Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weaving Longevity

No pictures today - I'm still unpacking and getting stuff organized, but I wanted to recap the class in Texas.

The class had 8 participants all 'middle' aged or seniors.  Several had problems that were preventing them from weaving as much as they would like.

The general public - and even many weavers! - have a very romantic notion of what weaving - the actual sit down at the loom and throw the shuttle, over and over and over again - is.

What that level of weaving is, is physically demanding.  Our bodies can do repetitious tasks but if we do them against the grain, so to speak and don't take rest breaks to allow our muscles to recover, we can begin to have problems with stress leading to inflammation, pain and reduction of our ability to do the things we want to do.  Proper posture and position at the loom is crucial to a long weaving life.

One person had already had both knees replaced and one of the replacements was 'coming apart' causing a lot of problems with inflammation - swelling and pain.

She expressed concern with the amount of strain she was feeling in that knee.  I watched her weave, suggested slight adjustments to what she was doing and she proceeded to weave - 3 weaving sessions the first day.  I was very concerned about her and had told her that as soon as she felt strain to stop.  In weaving there is no such thing as 'no pain, no gain'.

The next day I asked her how she was feeling and she grinned a great big smile as she said that not only did she have no pain, the swelling in her knee had actually gone down.

Now I don't claim any credit for the improvement, but was delighted to hear that she was not hurting.

During lunch we had a show and tell and several of the other participants said that they had never woven so much and hurt so little as a result.

When I got home last night there was a program on tv showing someone weaving at an AVL.  Right away I noticed that her elbows were lower than the breast beam.

This is very bad in the long run.  If a weaver is sitting with hips lower than knees and elbows lower than the breast beam there are going to be physical ramifications to the body.

My goal in teaching these classes - in Texas and again next year at John C. Campbell, SEFAA in Atlanta, NEWS and so on is to try to let people know that if they sit poorly at a loom and weave for extended periods their bodies will rebel.

Weaving should be joyful, not painful.


charlotte said...

I will check my elbows the first thing tomorrow morning! Thanks for sharing all this knowledge with us :-)

DebbieB said...

Never stop waving this flag, Laura! You're adding to the happy productive weaving years of many weavers, including myself.

I showed off AGY: Cotton at a guild workshop Saturday, and everyone was impressed with the amount of work and wealth of information you've put into it. I know of several that are putting their pennies aside for their own copies, and I put in a plug for AGY: Rayon, too!