Dancing with the threads- translation: don’t push the river

In the three times I heard my friend Rocío give a presentation on the Tintes Naturales Project, ( see prior post), there was one line that never failed to elicit a response from the audience. She did a good job talking about the dyeing project and fair trade, but she also made the women and their lives very real to the audience. She spoke of their closeness to nature and their philosophies of life. I’m paraphrasing, but she said the women told her the threads can tell when we are rushing or in a bad mode and they mock us by getting all knotted up. When we are in a good mood then we are dancing with the threads and everything goes well. We finish quickly.

That story aways elicited sighs and laughter of recognition.  Who hasn’t been there? Maybe it’s called being in the zone; maybe the concept is to not push the river, but every craftsperson has experienced being in the flow- dancing with our medium. And each of us has pushed or rushed and ended up with a mess.

For thirty plus years I resented the process of warping the loom. I struggled and the threads mocked me. my friend Deb told me warping is just a chance to fondle the threads and another spoke of warping as quiet meditative time. I am trying really hard to learn and re-frame, and just in time. I started this week by warping 6 frame looms in one long night, and now I have 10 days to warp 6 or 7 table looms before Instart teaching knitting and weaving in a kids summer camp. The process has bogged down several times. Little looms I borrowed from my guild were grubby with the finger prints of hundreds of school children and the wood frames needed sanding and oiling. A little metal Structo has defeated me and I have to take it to my friend Virginia to learn how to remove the harnesses and move the heddles. I am working on serenity. How beautiful it is to sand down rough spots and restore dry wood to health. A friend gave me an old warp that has sat jumbled in a bag for a year. As a compulsive re-purposer I need to use this, but each color needs to be separated from a terrible jumble before I can use this thread.

When I remember to dance with the threads I enjoy making six 4 yard warps for the table looms. I enjoy that I am re-using old yarns and they will be put to good purpose permitting 24 kids to make their first weavings. It’s a discipline to remember to stay present and relaxed, but in weaving as in life, it is a much happier path.


A little help from my friends certainly made the work go faster. 


Finally on the loom. 

About fiberassociations

Weaver, spinner, knitter, dyer, lover of fiber. Now teaching and coaching beginning weavers.
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