At the Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association conference last summer, Sharon Alderman told me how she occasionally likes to step into the role of student to become a better teacher. It’s important, she said, to remind yourself how difficult and awkward it can feel to walk into a class where you know nothing and try to learn something new, because then you’ll have a better understanding of how your own students are feeling.
I put her words to the test this week while warping a dozen or so fingertip towels for sale in the new shop. I warp front to back or back to front depending on the project and the loom I’m using. Recently I acquired one of Peggy Osterkamp’s warping books and noticed in the first few pages that she recommends a lot of things I have never done. When I watched Peggy’s warping video at my October guild meeting, I decided to try some of her techniques with my next warp.
I haven’t felt so awkward warping since my days as a beginning weaver, not because the techniques didn’t work. It was simply new for me. I finally got the hang of the “claw technique” by the time I finished sleying the reed, even though I discovered some missed dents. And the “crank and yank” method of winding the warp on the beam was kind of fun. Well maybe it was just more fun to say “crank and yank” for 8 yards of fuzzy cottolin. It’s clear I haven’t perfected the technique as the two picks separating the towels are “smiling” in the picture.
But the warp is on, weaving fine and the towels are nearly finished. I may not incorporate all of Peggy’s techniques in future warping, but I will definitely include several. I also will try to remember the frustration I felt the next time one of my students is struggling with a warp.