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Monthly Archives: October 2013

The 99 Percent

Sometimes craft work is just plain dull. At least that’s the way I’m feeling today. I’m working on three projects right now: one weaving, one spinning and one knitting.

For knitting, I’m making a sweater. Progress is good. The body is done and I’m well into the sleeves. Problem is, by the time I get to the sleeves, the pattern is old hat, and it’s just a matter of churning out stitch after stitch after stitch. And I can’t find the buttons I bought. Mutter grumble.

For weaving, I’m setting up a warp in preparation for a pick up double weave. Part of the pain is that this is my second attempt. My first attempt involved linen and the classic set-up for pick up double weave. Problem is, the classic set-up for pick up double weave doesn’t work on a countermarche loom. (Take my word for it. Looms are hard to explain.) One color of the linen kept breaking as well. One can do pick up on a countermarche, but it involves rougher handling than linen will take. So it was back to the drawing board. I’m now using mercerized cotton, which I’ve woven with before, and which will be lovely and handle the stress. The warp had to be rewound and the loom rebeamed. Now I’m threading heddles. Since it’s double weave, with two separate sides of fabric, there are twice as many threads as usual. So it’s one thread at a time. One thread at a time. One thread at a time.

Then there’s the spinning. Part of the homework for my spinning program is to spin 10 yard samples at a specific amount of twist per inch.  Fine yarns need more twist; bulky yarns less. I think I’ve got it right, but then I check, and it’s off. I spin another sample, think it’s right, but it’s off. Slowly I’m chipping away at the samples needed, but the operative word is “slow.”

Edison was right. It’s 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.

World Communion Sunday

Last summer, my husband and a friend rode RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. A daughter and I came along as the support team. She drove. I spun. (California Red, to be exact, a lovely sheep.) Towards the end of the trip, we met Don Ganyea and Scott Horsley, two NPR reporters. They’d travelled all over Iowa reporting the presidential race. Now they wanted to see the real thing. They weren’t officially riding for NPR. However, their team name was “No Pie Refused.” As we chatted, someone asked them what could be done to break the congressional logjam. “Make them ride RAGBRAI!” Horsley immediately responded.

There is something about getting people out of their heads and into something different that allows friendships to be formed and logjams to be cleared. Several years ago, I was at a General Assembly, the Presbyterian Church’s bi-annual get-together and legislation fest. I was staffing the booth for the Association of Stated Clerks. Across the aisle from me were the booths for Presbyterians for Renewal, a conservative organization, and The Presbyterian Layman,  and even more conservative organization. Normally, putting me with staunch conservatives is an oil and water sort of situation – if you’re lucky. This time we went beyond lucky. The woman at the Layman booth was making cord on a lucette. The women at the Presbyterians for Renewal booth were knitting. I was spinning on a drop spindle. We got along famously.

Which brings me to World Communion Sunday. If world communion is ever to be a reality, we need to put down our theologies, and pick up our yarn, or our bikes, or our musical instruments, anything that gets us away from the arguments long enough to appreciate each other as people. Then when we go back to our theologies, we’ll debate as friends, not strangers. It won’t solve our problems. It will make us human enough to solve our problems together.

In honor of World Communion, watch this video:  That’s world communion for you.