Perhaps six weeks ago, a friend asked me if I’m the best weaver on Whidbey Island. The question brought me up short. I no longer am susceptible to comparing my skills or finished work to those of other weavers. Oh, I used to — a lot — and always found myself the lesser in whatever category was under consideration. I don’t do that any more, so was unable for a stretch of several minutes to respond to her question. In the end, I replied that I’m not the BEST weaver on the Island (others are better trained and broader of experience than I), but I may be the most productive. (My work discipline has me in the studio six days a week, pretty much the entire year, and even if I do some goofing off — and I do — that has to translate into considerable output.)
That conversation brought to mind something I’d read many years ago. A hotshot (in my estimation) weaver, whose name I’ve long since forgotten, wrote somewhere that she considered she’d had a good, productive year if she had woven off 100 yards of cloth. That struck me then, and has for years, as a goal so distant and so huge that I’d never be able to achieve it. But from time to time, that big number swims back into my mind, and reminds me once again of what a Real Weaver can do.
For several weeks, that conversation rumbled around in my mind repeatedly, so I decided to see just what I HAD accomplished. For at least twenty years, I’ve kept thorough notes — organized and consistent — on every warp I’ve put on a loom and woven off. Every single one. So I went to my dear old notebook and added up the yardage of all the warps I’d finished so far this year; at that time it was 84 yards, and immediately I knew that by the end of the year, I would have attained what I’ve always considered an impossible (for me) goal — 100 yards woven in one year. Yesterday, when I finished the second scarf in the Merlot series of four, the final total for the year hit 103 yards. I know it’s true, and I don’t quite believe it.
There are only a few hours left in 2011, a year which has been unusually difficult and challenging for many folks, including me. Still, I sit here at the end of it, looking back and looking ahead, reviewing and planning, and I notice mainly how good it’s been, how pleased and satisfied I feel, how glad I am to be alive and aware and connected to good people and good work.