Gotta Start Somewhere, New York City 2018



The initial stages of learning a skill are the same, regardless of the skill.

While I was in New York City, I took an introductory weaving lesson at Loop of the Loom. You walk in. You take your shoes off. You sit down at a loom. The nice lady shows you how to move the pedals up and down and how to send the shuttle back and forth. For two hours, you weave. Change yarns. Learn a new pattern. See what happens when you try to leave space. There are no mistakes.

It reminded me of riding a school horse in a lesson program.

You are a beginner. You know little about weaving (horses) other that it (they) seems pretty. You show up at the weaving studio (the barn). The loom is strung for you (the horse is tacked up). You sit down (get on). You weave (ride). You don’t need to understand the set-up (horse care). You don’t have to spend the inordinate length of time with all the non-weaving tasks such as stringing the loom (looking after the horse).

There are all the yarns (tack) you need, extra bobbins (ring furniture), and random fluffy bits (peppermints). An instructor hovers nearby to help you when you get snarled (ditto). When the session is over, you get help tying off (dismounting). You waft out of the weaving studio (barn), leaving the clean up to someone else.

All of the weaving (riding). None of the responsibility.

You don’t make anything useful (you spend a lot of time trotting around in harmless circles) but you have a lot of time to concentrate on your weaving technique (your riding position). If you want to produce anything useful: a shawl, a dress, a set of placemats (move up), you need your own loom (horse) and you need to learn how to maintain it (start shoveling).

Do you find parallels in your disparate activities, or am I reaching here?

[NYC Previous Years]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

3 thoughts on “Gotta Start Somewhere, New York City 2018

  1. I find overlaps in just about everything. A little hint from here helps there, and vice versa.
    I’ve done some seed bead weaving in my past, but never yarn.

  2. Absolutely!

    My favorite activities, aside from reading, are cooking, knitting, jigsaw puzzles, solitaire and data base management, not necessarily in the order. They are all digital rather than analog, although cooking is a bit fuzzier. In each activity, I start with an unformed mass (food, yarn, puzzles pieces, cards or data). Then, organize it (measure, roll balls of yarn from the skeins, select the edges, deal the deck or set up the format). Next, manipulate it (combine and cook, knit, put pieces together, play solitaire or sort the data). Finally, the end product occurs (a meal, a pair of socks, a completed puzzle or solitaire game, or a printout of the analysis).

    Why are they so similar? I prefer the black/white of digital to the shades of gray in analog. I knit rather than sew, do puzzles or card games rather than dance and produce reports rather than The Great American Novel. I delight in creating order out of chaos.

    Control? Moi? Absolutely!

    Thank you for pointing out how patterned the human experience is.

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