Finding the Courage

I have talked about learning to sew for several years and I kept putting it off.  It would be an investment in time, money, and I would have to find yet another space for another craft.  Our CA bungalow only stretches so far!  I had some very good excuses.

My friend Bettes came through Berkeley not too long ago and stopped for a day to visit, a total delight.  She wanted to make a pilgrimage to the local fabric store and I went with her.  I dunno, I was there, I wanted to do it, I finally signed up for classes.

After starting the first project, thinking that this vest was going to cost in the neighborhood of way too much, I began to have second thoughts.  I am too old to learn a new craft.  It takes a good ten years to become proficient, blah blah, blah.

Then I came across this article in the New York Times Magazine.  Scroll down and you see a picture of an elderly woman  intent on a canvas.   Hmmmm, she started selling her paintings at the age of 89.   But I read too fast and thought she started painting at the age of 89.  No matter.  She started something.  If she could start at 89, well, surely I can start at 70.  It was inspiring.

First vest is almost done.  I even think it will fit.

Trial and Error

I thought I was putting on 4 yards for potholders.  I mean, how many does any person need?  After winding on a few sections and winding and winding, I finally looked at the warping wheel.  oh.  I failed to move the arms to a different position so the warp became a 6 yard warp.   Well, the purpose of the project was to use some excess 8/2 cottton.

Trying to visualize the drawdown in a computer program was near impossible.  The color rotation was annoying to create, and because the fabric is sooooo warp faced, I could not see if treadling would produce the pattern I wanted.  Too many little white areas.  Just didn’t work.

First attempt


OK, first attempt at treadling what I thought would work, um, no.

Second Attempt

Better, but not what I had in mind.

Hmm, maybe I should actually look at what the threads are doing on the loom instead of random guessing.  This is the one time I wish I were working on a loom with treadles instead of the computer driven loom, just a bit easier (read lazy) to improvise treadling sequences.

Final pattern

Ah, that was the key! Looking to see what threads were actually being lifted on any given pick.

Several wefts were tried, several ways of beating it in were also tried.  I finally ended by using two shuttle of mop cotton and beating once both were inserted into the shed,  I was very concerned while weaving these that they would not be thick enough to be useful potholders but that was not the case, they work fine.

With a 6 yard warp I thought I would have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 potholders.  Another oh.  I forgot about take up.  That thick weft took the number down to about 18.

I have some happy friends but I don’t want to weave these again.  If you want one, buy it from Erica Pfister, she does a great job on them.