering if the argument falls into the same category as arguments about using computer-operated looms.

I get the argument about hand hemming fitting into the time scheme better, and I understand that as efficient. I'm not so sure that the quality/craftsmanship argument is in the same category, though. It seems like a separate thing that isn't always true. :-/

Laura said...

Working efficiently includes working to a standard of quality. If hand hemming doesn't stand up, of course machine hemming is better. :)

I'll show you what I do while you're here. I learned to hem as a child - all our home made garments were hand hemmed and I don't recall any of my hems coming undone. That would have annoyed me!

While I would not ever hand sew a garment, I do hand sew hems. :D

Of course any hand work has to be neat and precise. Not everyone has the fine motor skills to hand hem, nor the desire! :D

But that's one of the concepts of 'efficiency' - it has to fit in with the person's skills *and* preferences. If hand hemming is a pain, then it becomes a chore, and therefore inefficient as one procrastinates about doing it.

For me, that 'chore' is dragging out the sewing machine, so hand hemming is more efficient for me.