Tuesday, May 29, 2012


What a journey. . . . . . . .

In the fall/winter of 2010/2011 I started weaving a 6 yard warp.  This may not seem like a huge undertaking to experienced weavers with their own loom, but at the time I did not own a SAORI loom so the warp was on one of Chiaki's looms at her studio (http://www.saoristudiofun.com/) in Chaska.  And my weaving time was limited to 2 hours /week (although I may have worked in one or 2 extra weaving sessions)!  Oh, I might add that I decided to weave the ENTIRE length in 3 color interlocking and you'll understand why Chiaki calls this my "winter project." It took me the winter to weave the cloth. . .  .

I wove this length and width because I wanted to make a specific piece of clothing from the SAORI: Self Discovery Through Free Style Weaving book.

Once finished, you would think I would have washed it and cut it right away . . . .but NO!  Now, I kept telling people that I had not washed it because I did not have the room to stretch it out to dry in our townhouse in Mn.  I think the real reason may have been I was afraid that I would mess it up. . . .and it wasn't like I could just run down to the fabric store and purchase more!  This was a one of a kind piece of fabric.  

Two weeks ago, I finally washed the fabric.  Ironed it, and stretched it out to dry.  And while it was drying, I read and reread the SAORI book . . . . . 

Then I measured and measured again.  Finally it was time to cut . . . . . .

                                                                                                                                               that first cut is always the hardest!

I won't bore you with the step by step  . . . .  here is the finished "poncho" (that's what it's called in the SAORI book)

Chiaki named this cloth while it was still on the loom.  She said it reminded her of Kyoto, Japan.  Mihoko Wakabayashi  of SAORI Worcester (http://saoriworcester.com/about.htm)  told me that she lived in Kyoto for a while and that the colors remind her of "beautiful cherry blossoms in mountain sides. Also it reminds me a Japanese dessert. It’s pink rice sweet dyed pink with cherry and wrapped with a pickled leaf! Yummy colors!



I now have visions of wearing this in Kyoto and eating this yummy dessert!

I learned that Cutting your fabric isn't so bad.  I can hardly wait for the opportunity to wear this.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weave with a happy heart

I’ve been thinking a lot about this slogan this past week.  Even on days when I have not been weaving.  But before I go into that I should explain where the slogan originated.
SAORI –the company, the philosophy, the weaving style – is built around four slogans.  Some might call them concepts, or tenants or principles.  I was taught they were slogans.  Might be it’s in how you translate.  Might not.  Since I don’t speak Japanese, I’ll go with slogans.  These slogans come from Misao Jo, the founder of SAORI.  I’ll have to write more on her later.  And I’m certain that these slogans will come around often.
Anyway, the slogans:
1.   Keep in mind the differences between what machines can do and what people can do.
2.   Explore with all your might.
3.   Weave with a happy heart.
4.   Learn together as a group.
Simple.  But spend time pondering them, and they are deep.  If you want to read more about the 4 slogans, SAORI  Worchester has some great thoughts on the, you can read it here.  And there are other concepts from SAORI that are equally as deep.  But we will get to those another time.
So back to Weaving with a happy heart.  Misao Jo came to this while weaving.  As much as she enjoyed weaving, the push for perfection and the lack of individual artistic expression in traditional patterned weaving took the joy out weaving for her.  When she set aside those pretexts she wove with a happy heart.
OK, well most of my fiber weaving experience has been SAORI.  So why was I thinking about Weaving with a Happy Heart so much this past weekend?  Because I was mowing the lawn. 
And I was HAPPY about it!  Yeah, sure, It might have something to do with the music in my ears (ear buds in the ears with those big noise reducing ear protection thingys over top make for some EXCELLENT sound!) , or the fact that riding a tractor/mower is just plain fun.  But I really think it had to do with the fact that I let go of pretexts.  Who cares if I follow the mowing rules?  As long as ALL the little blades of grass (and their weedy counterparts) get cut off, I’m good.  So I worried less about which way I was supposed to be going and concentrated on enjoying the experience.
That led me to another thought.  If in weaving we WEAVE WITH A HAPPY HEART, maybe in life we should DO WITH A HAPPY HEART.  I was thinking about that as I washed the dishes.  I can’t say that doing dishes brings joy to my heart, but having a clean kitchen does. (hum, maybe I should think about that while I do the floors . . . .)
But really it’s more than that.  It’s living purposely and purposefully living – with a happy heart.  My heart is happy.  I hope your's is too.