Saturday, November 4, 2023

Things Suck Less


I first started having acute pain in my hip last December.  It's been nearly a year now that I've been dragging my right leg around (quite literally some days), and dealing with chronic pain from various sources.

Getting in to see the local pain doctor was a watershed event, and I finally feel as though I am beginning to make up ground, instead of losing it.  But it's a damned slow process.  And I still don't know what the future holds, physically speaking.

The physiotherapist asked me to video myself weaving, and there was a certain amount of trepidation when I handed my ipad to her to review the videos.  Was I doing everything 'right' or was the very act of weaving causing further injury?

I mean, weaving is just a series of repetitive motions and you do enough of them and the body starts to object.  Was weaving going to end for me?  Or could I adjust what I was doing in order to keep going?

In the end, after watching the video multiple times and questioning me about what I was doing, she determined that while the weaving was not causing me further injury, I do still have an injury that is causing issues with my ability *to* weave.

Instead of telling me to stop weaving until I was healed, she said to continue, but to make sure I wasn't pushing myself beyond my body's limits because no matter which way you slice it, do repetitive motions for long enough and you *can* cause inflammation, and then injury.

She did give me a new exercise which should help my upper back, which I noticed in the video was a bit 'bowed'.  Since I have two whiplash injuries, scoliosis in my upper back and TMJ issues, I'm trying to be 'good' about incorporating the new exercise into my day.  So far, so good.

Progress has been incredibly slow.  Painfully slow.  Literally.  But there has been progress.  There is less acute pain and more just a nagging boulder I drag around.  When I think about where I am (which is not where I would like to be) and where I was last year (which was horrible) the only way I could sum things up was that 'it sucks less'.

Fortunately she has a similar sense of humour and I got the chuckle I'd hoped for.

When people ask me why I do what I do, all I can say is that I've worked out the 'best' more ergonomic ways I can, given my personal body.  So I share the principles, and then encourage others to work out what 'best' means for them.  Some people are more flexible, some less.  Some have injuries, some are healthy.  My goal for the past 40 years has been to help people find their own 'best' way.

I encourage people to trim excess movements from their processes.  Why do more work when you can accomplish the task with fewer movements?  Be kinder to your body.  Treat it gently, whenever possible.

Like most human activities, movement can be good - or bad.  Given our own circumstances, we have to find the most effective way to do the things that need to be done.

We have to care for our bodies, let them rest, give them good nourishment.  What that looks like for each person may look very different.  

So I tell people what I do.  Let them see for themselves how long it takes me to do things, and show them that it doesn't have to take days to dress a loom.  That it can be done by one person, not a crew - especially if they don't have ready access to a crew.

I've given classes.  Posted video clips to You Tube - most of them under a couple of minutes.  You don't need to wade through a lot of chat to get to the meat.  (OTOH, if you like the chat, no worries.)  I've done online classes, for both School of Sweet Georgia and Handwoven.  And I've written extensively - here, but also actual books.

Life is hard enough.  My goal is to help weavers get to the point where the processes involved in weaving suck less, if that is what they want.  If they aren't interested, then no worries.  I had one student who came in person to study with me for a week.  When they went home and began to put some of the things they had learned into practice, their spouse asked one evening if they were glad they had come to learn from me.  "Why?"  "Because you go into your weaving room and there are no bangs and clatter and no swearing, just you weaving and then come out with something woven."

And that is why I do what I do.  I want weaving to suck less for those who are struggling.

PS - School of Sweet Georgia will be launching the Sectional Beaming class next week...

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