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Beating the ‘Tude

As a weaving teacher, I’m constantly reminded what an inexact term “beating” is. In weaving, we throw the term “beat” around a lot when what we really need to do is finesse. There are notable exceptions and we have explored some of those this year—weft-faced colorwork anyone?—but most yarn doesn’t really like being pushed about. It wants what it wants. I can relate.

I try to make it a general practice to be thankful for what I have and to be cautious of my wants. Easy for me to say, give me a loom and a pile of yarn and I’m pretty content. Although in writing this, I’ll admit to a certain disingenuousness about this statement. There is so much that leads up to my ability to sit down and weave—there are the very tangible, a roof over my head, food in my belly, loom, yarn, etc., and the intangible, such as time and state of mind.

my messWe speak of weaving in terms of its calming and meditative qualities, but weaving is not just peacefully sitting down at the loom and throwing the shuttle. There is a lot of mess and all those other bits—project planning, yarn selection, warping, finishing, enjoying, using, learning, gifting, sharing.

Time in 2020 is either given to us in abundance or is almost non-existent. If we do have an abundance of time, we may not have all the resources—mental or physical—at our disposal to weave all the weaves we would like to weave.

This year has brought me long bouts of weaver’s block—when I sit down at the loom and nothing happens. The muse is just not there. It is a year when we feel loss poignantly, but not proportionally. This year has taken so much from so many.

This time of year tends to focus our minds on both our satifactions and longings. I count myself humbled to be a weaving teacher during this moment. I fully want all your time at the loom to be what you want it to be and I see you when things just don’t go according to plan.

There are some other things I’m grateful for:

  • I’m supremely grateful for the ongoing robust conversations and actions around diversity and inclusion in the fiber arts and beyond. As someone who has spent much of my life trying to make weavers, the increased visibility of makers and mentors from all walks of life is doing just that.
  • I’m grateful for indigenous communities that have always been the keeper of weaving traditions. While fads come and go, these communities make weaving a part of their permanent ecosystem.
  • I’m grateful for the internet that allows me a great deal of independence and connection, and to continue to do what I do and to see more of what others do. I do not live in an area with very robust connection, so it makes me feel even more keenly how grateful I am to have any connection and the ability to pay for it.
  • I’m grateful for essential workers, who deserve our full admiration every day and certainly don’t deserve to have our personal frustrations taken out on them.
  • I am grateful that political engagement is up. Overall, caring about your local city council meeting and holding politicians accountable is a good thing, doom scrolling is not.
  • I’m grateful for protected wild outdoor spaces.
  • I’m grateful for health care that provides my mother’s cancer treatments and delivered my nephew safely to this world.
  • I’m grateful for people who wear masks and take common sense COVID-19 precautions.
  • I’m grateful for students and teachers, who are sometimes one and the same.
  • I’m grateful for colleagues, collaborators, and contractors who make being a company of one far more sustainable and enjoyable.
  • I’m grateful for a most astonishing and supportive Patreon community that has kept me employed during uncertain times.

2020 has been hard. It has wrought countless changes to our lives. Time will tell what history will make of this moment. Transcending the ‘tude—attitude, solitude, rectitude, certitude, aptitude—is not easy stuff. When the bouncing brain syndrome hits, the first step for me is to take a breath and practice some gratitude. The next step reveals itself.

Weave on through to the other side,


15 thoughts on “Beating the ‘Tude”

  1. Thanks, Liz. We all need to sit back and take stock now and then. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in a way that makes me think about the features of my life I am grateful for.

  2. Liz,
    You have captured the true sentiment that so many of us are experiencing this year. I am truly thankful for having found weaving during this pandemic. I am a very social individual who has felt somewhat isolated during the past 9 months. I miss in-person gatherings, being able to visit my kids and grandkids (I have 6 grandsons under the age of 11), gentle hugs, and meeting new “friends”. However, your site and others like it have helped me to enjoy my new hobby and introduce me to new “virtual friends”. Thank you for helping me to fill up my time with worthwhile projects and keeping my mind engaged.
    Best wishes for a peaceful and healthy Thanksgiving and better days ahead.

  3. Liz, your “tude” brought tiers to my eyes. Thank you so much for expressing what I and I’m sue so many others feel. I am grateful for all of that and you! I’m also so grateful for your patrons that help bring you to the rest of use. I never write to anyone or leave a comment, but I have learned so much from you. You are a wonderful teacher and a very thoughtful person. You are truly appreciated!

    Thank you,
    Carol K

  4. Beautifully written, Liz. Heartfelt, warm, caring, understanding, encouraging. Just as the tears were welling up I came to your closing, “Weave on through to the other side,” and chuckled heartily.

    Thank you, dear one.

  5. Beautifully written. From the heart and so true to the times. Love your work….hang in and weave through and you will get to the other side. When times are rough it’s the basics that stand with us and rise in importance.

  6. Liz, Thank you for thinking so deeply and putting your thoughts to print. No wonder I love you so much as a teacher….. not just weaving teacher. My heart recognizes you.

  7. Thanks, Liz. I am grateful for finding the Yarnworker School and community. I appreciate the encouragement and creativity of this diverse group. We are fortunate to live in a time where technology provides a way of keeping us together even though we are far apart. I think a need to create is within all of us and it is a blessing to find a group of kindred spirits. Happy Thanksgiving to all of us!

  8. At the risk of repeating all the responses above, thank you, Liz. Your message was meaningful, beautifully expressed most definitely well-timed! I am grateful to have found you, and this community, even if it is a distant connection through cyberspace, and most do not know me. Your videos, and written communications, and availability to us all, has given me a sense of connectedness to you, and the weaving community, during the past year. Much gratitude for that!

    Also, like you, my gratitude extends to the indigenous weavers around the world who have kept their weaving traditions alive through time and space. In some extended manner, I feel connected to all of them, too, in my newly found experiences of weaving. I feel them all looking over my shoulder and smiling as I make newbie mistakes, or when I create what I consider to be my little masterpieces. An added bonus to being connected to your community!
    Thanks again!

  9. Your ‘tude quote has been posted on my refrigerator and sent to my morning WUA (woke up alive)’ quote texting group.. Perfectly stated, Mindfully created. Thank you!

  10. You said what has been in my heart Liz. Thank you for all you do. It is nice to know you are human with all the same doubts we all feel this year.

  11. Your beautiful self shines out from within you whether you are teaching, laughing at life or even yourself, etc.
    I feel so fortunate to have made your acquaintance through the marvelous skill of weaving. I will never be a
    great weaver or even mediocre, but the ability to try gives me much pleasure.
    Thank you and enjoy the Blessed Christmas season.

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Liz Gipson Widgets
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