I sat down yesterday and started weaving like a woman possessed! I don’t know what came over me, but at the end I had woven something like 1.5 yards. So my tally now stands at 5.75 yards for the current piece (plus another 2.5 yards for the previous piece). Total, 8.25 yards.
I also spent a fair amount of time working on my technique, trying to get the motion of the shuttle and the hand motions as smooth as possible. After about three hours of practicing, I finally managed to get everything flowing smoothly. And what a difference! It was like dancing with my loom. When it happened, I was almost afraid to stop and advance the shed, for fear of interrupting the rhythm. Smooth and efficient, no movements wasted – lovely!
But the “zone” for me is still elusive – appearing in short bursts, then vanishing. Clearly it takes practice. But I am persevering, in hopes that by the time I finish the 40+ hours remaining to finish this warp, I will have gotten closer to entering the “zone”.
Curiously, this reminds me of my experience with meditation. Like meditation, it proceeds in stages – at first, I was simply banging the beater any which way, trying to remember what it was like to weave. This was like the first few minutes of meditation, where the mind is simply clearing away garbage of unfinished thoughts. Then, as I got used to the motions, I started focusing my attention – gently, so as not to disturb the flow – on smoothing out the movements. This was like the point in meditation where the mind is calm, and able to focus fully on things like the breath as it flows in and out. If I stopped to analyze it intellectually, the flow stopped and I started making mistakes. It was a series of gentle, wordless observations, and changes by “feel” rather than by thinking. This was like meditation where (while still observing) one gently takes control of the breath, observing it and nudging it, without tightening up the mind.
And, finally, I reached the point where it all flowed, like the mind as it reaches the centered focus of the bright pearl that lies at the fourth stage of meditation. Precise yet flowing, focused on the smooth motions, not thinking particularly about anything beyond the catch and release of the shuttle and beater – lovely!
I never got beyond the fourth stage of this particular meditation (there are seventeen stages, and I’m trying to remember the name of the practice, and failing), but I’m looking forward to reaching the point where weaving becomes a flowing meditation nearly all the time, and not just after three hours of attentive practice.
That was FUN!