February 2022 Newsletter
Do it Yourself & Do it Together
No matter what fiber medium(s) we prefer, we are makers. DIY is us. DIY sourdough, preserves, gardening, socks, hand towels, yarn. This is how we manage and even savor the time, while avoiding more crowded activities we might have done, back in the day . . .
Side note: The Seattle Art Museum was not crowded and provided a lovely experience on a long-delayed day trip recently.
While at SAM, I was introduced to a new term: D.I.T., for Do it Together. The D.I.T. abbreviation was included in text information with a display of contemporary Ndebele Beadwork. When a woman is preparing to marry, other women in her community gather together to create a set of beaded necklaces, bracelets, headpieces, skirts, and capes for the bride they respect and care about. Memories and good wishes are stitched into finery for their loved one, who will take it with her when she goes to live with her new husband’s family group.
And, on a recent Saturday, two of the Whatcom Weavers Guild Tapestry group warped “Big Bob” the Guild’s large, semi-portable frame loom, to lend to an elementary school for a class project. The tapestry weavers’ expertise and patience doing a challenging task, even while communicating in masks, was fun to be a part of. And none of us could have done it alone. After measuring and setting up the warp, the loom was taken apart, to be put back together in the classroom, so the fifth graders can work on it for a month. Their teacher and two parent volunteers will work with the students. Our Tapestry Weavers will not be part of the classroom experience. As a guild, we can still do outreach and support education, providing equipment, logistics, preparation, and guidance. Women working together, with sticks, string, and a cordless electric screwdriver… The power of D.I.T.
The Dreamweavers Group gathered via Zoom on a recent Monday, in answer to a call for help planning and troubleshooting handwoven baby blankets. There are so many books and videos available that sometimes we think we are supposed to be able to learn how to weave without a teacher. It is easy to think, in the middle of a tangle, that everyone else weaves without a mistake. When “one of those” questions came up during our conversation – we all raised our hands. And we could offer more than one way to fix the problem. Even if we couldn’t examine the samples in person, what a joy to see each other’s faces, and share our experience about yarns, setts, weave structures, books. If instructions in a particular book of baby blanket designs are maybe a little lacking in detail, there are other weavers to ask.
When I visit a museum, it is the objects and artifacts I gravitate to, more than the paintings. Being a visual person, I don’t always read the text panels. This time, I’m glad I did, because it helped so much to establish the contemporary context the objects belong to. In the description of another group of objects was the proverb “When the thread gets tangled, use both hands to untie it.” Meaning that a problem is best solved together, or “two heads are better than one.” In matters of string, as in most of life, Doing it Together is better!
All the Best,
Carol Berry, President
“Sun Always Follows Rain”
A poster on the street in Seattle
Inspiration for weaving, in a detail from an Australian aboriginal painting
Yarn Inspiration: The ANWG 2023 colors, in wool and cotton yarns.
The Tapestry Group and the Band Weavers group are planning challenge projects using these colors, for the Conference in 2023.