Let It Out of Your Hands for Two Seconds. . .

July 10, 2008

My chiropractor, a very nice man who is interested in everything, told me he would like to see a piece of my weaving.  A couple of weeks ago I took the blue and white runner along to an appointment.  He oohed and ahed.  The idea of making cloth astounded him; I had to explain how I used a big wooden machine with pedals.  He’d been thinking weaving had something to do with knitting.  He even ran out the front door with it to show my runner to another patient who was trying to leave with her young daughter.  (He thought she wove too, but it turned out she and her daughter crocheted.)

All this was pretty awkward.  I mean, I would never have dragged my runner around to the chiropractor’s office if he hadn’t asked!  It was also funny and flattering.  When he gave the runner back to me I noticed a big loop in the weft. “Oh, I should fix my mistakes before I show things off,” I said.

And then we talked about how yes, it was possible to fix your mistakes, and I put my my project back in the paper bag and took it home.

It mystified me that I could have missed such a big mistake.  I’d gone over the runner carefully not only before but after finishing.  At home I set it aside for mending without really looking at it.

Today, some relatives were here and wanted to see what I wove.  While I was showing them the runner, I noticed that the “mistake” was accompanied by a big dent in the selvedge.

That weft loop wasn’t an error!  It was a giant chiropractor-snag!

How did he manage to snag my runner in half a minute?  He didn’t even unfold it!

No harm done.  I worked the snag back into the cloth (though he did manage to snag a separate strand out of the yarn, as well as pulling the yarn out of the cloth!), and it’s just for my own table.  I would be more worried about something I was giving as a gift.

I guess some people are just death to cloth.  Whereas I am naturally . . . what?  Careful with nice stuff?  I don’t feel all that careful.  Reverent?  I hope not!  I think it must be something about how I was brought up–but more a feeling than a directive.  I probably got it from my Granny.  In words it would be something like:  There is a finite and ever-dwindling supply of ‘good stuff’ (attractive and old, unique, handmade, or well-made) in the world.  It is your job not to spoil it or detract from it, so that when it moves on to the next person, it won’t be in any worse shape.

This isn’t possible for everyone.  I know a people who just don’t have the ‘stuff sense’ in their hands.  They helplessly break things, run them through the hot cycle, sit on them, trip over them, and ram the vacuum cleaner into them–without a speck less appreciation.

Strange, isn’t it?

Has this happened to anyone else?


5 Responses to “Let It Out of Your Hands for Two Seconds. . .”

  1. Stef Says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I have a respect for the handmade, the vintage, and the precious and I’ve definitely encountered people who don’t share this feeling. It can be a bit unnerving at times…

  2. Jane Says:

    Four words: The A M A Z I N G Pig Child. (said in the voice of a circus sideshow barker)

    My son, was one of those people who could become a mess somewhere along the very short geographic and temporal trip between the bathtub and the car while preparing for a trip to somewhere “nice.” Anything in his wake also became dinged, dented, dirtspeckled, and even sometimes — destroyed.

    To his credit, however, the *one* item that made it all the way through his childhood unscathed was/is a sweater that I had knit for him when he went to first grade. It is in a beautiful dark plum wool, with pewter Norwegian buttons, and with a Beatrix Potter illustration of Peter Rabbit on the back that I had hand graphed in order to work into the sweater. He loved it so much that there is not so much as one snag (this is still a mystery to me given his overall track record).

    This is the same guy, at age 17, who set an oil can –(OIL CAN!!!) on the old Persian tapestry runner that graced the entry way table. Yes, it still bears a permanent ring (who’dda thought that oil mixed with rust would not be a good idea when mixed with precious textiles . . .)

    He lived. – only because I had high hopes that one day he would produce a fiber loving child whom I could kidnap and make over in my own image.

    A former significant of mine, was notorious for tossing anything and everything into one washer load — needless to say, he was never the recipient of any handmades — e v e r.

    My Beloved, however, is very attune to the subtle vibrations of our domestic universe and has an uncanny ability to save his own life at the last possible moment — sometimes with hand arrested in midair, wheels within head obviously turning at warp factor 5, then with a graceful arc the offensive object (usually wet and or gooey) being set down upon a coaster or counter.

    The razor’s edge. . .

    Tally ho! and weave dangerously,

  3. I would suggest you analyze very carefully the reasons for the snag. It is clear that a thread can be very easily caught. But why? The usual explanation is a loose sett. But sometimes it is the yarn itself that is the problem. In other words, don’t be too sure this is the result of cloth meeting cloth-dangerous person! It is critical you avoid this sort of thing with cloth that is going to get hard wear. I assume, however, that your runner will get minimum wear.

  4. Trapunto Says:

    Unnerving is the word, Stef.

    Jane, that is so funny–in a laugh-while-you-wince way. I see you totally get what it like to treasure a person who doesn’t know how to treasure treasures. Anticipation and evasive action are the only way to go. My granny’s sanded birch drawing board (which could not possibly be mistaken for scrap lumber) still has deep burn marks from the 4th of July half-a-century ago when it became a fireworks launching pad. Yup. She’s still annoyed.

    Interesting you should mention sett, Peg, because I did think about it. I actually *wanted* my chiro to be blameless (after all, I trust him with my spine), so that when I found the snag I kept trying to look for excuses in the cloth. The sett’s quite firm, though. The skips are longer than I would use for a garment, but perfectly respectable for a runner. Also, the context of “examining someone’s handmade object in their presence” has (I guess I was thinking) less destructive potential than a normal pawing. What may have happened is that he snagged it on the door or the porch rail as he was running outside, and didn’t think it was worth mentioning because, “hey, cloth is cloth, you can’t hurt it.” And he didn’t. Not permanently.

  5. Suzan Says:

    And don’t you weep a silent tear when you find that someone has given the Goodwill a precious handwoven article? I always think beforehand whether someone might appreciate a hand made gift – or whether it will end up in the cast offs.

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