Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Having a Grandma Moment

I have started weaving a rag rug. A really, really long one. In my grandmother's house in Maine there was a rag rug stair runner going from the kitchen up to the long chamber. This was the indoor realm of young grandchildren during summer visits before we graduated to the barn bedrooms as teenagers. I always loved that stair runner. I don't remember there being any other woven rag rugs in the house, but there were many beautiful hooked rugs and a few braided rugs, all of which she made, of course, from repurposed materials. As I have said to anyone who wants to talk to me about my creative inspiration, my maternal grandmother, Marion Brown Curtis, Is It. She was a necessary DIYer of a different generation and she had a great aesthetic. When I was very young she still had two floor looms set up in the long chamber, one quite large. She wove that stair runner on one. She also wove fine wool yarn into subtly patterned cloth which she then made into smart suits that she wore to town and church.

The prominent staircase in my home is in great need of an upgrade in covering. I have a lot of clothing and other cast off textiles I have accumulated over the years that I know I will not use for sewing projects. So I recently started taking a weaving class at Altus in Chelsea, VT. I've never woven on a floor loom before. After the warp was on and I had a few hours of weaving under my belt (and as much time prepping my materials - I hadn't thought about how long this aspect of the project would take) I realized it is going to take me a long time to finish this project. And that's okay. I imagine it probably took Grandma many weeks, if not months, maybe even a year, to finish her rug. She had a lot of other things going on in her life, too. I expect it to take me much of a year to finish my rug, if not longer. I like that I'm going to have a similar experience I imagine Grandma did. When I can I will make the time to prepare my materials: further deconstructing shirts I've taken the collars and cuffs of off, stripping old skirts and curtains, sewing these together into long lengths when I know I'll soon have time to weave. I'm feeling very happy and fortunate on many levels to have this going on in my life.