Sunday, February 24, 2013

Math Anxiety and Weaving


Spinning a pretty braid


Blatent math-anxiety  expressed  by weaver's on a Ravelry thread got me to thinking about the core need for basic arithmetic in crafts.  This is especially true in weaving where doing the math is important for innovation, it is either do some math or forever be tied to published patterns.

Math is truly intrinsic to weaving and I was saddened to see women blithely say they weren't good at math and even seem proud of it.  To me, it's like being illiterate.  How do we do anything in our lives without the foundational computations we learned in grade school?  I can get through a day without trigonometry, but the basics: multiplication, division, fractions and percentage?  Nope, I use those skill every day.



And especially when I weave.  I need to, after all, compute ends per inch based on my pattern choice and the wraps per inch of my yarn.  I like handspun, so this is especially necessary.  After that there is yardage of thread, and then there is how many repeats of a pattern will fit in just so much space.  To make things interesting, and to make them our own, we must use math.

Weaving and math are so interrelated to me, that I've come upon my own theory that the evolution of arithmetic among early humans is related to our need for them in early crafts like weaving.  I'm guessing that research would show (if it hasn't already)  that basic arithmetic is hardwired in us in the same way as language acquisition, so we would naturally develop the ability to count groups of threads and multiply them by the amount of times we want to repeat a pattern.  This is not a stretch when you consider that computer science gained much from the punch card technology that was the basis of the Jacquard Loom.  Weaving complex patterns led eventually to the laptop I am using right now. 

Snugging the warp on Hermione.
One of the things that attracted me to weaving was its complexity, and that includes all the math involved in design.  I saw a craft that would keep my mind engaged well into retirement. It is a lovely and beautiful thing to plan out one's next project, math and all, figuring out what it is necessary. It is very satisfying to see all the figuring work out into a lovely finished project.  

Right now, I'm almost ready to start weaving on that new-to-me loom, Hermione.  You can see above where I am snugging the warp so I can get started with weaving.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Crosstraining with fiber

I purchased some little weights for toning exercises.


Threading a loom can lead to aches and pains. On my new-to-me loom, a 27-inch-weaving-width Fanny, I feel it right between the shoulder blades.  I've also discovered that as the pain starts, so do the mistakes. Now, after one inch width of threading, I pop across my workshop and card a batt of the merino alpaca blend I've been spinning.  Carding I get to do standing up so it's a nice change, and the ache in my shoulder blades doesn't have a chance to form.  I will need to sit at this loom, so I suppose I'll be carding batts every so often as I weave.  This will definitely keep me productive and keep me from sitting for too long. Once I'm done with this blog, I'll go up stair and weave on my big loom, which I do standing up.

Colors to go with the warp I'm threading now.

Color is my weaving theme this year.  These colors will be used with the black and white warp I've been threading. I am hoping for some interesting, bright towels. I have many plans for weaving this year, I just have to get that warp on. Well, that's all to show for now--yes, things are moving slowly here at the Craftstead!

But before I go up to weave, I'm going to check this out--Lane Bryant is having a sale and they have nice clothes.  Even though I'm a big woman,  I still like to look nice!
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