Life is often like a bowl full of cherries, wonderful, delightful, and desirable. There are those pits that we encounter along the way, but that’s just part of eating cherries and you deal with it, but don’t focus on them. As a matter fact, focusing on them would rob us of the joy of finding some surprises along the way, like one of those cherries that is especially sweet, especially tasty. Having weaving become a part of our life is like one of those tasty cherries, and it actually compensates for some of the pits.
One of the Pits
In our case, one pit happened to be the fact that my eldest son, Stretch, is mentally disabled. As a mom, there was my emotional reaction to this that I had to deal with, but I also had to face the challenge of how to continue raising and caring for this very special person. How I would provide him with profitable, positive focus in his life was one of my greatest concerns. I found that I didn’t need to do much about it at all, because God already had the answer for us.
Would You Like Some Cherries?
It all began so innocently in 2001 with an American Girl Doll story book, Meet Josefina, by Valerie Tripp.
We are a homeschooling family and my little girls were reading these books as part of their social studies work. One of the girls said to me, one day, that she wanted to weave something like Josefina did in the book.
My immediate thought on the matter was, “No way!” I had been avoiding the textile skills of spinning and weaving, for years. I already had a great interest in them, but I knew that I didn’t need to add any more hobbies or crafts to the crocheting, sewing, and quilting that I already enjoyed.
Since my daughter made this request, however, the natural teacher in me took over. I decided that I would put together a unit study on fibers and textiles and we would learn all we could about weaving in a few weeks. The request made by my daughter included a project she wanted to make for her sister’s birthday, so making a crude loom became part of the plan. All of this was supposed to get the weaving bug out. of. our. system.
Or so I thought.
These Cherries Aren’t So Bad
In traveling to and from church every week we passed a fiber arts store that I knew we could visit for a field trip. I decided I’d ask there if I could purchase a rigid heddle for the loom we wanted to build. We could also learn a bit about the different fibers from which textiles are made, as well as the differences between yarns for knitting and crocheting verses threads for weaving. As another part of our study, we made use of our public library and checked out books on the subject of textiles and the fibers they are made of. All in all, this proved to be a very easy unit study to plan and execute.
We did come home from our trip to the weaving store with a heddle that became a part of our very first loom. Timothy helped me make a very simple box to use as a riggid heddle loom and the weaving project was begun. I had purchased some cotton carpet warp at the fiber store, and we used Sugar & Cream cotton crochet yarn as the weft. The end result was to be a purse that was just the right size for a pre-teen to carry and enjoy.
Finding that Sweet, Tasty Cherry called Weaving
This is where the story takes an unexpected turn in the path. As my daughter would work on her weaving project, I began to notice that Timothy would stand and watch her very closely. It took me a little while to catch on, but eventually I asked him if he was interested in what his sister was doing. He shrugged his shoulders, which coming from him was saying, yes he was interested. I then asked him if he would like to do some weaving, himself. Again, he shrugged his shoulders and said something like, “Well, yah.” (He still does the same kind of thing today when he’s serious about something.)
I was floored, but I was also excited. Here was something that was appealing to Timothy, and fit within my skill set. Here was something that I could easily and willingly learn, and teach him. It would be a life skill that he could benefit from for many years to come and it has proven to be a God-given talent. He loves to look through weaving magazines to choose projects, and several years ago one of those projects was a table runner that he gave to his aunt. She called me when she received it and started crying when I assured her that Timothy really had woven it himself.
Over the years creating rag rugs has been a focus because we have lots of scrap fabric and clothing. Using all of those scraps to make something useful and pretty is something Timothy enjoys, and is also close to my heart, but I’ll share more about that another time.
Have you ever discovered one of those tasty cherries in your life when you least expected it? Tell me about it in the comments below.