Saturday, January 26, 2013


            Sorry about the hiatus. It’s been cold-ish here the past two weeks and, except for gainful activity, I retreated inside to spend a good bit of time with my loom. While warmly warping and wefting, it occurred to me there are many similarities between weaving and gardening.

            With both crafts, it helps a lot to have a plan before leaping into action. If what you want to accomplish is simple and straightforward—such as one-note containers or single-color plain weave—sometimes winging it works: more often it doesn’t. Because of a certain, ahem, predisposition on my part to preciseness (I’m anal as hell), I prefer designing every project in two dimensions, to scale if at all possible.

A simple one-color, balanced weave project...
...or plopping a bunch of hens-&-chicks in a pot doesn't require a lot of advance planning.

But some simple-seeming weavings...
...or color-blocked pots of violas benefit from some prior thought.

            Not that a lovely drawing ensures success on the loom/ground. Landscapers who slavishly follow beautiful, curvy, landscape-architect-rendered drawings often find themselves in plant-replacement nightmares punctuated by increasingly menacing phone calls from unhappy clients. Back in the day when Tim and I took on new-construction installations, we learned early on that any paper plan is purely advisory. In the real world, things evolve. In the real world, the grand design emerges over time. Still, it helps to have some idea of where you’re going before you rev the engine and back out of the driveway.

Garden plans evolve from establishing the "bones" of a space... filling in the details.

            Both weaving and gardening require an openness to rearranging elements on the fly. Translating some approximation of your mind’s two-dimensional conception into three-dimensions pleasing to the eye determines the ultimate success or failure of any design. Trust your instincts while you’re working. They’re never wrong.

Weaving plans also evolve. Observe Take 1...
...and Take 2 for the same piece.
            In some ways, though, weaving feels more intense than gardening. Lose concentration for a few passes on the loom, and the pattern and/or selvages show it. Not that gardening is mindless, of course. Even weeding requires a modicum of attention if you want to be sure you haven’t plucked out all your dad’s asparagus plants about 43 minutes before they bear. For the first time. Since he’d planted them three years previously. (See November 11, 2011’s “Looking Back” for the whole sad story.) 
            The ultimate goal of any endeavor—weaving, gardening, painting, golf—is a result. If at first you don’t succeed, figure out what went wrong, and try, try again. Screw-ups just mean you’ve had an opportunity to learn something. Tim has taken as his mantra an adage that says an individual has to paint a mile of canvas before he starts to get really good at it. The number grows to 20 miles of yarn when applied to weaving. We’ve killed thousands of plants over the years figuring out how to garden in North Carolina. So stick with it, whatever “it” is for you. At the risk of sounding unbearably sanctimonious, if you love to do it, it’s worth doing until you do it well.   
This is how the garden turned out...
...and here's the final incarnation of that weaving.
            Three “it”s in one sentence! Must be near time to plug in the pictures and thank y’all for dropping by.

            Thanks for dropping by, y’all.


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