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Guest Blogger: A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder
Monday, December 24th, 2012

Craft Therapy – The Zen of Weaving

“You have a weaving class looming.”

Groan.  My coworker said that to me and giggled about it for the rest of the afternoon, but he was onto something.  I’ve written before about crafts and their benefits, and it’s something we have to keep learning over and over.  Crafts bring pleasure but, more importantly, they bring us into the moment.  That class looming over me for the day reminded me that my life isn’t all about my day job.

I take weaving classes at the Chicago Weaving School with Natalie Boyett.  An amazing teacher, Natalie understands the Zen of art.  She knows how to be gentle and she knows how to inspire.  More than that, I find weaving puts me in the moment and while I’m working on the simple back-and-forth or counting, my mind relaxes.  From there, it’s an easy jump into my story.  Weaving makes me a better writer.  I’m sure it has that beneficial effect on other walks of life too; my classes are full of teachers, nurses, and professionals of all stripes.  We come because weaving is fun.  We stay because it’s a way of life.

Too melodramatic for you?  To New Age?  Let me share with you the magic and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

My project is a simple kimono.  The ancient art of kimono, developed in Japan over centuries, is a way of making clothes that shows off hand-woven fabrics.  From simple to ornate, they require little cutting or shaping and are a perfect way to use the product of our handweaving.

I decided to use a pattern from a classic weaving book.  A variation on a twill, it requires you to thread the heddles (put the yarn on the loom) in a certain order.  The process of doing so is mechanical and not very artistic:  put this thread in 1, this one in 3, that one in 2, then 4-3-1, then 2-1-4, or some other order.  It’s painstaking and detailed.

It is, though, one half of the process of weaving.  Once you’ve dressed the loom, you’re halfway done.  Magic.

Once the loom is dressed, we weave a header to even out the threads and set the stage for our pattern.  I’m using a lovely but fussy rayon thread for my warp, which is the red/blue in the photograph.  My weft, the yarn I use to weave, is a rich teal.

ac2012-12_ACN_IMG_01 

After the header, we start with the pattern.  This, too, is done in a particular order.  The difference is that now we begin to see the magic that is weaving.

ac2012-12_ACN_IMG_02

It looks like the thread is almost beaded, as the rayon shines like fire in the light.  I can’t wait to see more of the fabric as it appears.  It’s meditative.  I look forward to my Thursday night classes all week, because I know I’ll get to spend four hours away from the world, in my little magic bubble of fiber.  When I emerge, butterfly-like, it’s with a renewed appreciation for the art of our ancestresses and not a few plot ideas.  As I weave, so shall I write.

And that, my friends, is the magic of craft.

Happy holidays!


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora

Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Website | Facebook
Team Blogs: Nightlight | The Writers Retreat Blog | Beyond the Veil | LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers
Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.

Check out “Taking a Chance“, part of the Charity Sips 2012 to benefit NOH8, available from Torquere Books.

Watch for TIGER TIGER, coming July, 2013, from Samhain Publishing.

12 comments to “Guest Blogger: A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder”

  1. A. Catherine Noon
    Comment
    1
      · December 24th, 2012 at 10:34 am · Link

    Happy holidays! Thank you to Delilah for hosting Rachel and I today. Whatever your tradition, may it be filled with love, laughter, and the joy of good company.



  2. Nancy Lauzon
    Comment
    2
      · December 24th, 2012 at 10:43 am · Link

    I’m always in awe of people who can make things like this – it’s beautiful! :lol:



  3. A. Catherine Noon
    Comment
    3
      · December 24th, 2012 at 11:47 am · Link

    Thank you, Nancy! It’s a lot of fun to do. Doing it in class means that it’s not difficult, either; when I get stuck, I have an instructor that can help me sort it out. It ends up being a very relaxing, in-the-moment kind of thing.



  4. ronnie cornett
    Comment
    4
      · December 24th, 2012 at 12:22 pm · Link

    Wow! It’s beautiful!!! I never did take that weaving class in college as an art major…now I think maybe I should have!!! :!:



  5. Melissa Porter
    Comment
    5
      · December 24th, 2012 at 12:27 pm · Link

    Awesome colors. I have seen weaving done and I love how they turn out. Never did try it.
    My daughter is getting more into those type of things.



  6. A. Catherine Noon
    Comment
    6
      · December 24th, 2012 at 2:47 pm · Link

    Thank you, Ronnie! I recommend taking a class when you have the time. It’s a lot of fun and the interplay of color is fascinating. Your color theory classes applied to textiles – awesome!



  7. A. Catherine Noon
    Comment
    7
      · December 24th, 2012 at 2:48 pm · Link

    Hi, Melissa! I’m glad you’re supporting your daughter’s exploration into fiber arts. I have found it a relaxing hobby and it supports all the other arts I do. I started needlepoint at a very young age and am grateful to have it and other fiber arts as a creative outlet.



  8. Mary Preston
    Comment
    8
      · December 25th, 2012 at 2:59 am · Link

    I’m impressed. This is gorgeous.



  9. ELF
    Comment
    9
      · December 25th, 2012 at 1:04 pm · Link

    That is so impressive and beautiful! I manage to tangle my crochet yarn, I can’t imagine the trouble I would get into with something this complex, lol. Thank you so much for sharing and hopefully you will return and show off the finished piece when you are done!



  10. A. Catherine Noon
    Comment
    10
      · December 25th, 2012 at 1:07 pm · Link

    Thank you, Mary! I’m glad you stopped by to comment. It’s a lot of fun to work on weaving projects.



  11. A. Catherine Noon
    Comment
    11
      · December 25th, 2012 at 1:09 pm · Link

    Hi, ELF! If you crochet, you can weave. Weaving isn’t difficult, it just requires that we focus and give it the time it needs. The process itself is a series of simple steps. It’s an ancient art that predates both crochet and knitting, too, which means that in its simpler forms it doesn’t require a lot of equipment.

    I will certainly share my finished projects and in process reports. I love to talk about crafts and knitting; I have a blog at Knoontime Knitting and i’m on Facebook and Twitter with that same name. I hope you stop by.

    Happy holidays!



  12. Rachel Wilder
    Comment
    12
      · January 11th, 2013 at 4:29 pm · Link

    love the colors. Can’t wait to see it finished !