Picking up the thread – start again if you have to

I have been quiet but not idle! About three weeks ago I started a new textiles course – a BA degree this time, for those who have followed my exploits since the HND course days. Over the last two years or so, the idea of doing the degree has been turning over and over in my head, with doubts galore.

Another degree? (Why yes, of course. So I tell myself.)

Am I a bit too old for this? (Nope, never. Although I was told a few days ago, by one of my new – and much younger – coursemates, that I ‘look good for my age’. Which was hilarious. I’m 29.)

Shouldn’t I just work with the qualifications/skills I already have instead of spending more time and money studying? (Turns out pretty much no-one will employ you meaningfully in textiles without at least a BA. The architecture degree I have counts for roughly nothing in this regard. I also really LOVE learning new stuff.)

Et cetera.

So the upshot of the soul searching is that I am now learning to weave from scratch and having my mind expanded by all sorts of extra knowledge about knitted and printed textiles as well. I had a great time last week sitting in the weave studio surrounded by yarn, making yarn wraps to test colours. And *cheese alert* when I was making my first warp yesterday I actually caught myself thinking that I couldn’t be much happier than I was at that moment, dancing my lengths of yarn around the stakes.

So many pretty colours!

Experimenting with colour combinations

First ever warp

There’s something lovely about how the yarns crisscross and trace the path your hand has followed as you wind them.

So today I transferred my warp to the loom and drew my warp threads through the heddles. If any of you have read my posts about hatmaking you’ll know how much I love the process of making things, so I put my headphones on (Lorraine McCauley, brilliant soundtrack for working) and got stuck in to the fiddly and oddly enjoyable work of drawing all 192 individual threads through the heddles.

Warp stretched, wound on and ready to be drawn through – self-coloured silver grey warp as a canvas for the bright colours

32 down, 160 to go

Starting to draw pairs of threads through the reed from the heddles. Looks like a jumble of threads but actually it’s the most beautifully regular and geometric thing.

I have come home from a week of early starts (up at 5.45am) and late finishes (home at about 7 or 8pm) still wanting to do more and share my enthusiasm with others. I am so happy I’m doing this course – it’s early days but I feel so ready for the challenge and the new skills and knowledge I hope to acquire over the next three years. The millinery will not be abandoned, rather I want to augment it with the other textiles skills. If anyone had told me 10 years ago that I would be doing this, I’d have probably said they had the wrong person. I had life all planned out to be in a stable career and settled down and possibly starting a family around now – but now I’m here, I feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. I feel younger and more curious and more excited about the future than I did 5 or 6 years ago, and also very very lucky. I think that’s telling.


7 responses to “Picking up the thread – start again if you have to

    • Thank you Louise! I hope the samples live up to how much fun I’m having so far πŸ™‚ Lovely that you liked my post. I’ve been enjoying your process posts arriving in my reader too, realised we have almost identical shots of all our spools of yarn which is quite cool πŸ™‚

  1. Hey Towera, just read your reply now! Glad your having fun, it is back breaking at times but very satisfying to weave your own cloth πŸ™‚
    I love admiring all my yarns and playing with the order I want them to go together. Planning to update my blog tomorrow!

  2. THANKYOU! this is a massive help πŸ™‚ im making a pillbox hat to get my higher art and design, looks great btw πŸ˜‰

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