Act as If…

I learned this sort of open ended phrase years ago, and found it sort of fit my life, no matter what was happening. You can fill in the blanks, ellipses are great for that, and this has been my motto for the last 6 weeks.

First, to update everyone on my shoulder progress, it has been nearly six weeks since I fractured it in a bad fall at the end of my street. I saw the doctor on Tuesday, he re-x-rayed my shoulder and watched as I demonstrated my abilities showing him my progress with the exercises he gave me. He was completely impressed. I didn’t tell him that I had carried on as if, sling and all, and ran dyepots and wove on a loom, and typed and cleaned house, because I needed/wanted to do all those things, and I figured out a way. (Ok, I really didn’t want to clean my house but I sorely needed to…)

So the sling is off, and though I have no muscle tone, my radius of movement improves daily. Which allows me to get into more trouble. This is the sort of thing that you can’t really hurt yourself, my body will tell me when I’ve crossed a line. The fracture has healed, and I just have to keep doing my exercises, trying hard to get back my range of motion.

I love January. It is actually my favorite month. Nothing happens outside, it is cold and everything is dead. Nothing happens on the calendar, I rarely had any teaching except occasionally in Florida or Southern California, which I never complained about because it was warm. Since I’m not traveling anymore to teach, there is nothing for the month of January. So I always have high hopes of accomplishing just creative stuff for me, dyepots, warping looms, sewing whatever. Things that make me happy. When I fractured my shoulder, I thought my January would be lost.

Can’t keep a handweaver down. It made me so happy to find a way to do just about everything I wanted to accomplish this month, sometimes it would be in slow motion, and sometimes my body would say, “That’s enough”. But I kept going, and kept busy.

The last of the four part series of piecing techniques on my YouTube Channel The Weaver Sews, dropped last night, and so I have a bunch of sewing to do to finish off all the started projects I demoed for the series.

The dress just needs handwork and of course all the little red tailor’s tacks removed. I have to be in an all day virtual event Saturday, with my guild members, so I plan to do most of that. I’m really happy with how it came out. And it has pockets.

The tote bag was a bit more challenging with one arm, since the Peltex base is so inflexible. I broke it into small bits at a time, to not stress out my shoulder too much and now all it needs is the lining, zipper, and handles.

Meanwhile, I finished up all the dyeing, sampling the Procion Dyes I got from Dharma back in December. I had no place to put the newly dyed yarns, and started creating a pile on the floor between a couple of the looms. I decided that I love this combination and this will be the next run of scarves I put on my Macomber loom.

Except I had to clear the loom first. I’ve been moaning over this warp that would never end. Back in October, I took a virtual class with Jennifer Moore on Rainbow Double Weave. The class was fantastic. I used what was on my shelf, which was 8/2 Tencel, and put on the recommended four yards of warp. The sett was 48epi, because you are weaving two layers simultaneously. Bringing up and dropping layers in various patterns and treadlings was the whole point of the class. Once I fell, getting down under the loom to change the skeleton tie-ups became nearly impossible on this particular loom with one arm, but the warp was narrow enough I could pass both shuttles (one for each layer) back and forth with one hand. So whatever the tie up was at that point, that’s what I used. The last week my endurance (initially about 6″ a day) increased to 12″ at a sitting, and then the last couple days, 18″, and my left arm just did what it could to help guide the shuttle in from the left side. My right arm did all the beater work.

So that is now off the loom and I’m thinking there has to be some kind of garment I can make with this sampler. I have ideas exploding in my head and I just have to clear all these other projects so I can sit and concentrate.

Meanwhile, I’m finishing up an article for Handwoven Magazine, for the September/October issue. I needed to test a theory, sort of a substitute for my original garment since that yarn has been discontinued, and I had no idea if I could actually wind a warp and thread a loom.

Last night I took a half pound cone I had of Harrisville Shetland, and pulled out my warping mill, and though it was challenging to spin it with my left arm I managed to do it in one sitting. The project was only 10″ wide, about 150 ends x 5 yards. Quick to wind usually, just took me a bit longer. I got it through the reed before heading to bed last night.

This morning I figured out how to thread (I work front to back) and had that warp through the heddles in an hour. Beaming took a half hour. I was weaving before lunch.

I’m using a vintage self striping sock yarn from my stash, to see how it performs with the Harrisville Shetland and the effect is pretty cool. The structure is a simple point twill, warp and weft.

I love when I can quickly satisfy my curiosity, and I’m so freaking proud of myself for figuring out how to do all the tasks I love to do with one functioning arm and one that is at about 35%. Each day my arm gets stronger and the shoulder rotation range larger. I’ve got about 2 1/2 weeks to get my arm over my head with assistance from the right arm, before I see the doctor again, but the muscle tone will eventually return. It is such a relief to not have to wear that sling anymore.

And so dear readers, we have shot a couple more videos that still need to be edited and launched, but I’m winding down the content for the YouTube channel. I have 75 videos on the subject of sewing with handwovens, and though I’ll occasionally think of something to add, my daughter needs to finish up her schooling and go back into the workforce. It has been a gift and a pleasure to have had these last couple years with her here to help me accomplish my dream of transferring my knowledge to a digital database. I’ve got looms and yarn, and fabric, and ideas calling to me, and I’m hoping by next week I’ll have 1 1/2 arms! Act as if…

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Amy Bush
Amy Bush
January 28, 2022 6:54 pm

True inspiration!

January 29, 2022 3:18 am

Hello! So glad to read your shoulder is improving. I love your dress and the four part video is terrific! Your youtube videos are just very very good. Enjoy your January and well..Thank you for sharing!

Michelle Latham
January 29, 2022 5:00 am

I’m so happy you are healing and are getting your range of motion back. I love the dress and bag, and I love the picture on the wall in the full dress photo. I have the same beautiful frame that has a picture of my mother-in-law as a two year old. I have not commented before, I do enjoy your posts so much. Thank you.

Marcia Zorn
Marcia Zorn
January 29, 2022 6:21 am

You are so amazing, always. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your posts. The Harrisville Shetland warp project is gorgeous. So glad your recovery is going well. Best wishes for continuing speedy progress in regaining full use of your arm. Take care!

Nann Miller
Nann Miller
January 29, 2022 9:05 am

Take care in this storm! Just west of Philadelphia we don’t have a lot of snow, but strong winds and low windchills. We don’t want you to slip and fall again!!!

Katrina Bosch
Katrina Bosch
January 29, 2022 9:32 am

I absolutely love your channel and I am sad that you are winding down. Do you have any paid content about weaving fabric to sew with? I know you touch on some things on your channel but hearing you say that you disagree with a few of the things Jane Stafford does because you weave for yardage REALLY makes me want to know what those differences are ?. You have opened my mind to the possibilities of weaving yardage and though I have not yet sewn any garments with my weaving, I feel like I can with confidence now! I… Read more »

Denise Dickson
Denise Dickson
January 29, 2022 11:04 am

I love the idea of “act as if. . .” I am like that too. Your experiment with the self-striping yarn is gorgeous! My first thought was that it looks like knitted color work! I don’t know what your plans for that fabric is but it would look great as a v-neck buttoned vest!

Rose Sires
Rose Sires
January 29, 2022 2:02 pm

I am so impressed and proud of you!

Sherron Pampalone
Sherron Pampalone
January 29, 2022 6:57 pm

How inspirational you are! I totally feel your pain with the shoulder. In April I had to have rotator cuff surgery…..Yuck! You will be better, and you are so amazing , doing all that stuff!

January 30, 2022 2:10 am

Great about your arm! Tenacity is a good thing when you put your mind to achieving despite handicaps. Your philosophy is very much like my own. I love reading your blog. It’s inspiring and uplifting. I love you YouTube videos too. I want to have a go at piecing a tote bag using some old samples I wove. Keep up the exercises and soon the muscle tone will come back too.

Mary K Scott
January 30, 2022 3:46 am

Hi, Daryl! I had a good laugh as I read this issue of your blog! With all life has dealt you in just the last 20 years, I’m not a bit surprised at how you’ve handled the shoulder! It’s a survivalist’s attitude. You make the best of what you are given, good or not so good. Linda Ellerby (not sure of the spelling), wrote a little book of mantras that famous people had used. “You rest, you rust!”, is the one I adopted when I was quite young. I had watched so many of my family members reach their 50’s,… Read more »

January 30, 2022 5:19 pm

‘Mary Scott said it perfectly, love your “Act as if…” and Mary’s “rest and you rust!”. You will never rust! It inspires me daily to read about people over-coming challenges through daily life functional exercise and day-to-day challenges and goals. Don’t rest and rust, act as if it just never happened. Carry on!

Peggy Bowman
Peggy Bowman
January 30, 2022 7:25 pm

You go, Girl!! I’m always uplifted and inspired and awed when I read your blog!!

Jamie J LaMoreaux
Jamie J LaMoreaux
February 2, 2022 8:52 am

your sample would make an incredible corset top. 🙂

Read previous post:
The One Armed Bandit

It has been three weeks dear readers since I took my unfortunate fall that left me with a fractured shoulder...