When my sons were growing up, I used to ride with my youngest and his buddies to school every morning and then carry on around the lake with the dog. It was a wonderful way to start the day, gave the dog a good workout and since I worked from home, I considered the morning bike ride my commute to work. The ride to bring them back home again was also a good way to force myself to leave my desk and call it a day as far as work goes. (Anyone who works from home knows the all-too-present danger of morphing from ‘working at home’ to ‘living at work’.)
On the morning ride, I would often stop at the bench on the west side of Elk lake and let the dog play in the water for a bit. I’d sit on that bench and watch my eldest son rowing and think about how great it would be to have that view from my kitchen window. Years later, my husband and his buddy came across a real estate listing for a small hobby farm and we went to have a look. I fell in love at first sight.
The farm overlooked the lake, directly above where that bench was located. the view out the kitchen window was literally, the view I had wished for.
I got my first spinning wheel unexpectedly when my neighbour, Vera showed up one day to tell me about a garage sale going on at the farm down the road. She described with excitement the spinning wheel that she’d noticed as she drove by and all but ordered me to get in her car and come check it out. At the time, I was just a farmer/knitter raising a flock of sheep.
I’d taken a one day “Intro to Spinning” course years before when we’d lived in Red Deer. My thought was that as a knitter, it would be valuable to know how yarn was made. After learning how seemingly impossible spinning was, (think rubbing your tummy and patting your head kind of coordination, which I sadly lacked), I resolved to pay good money to buy my yarn and remain ‘just a knitter’. My mistake was telling my frugal Croation neighbours about taking this course years earlier. I naively thought Vera wanted me to go check out the wheel to see if it was in working order for her. Before I knew it, she’d talked the seller into a price of $35 and told me to ‘pay the lady’. (Vera is a lovely woman, but she has an aura of authority about her that you just don’t question.) I spent that winter teaching myself to prepare and spin wool sheared from our own sheep.
I got my first loom when my good friend Carolynn contacted me about an abandoned piece of equipment left by one of her commercial tenants. Could I come down and check it out? I verified that yes indeed, it was a perfectly good 4 shaft 60″ Nilus LeClerc loom in working order. I was able to do this only because my sister and I had just finished an “Intro to Weaving” class taught by the one and only Brenda Nicolson. My sister was interested and asked me to join her – I thought, what the heck? If I am now a spinner, it would be good to have some knowledge of weaving terms and know what it is weavers might be looking for. I liked weaving, found it interesting but was not willing to sacrifice any of my limited knitting/spinning time for weaving just yet. Carolynn called me 3 days after Brenda’s class ended. She insisted that I take the loom home. (Another lovely & generous woman who you don’t say no to.)
When my husband and I first walked through the farmhouse we ended up buying and living in for 7 amazing years, the previous owner had removed much of the furniture already. We walked into a large, mostly empty room with hardwood floors, gorgeous cedar walls, open beams and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the pasture and view of the lake beyond. My mind instantly pictured a large loom sitting in front of that window. This was 6 years before I took the weaving class and in fact, had up to then, never even once considered taking up weaving.
It is exactly where my first loom ended up sitting.
I have aquired several more wheels and looms since then. The stories in how they seem to have found their way to me are no less serendipituous than any other so far. Life is so very unpredictable and fragile and it saddens me to think of all the terrible things happening around the world right now. However, I am hopeful. I know that there is so much more going on than just what we see or think we know. Keep your heart open and yes, be careful what you wish for.
Nilus Leclerc 60″
Elk Lake rainbow