Community Weaving at Sedalia

 

Community Weaving

I got myself into some deep kimchi recently with a community weaving project.

I was preparing to attend an event called Christmas in Sedalia, an artisan market put on by The Sedalia Center.  I was bemoaning the lovely loom they had – not only was it taking up a lot of room, it was sad to see it unused. They totally agreed.

The Sedalia Center is a nonprofit “cultural and educational institution whose mission is to promote, preserve, and enhance the arts and cultural heritage for everyone in our region.” Which means that they provide classrooms for teachers to share their knowledge, and produce events that are a great deal of fun.

This is where it gets a little hazy. I mean, I was there, so I should know what happened. I am just not sure HOW it happened.  Somehow my innocent little comment about the loom turned, 30 minutes later, into me creating a Community Weaving Project.

This was my idea: I would dress the loom with a simple tabby shawl in a pretty blue. During the Christmas in Sedalia event anyone who came by and expressed an interest would be shown how and helped to do some weaving on the shawl themselves.  Then by the end of the day we would have a completed shawl!  We could sell raffle tickets and give the shawl away and, hopefully earn a little money for the Center.

I need help

Great idea, right? Well, yes, in THEORY it’s a great idea, except I wasn’t completely familiar with that type of loom, I am crap at choosing colors, I have never woven a project that big – frankly my confidence started to plummet at the mere thought!

I am not averse to offering my help or working on volunteer projects – I was in the Peace Corps and ran a non-profit for heaven’s sake! But this type of project was a little above my pay-grade!

So, I did what any sensible middle aged woman does when approaching something scary and outside of her depth. I completely ignored it. Oh, I worried about it. And fretted. But I didn’t DO anything. This is very unlike me.

I get help

The whole thing came to a head when I was sitting in my Weaving Guild meeting. I vaguely heard our esteemed president say “Does anyone else have anything else they need to talk about?” and before I knew it I was on my feet, as if I had been planning it for weeks.

I explained my dilemma and asked, rather plaintively I expect,  if there was anyone who would help me with this, since I felt so out of my depth. Immediately two hands went up and I have to say I was immensely relieved, and when I saw who it was I almost cheered!

Friends are good.

MeridithCommunity Weaving weaves for a living, and her stuff is amazing!  Carol is a good friend as well as my first weaving mentor! They were the perfect duo to pull me out of the pit I had dug.

They were really super, and gave so willingly and graciously of their time that the project went without a hitch!  We took a trip out to the center (at least an hour from each of our homes!) and cleaned up the loom and made sure it was ready for prime time.

Community WeavingThen we chose the colors to use – I let them get on with this on their own, as the only color sense I have is “what colors do I like?” – which has nothing to do with whether they look good on me or anyone else, or even go together.

When the yarn arrived Carol created the warping lengths and we all met at Meridith’s house to thread the reed. Then on another day we met at the center and dressed the loom.

Success

The day of the event I was busy,  I had a booth and so I was trying to sell stuff as well as watch the loom, but the guild really had my back and there were, in addition to Meridith and Carol who gave their whole day to the event, three other guild members there to support the community weaving.

Community WeavingWe didn’t have much success with most of the adults at the event. They took one look at the loom and threw their hands up, and backed away. They all seemed completely convinced that they would “ruin” the project.

The children were not so squeamish. They got right in there and seemed to have a ball!  A fellow guild member, Christopher, was so gentle and supportive of them, and so busy weaving when there were no children around, that we did indeed finish the shawl by the end of the day.

The shawl was auctioned off, and won by a lovely local woman and we cut it off the loom!  I took it home and hemstitched the end, then spend a few hours at Meridith’s studio twisting the fringe.  Then into the washing machine. It really is a thing of beauty!

WOW.

I really can’t tell you how thrilled I am with how this turned out!  It was more work that I had expected as well as more fun, more educational, and more satisfying than I had imagined it would be!

I will never forget the relief, and the JOY I felt when they both offered to help!  The unwavering support of the guild throughout the whole event was a lovely bonus and much appreciated.

It is to be devoutly hoped that a lesson has been learned as well. No more volunteering to do what I am not sure I know how to do. And more volunteering to help with weaving projects, there is so much to learn!

Community WeavingWhat about you?

Have you ever had your neck saved in a fiber project? Have you ever been involved in a community weaving project, or some other community fiber adventure?  I would love to hear about it!