08 November 2010

Ah, Weaving

Ok....I know you are all thinking...how can it happen?  How can another obsession develop so quickly on the heels of my spinning obsession?  But, it has.  Actually the weaving bug has been smoldering beneath the surface for a very long time.  Last weekend, it was unleashed.  I took a class with Meredith at The Knaughty Knitter and the rest is history.  I'm currently working on the cricket loom Sue gave me, but already looking around for bigger and more.  I have completed the burgundy object (scarf, but wants to be a table runner) and am about half way through the gold scarf.  Time flies when you're having fun.  Both are made with Cascade 220 for the warp and Schaefer Elaine for the weft.  Great choice to learn with.  Imagine how much fun it will be to weave with yarn I have spun. 

Great story on the Elaine.  Their colorways are named after memorable woman.  This hank is named Elena Piscopia.  Elena Piscopia (1646-1684) was born into a Roman family whose ancestors included cardinals and popes.  she was recognized as a prodigy by the age of seven and spoke seven languages, played several instruments and composed music by the time she was seventeen.  Her father refused to allow her to enter the Benedictine Order, for which she had secretly prepared, and instead she because the first woman to study theology at the University of Padua and the first woman to earn a doctoral degree.  She taught mathematics at the university for the rest of her life, yet it would be over 300 years before another woman earned a doctorate there. Her achievement is honored by a marble statue in Padua and a stained glass window at Vassar College in New York.

Greek Tale:
In Greek mythology (Roman as well), Arachne was as skillful a weaver as the finest artist of the day and much praise was given to her...which as we can guess went to her head and eventually Arachne became so conceited that she began claiming that her skill was greater than that of Athena (Minerva), the goddess of wisdom and war as well as the weaving arts (mistake #1). Athena was angered, but gave Arachne a chance to redeem herself.  Assuming the form of an old woman, she warned Arachne not to offend the gods. Arachne scoffed (mistake #2) and wished for a weaving contest (mistake #3), so she could prove her skill. Athena dropped her disguise and the contest began. Athena wove the scene of her victory over Poseidon that had inspired the people of Athens to name their city for her.

Arachne's tapestry featured twenty-one episodes of the infidelity of the gods, disguised as animals(mistake #4...can you see where this is going).  Even Athena admitted that Arachne's work was immaculate. Her envy at such human competition drove her into uncontrolled fury and violence (big surprize here...a Greek god angered).  Losing her temper, she destroyed Arachne's tapestry and loom, Arachne on the head as well, slashing her face. Arachne, refusing to bow to Athena (mistake #5), hanged herself (like that was going to help).  Athena took pity or spite (most likely) on Arachne. Sprinkling her with the juices of aconite, Athena loosened the rope, which became a spider web, causing Arachne to lose her hair, her ears and nose, metamorphosing into a spider.

The moral of the story...do NOT piss off the gods.

Navajo Tale:
A Navajo legend credits a deity named Spider Woman with teaching them weaving. The first loom was said to be of sky and earth cords with tools of sunlight, lightning, white shell, and crystal. In reality, Pueblo Indians taught the Navajos how to weave.

Interesting.....although so far apart...the same character for the stories.  Meredith also shared with me that the Navajo weave a mistake into their pieces so as not to piss of the gods.  Makes sense to me...I'm always up for keeping away the bad juju.


Nanette R. said...

The pieces you've woven are gorgeous! Glad you've found another fun sub-hobby! :-)

Katherine Hall said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this "blob"...the history, visual imagery, beautiful weaving creations you've made...gorgeous. So exciting to see you're fulfilling another very cool hobby and gifting!

Love you, miss you muchly,