Today I took the day off work and hubby and I drove to Orangeville to the only weaving supply shop I know of. Beautiful autumn leaves, valleys of flaming maple trees, perfect sunshine, and just the right temperature for a drive.
Camilla Valley is a beautiful place, and all the colour practically punches you in the face when you walk into the shop. Shelf after shelf of cones of thread in such vibrant hues, every colour imaginable. It was like Aladdin's cave. Jewel-bright golds and blues and greens and reds. Bins and bins of handspun wool. Looms and drop spindles and warping boards and mills and packets of knitting needles and hand-held carders and rows of instruction books... well, it was a lovely place to visit, and the wooden counter with its antique till made me feel as if I'd stepped back in time. As if I were being initiated into something special and ancient and important. The shop is situated in a snug gray building on the beautiful farm, the most perfect spot, and I couldn't help thinking this woman has established for herself a beautiful way to earn a living. I wanted to plunk myself down and stay forever.
A hundred and twenty-something dollars later (who needs groceries, anyway?), I walked out with a bagload of thread and Texsolv heddles, armed and ready for the next stage of the adventure. All the way home, hubby and I talked about the ancient art of weaving and how the technology seems so overly complicated and fussy and daunting, and hubby came up with innovative ideas for simplifying it. Though I suppose there's something to be said for keeping the art alive in its original form (Texsolv regardless).
My generous new weaving friend Carole is going to help me wind the warp, which takes a couple of hours and sounds as involved as flying a 747. But it isn't something that can be learned from a book or Youtube video; it really is best to get the knowledge from another person, passed down hands-on.
At some point I am going to write a poem about the interweaving of threads, the interweaving of the lives of these generous women who have taken me under their wing to help me learn this craft, the intertwining of experience and kindness, and how it all magically works together to create something beautiful. I can feel the poem growing within me, a thread here and there, waiting to emerge fully formed. During the tangle of the process it's sometimes hard to see the big picture, but someday when I'm above the difficult part and looking down at the topside of the cloth, I'll see how the pattern all works out.