"He got off the bench and went in to see Mother.
Her hands were flying and her right foot was tapping the treadle of the loom. Back and forth the shuttle flew from her right hand to her left and back again, between the even threads of warp, and swiftly the threads of warp criss-crossed each other, catching fast the thread that the shuttle left behind it.
Thud! said the treadle. Clackety-clack! said the shuttle. Thump! said the hand-bar, and back flew the shuttle.
Mother's workroom was large and bright, and warm from the heating-stove's chimney. Mother's little rocking-chair was by one window, and beside it a basket of carpet-rags, torn for sewing. In a corner stood the idle spinning wheel. All along one wall were shelves full of hanks of red and brown and blue and yellow yarn, which Mother had dyed last summer...
...So everything was snug and comfortable in the house, and Almanzo went downstairs and took two more doughnuts from the doughnut jar, and then he played outdoors again with his sled."
- from Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Out of all the Little House books, that description has stayed with me since childhood because it was so full of warmth and security and plenitude (and a doughnut jar!). Now that I've gone searching for it again to share with you, I realise that there's something else beside the mystery and competency of Almanzo's Mother weaving that resonates with me: he calls it her workroom. And that is the proper and good name for it, a respectful term that hopefully will slip into my language as well. I have a little studio in the basement for which I am grateful, but someday, someday, I will have a space full of warmth and sunshine to work in.
A good friend of mine has just carved out a space of her own at her house. It's because she's fallen in love (please go read it - it's lovely and she's a great story-teller). Isn't it thrilling, and a bit contagious, when someone you hold dear falls head over heels like that?
Safiya's caught the bug as well. It started small, with a little cardboard loom that a friend showed her how to make (the resulting pink headbands and bracelets were to die for), and then one day we came back from out of town to find a loom magically on our doorstep.
It wasn't an orphan looking for a home (although it was welcomed to our family with the same kind of open arms), but a gift from a fairy-godmother-neighbour that is crafty and talented herself (more on her later) and knew of Safiya's burgeoning weaving desires.
And so it goes. The love spreads and awakens things that you thought you had forgotten. There are plans and hope and excitement and a little bit of frustration and trepidation, because that is all part of it when you are in love.