I did other things before I became a weaver – mostly worked a corporate job, which served me well. However, my life took a rich and creative turn in January of 2012 when I started weaving. I had actually thought I would like weaving – I had been a sew-er, knitter, crocheter, needleworker off and on all my life. My general retirement plan was to live in Pt. Reyes, CA (a lovely and eclectic northern California coastal town), have cats, and weave. However, when my friend Barbara sent me a handwoven scarf for Christmas 2011, it occurred to me I didn’t need to wait for retirement to weave. I researched and ordered a rigid heddle loom (Ashford 20″ Knitter’s Loom) on Dec 26th, and before it arrived on Dec 29th I had watched two days of You Tube instructions, and had a basic idea of what to do. (By the way, weaving is the only part of the original retirement plan that will happen, but I’m fine with that!)
Over most of the next year, I wove over 50 scarves and a few other items, while continuing my very intense job. However, along about June, I figured out that I actually could retire. I planned that out, and retired in November of 2012. More time to weave!!
I knew I was about ready for a floor loom, so in January of 2013 I started a weaving course at the Richmond Art Center, and learned the basics, and gained some confidence that I could actually do this. I bought my floor loom (36″ Leclerc Artisat 8-shaft, texsolv heddles, back-hinged treadles) in April, and off I went.
General notes on the pieces – Many of the scarves are woven on the rigid heddle loom with knitting yarn. Often the combination of different yarns and textures creates something interesting beyond what I could predict. The floor loom, though, provides literally infinite possibilities for different structures, color and yarn combinations. I love the planning part of the process – it’s a great puzzle to put together, and then you get something beautiful as a result!
The bead – the wearable pieces and table runners have a small glass or ceramic bead woven into one corner. I started doing this from the very beginning of my weaving, to make it more personal for the recipients. I like the final touch of choosing the perfect bead for the piece.
My weaving teachers:
- You Tube – lots of free videos
- Interweave – great books and webinars
- Richmond Art Center/Jan Langdon (great class – also many of the ongoing students are accomplished weavers, so there’s lots of opportunity to expand on the basics)
- Peggy Osterkamp (besides her very informative books, we are in the same weaving guild, and she is very generous with her tricks and tips)
- Craftsy – both the rigid heddle weaving and floor loom weaving classes are full of good info
I’ve done a few cool things in my life, but nothing has ever grabbed me like weaving. I love the tactile nature of working with yarn. The complexity of planning and completion of projects stimulates my brain. And, this is the first time in my life I’ve really experienced feeling creative – I can and do create my own projects, usually starting with a structure in a book, but from there I pick the yarns, and colors, and maybe combine a few structures within the same project…
An amazing relationship with DP Dan, wonderful friends, and weaving my own cloth. What a great life.
Jolyn O’Hare, weaver