• Cathlena Burr

The 34 Year Project

In this unprecedented time of isolation, I set a challenge to myself, and anyone else who wanted to join me: to find an old UFO (un-finished object) and complete it. It keeps our minds and hands busy and can bring back memories of what was happening when we started it. Maybe we even remember why we didn't finish it at the time. Maybe we recall people who were there or involved in it, and reach out to them. It's like opening the garden gate; we harvest one thing and plant another.


The first thing I pulled out was a project from the spring of 1986.


My brother's wedding was coming up and I had a limited amount of yarn, so I could afford to weave a gift. I also wanted to learn double weave as I would be teaching it soon. It is a recommended that you know something about a subject you'll be teaching! I looked through Handwoven Magazine and found the most beautiful double weave project I could find that I could do on four shafts.


I was working at Village Wools, all alone in those days, and pregnant with my first child. When it got warm and was very quiet, I would fall victim to sleep at the check out desk and wake with a violent start thinking for sure someone must have come in. I survived many near heart attacks. There was never anyone there.



I warped up a combination of gray 20/2 and cream and blue 10/2 (that's all I had) and dressed a 4 shaft floor loom (all I had access to). Big mistake! Take a look at all the tie-up changes that were needed!!!



I did manage to get my brother's wedding gift finished but simply could not look at the second one I had done to keep for myself. Every time I looked at it I got nauseous. For years!!! I would bring it out to show in my classes, but then quickly put it away again. It became my "Morning Sickness Cloth". Someone suggested passing it around to friends sharing the same malady and having them sign a square! Great idea, but it would just increase the nausea.


Fortunately, time really does heal all things and my beautiful baby boy is all grown and currently serving our country in the military in East Africa. Now when I look at it I think of him and all the years in-between that saw him grow up into a fine man. The morning sickness is gone and replaced by a smile and a warm feeling in my heart.


Today it looks great on my dining room table and it feels great to have finished it. It is a beautiful pattern and if you're interested in trying it yourself, it is in Handwoven Magazine, Summer 1985. But please, only do it on a table loom! That way you won't have to nap under the loom!




PS. I don't call it my morning sickness cloth anymore. :)



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