I’ve always found that my fellow fiber artists are a very generous lot. We share knowledge, lend materials, and help each other out.
I’m a member of the Vermont Weavers Guild where among other things I maintain our website and answer the general query email box. Recently we were contacted by a woman who was looking for information on where to learn more about weaving. As I corresponded with her to find out what she’d been doing so far I discovered that she lives pretty near to me.
This week she came to visit. I am lending to her my rigid heddle loom and I spent a couple of hours giving her a crash course in how to use it. It was my first loom. The one I purchased about 6 years ago when I thought I wanted to learn to weave and didn’t want to spend too much money finding out.
It’s a great first loom. Portable. Not too expensive. The loom is designed for weaving plainweave, but with some pick up sticks you can easily broaden your horizons.
I was in love, and then the floor looms started arriving. My poor rigid heddle had been relegated to a shelf. I pulled it out rarely to weave samples for a larger piece and it was looking a little lonely.
Now it has gone on loan to a beginning weaver. I sent her off with the loom, shuttles and accessories, operating instructions, pattern books for the rigid heddle so she can experiment, and a bit of cotton yarn to weave with. And a promise to answer her questions.
Today when I go to my spinning group I’ll be hanging out with spinners who have far more experience than I do. They’ll give me tips on wheel behavior and managing the unspun roving so I can spin the thread that I want.
When I go I’ll be returning a knitting book that I borrowed, and receiving back a book that I lent to my friend. We even, sometimes, share yarn. You might think that yarn would be the most jealously guarded treasure but sometimes what you thought was going to work perfectly doesn’t. Or that great bargain at the estate sale — a dollar a cone! Really? Let me fill my bag! — turns into cones gathering dust on the shelf and a weaver muttering “What was I thinking?” to herself. So we offer, we trade, we donate to guild sales.
This is my community. We have a love of craft. A love of fiber. Weavers who spin. Spinners who knit. Knitters who, gasp, also crochet sometimes. And we gather to share our knowledge and our wealth. We welcome newcomers and hope they’ll find the joy in handwork that has brought us together.