Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Bedtime Story or Why You Should Dream Big

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a young girl wrote a letter to Santa. In addition to asking for a doll and the usual toys girls of her age in the mid 1960s asked for, she also asked for something different. In the Sears Roebuck Catalog, she had seen a small weaving loom, made of wood and, according to the copy, capable of producing real cloth. Being an rather unusual, artistic sort of child, the idea of being able to weave cloth appealed to her.

But that Christmas morning, though the little girl did receive some lovely things for which she was very grateful, the little girl also had cause to be annoyed. Because evidently a major mix-up had occurred at the North Pole. Instead of a small wooden weaving loom that looked and worked just like real weaving looms, there was this little metal square thing and a bunch of knitted loops with which to make potholders. It was a real bummer. The little girl was sure Santa meant well, but she didn't want to weave potholders. She wanted to weave a scarf. That she could wear. And while she made several potholders, it just wasn't the same.

The little girl eventually ditched the potholder maker and went back to drawing and painting with watercolors for her artistic outlet as she grew. During high school, she renewed her interest in cloth by teaching herself how to sew. But always in the back of her mind was a fascination with the way cloth was made. While attending art classes at the University of Texas, the girl would sometimes linger near the huge room-sized floor loom stationed out in the hallway on the second floor of the building hoping to see it in action. But there was no time to actually learn to weave as she was already planning to work in graphic design some day.

The girl graduated from college, married and moved to a big city in Texas. She started working as an art director in ad agencies, had three children, for whom she sewed baby quilts, Halloween costumes, Christmas dresses, and graduation dresses. She forgot about wanting to weave cloth. Then one day, after she had started working for a school designing their print materials, she went to a big second hand sale. At at this sale was a small 4-harness table loom in need of a little loving care, for $50 dollars. Since it was near her birthday, the woman bought the loom as a present for herself. When her co-workers asked her why she would buy such a thing, she replied, "Because I have always wanted to weave cloth and now I finally can." She brought the loom home, fixed the few small things that needed fixing and bought a book on how to weave. Her first project was pretty awful, but she eventually got better and made some nice scarves and a few shawls with her loom. But it wasn't enough. The little loom could only weave fabric that was 18 inches wide and the woman wanted to do bigger projects. She wanted her shawls to be bigger. She wanted more.

Unfortunately, looms as big as the woman dreamed about are very, very expensive and the woman did have three children in private school and college. She was also fairly certain that it would do no good to write Santa about a bigger loom as previous experience had taught her that Santa really didn't understand the first thing about weaving equipment. So she dreamed of bigger looms. She also got on the internet and started looking for a second hand floor loom she might be able to afford. Once or twice she even saw where someone was giving a floor loom away, but whenever that happened, she was always too late when she called. Until one morning when she went online to find a brand new ad from someone who needed to find a good home for their floor loom and was giving it away for free. Kind of like a kitten from a litter of ten.

The woman immediately called and emailed asking if the loom was still available. Much to her delight, it was. But the loom needed some repair in order to work. Sure she could handle it, the woman committed to taking the loom.

Once home, it took a long time and a lot of work to make the loom functional again. At times, the woman didn't think it would ever happen. But finally, all the work was done and the loom was put back together. The woman immediately went to work putting a warp on the loom. Ever the over ambitious one, she decided that she would immediately start on weaving a blanket for the expected any day first grandchild rather than the practice project she had thought about doing first. After much hard work, winding the warp, placing it on the loom and threading it through the harnesses and the reed, she was finally able to weave. And it was just as wonderful as she had hoped it would be, watching the cloth take shape under her hands.

Now the woman just has one thing left to do. Write a thank you letter to Santa for not bringing her that little loom she thought she wanted so long ago. Because if he had, the little girl that she was would probably have gotten frustrated and lost interest in weaving instead of discovering the joy of it as an adult.

Dreams really do come true.