I like to think that my ancestors play a part in my newly discovered creative outlet. My last name, after all, is German for weaver. Though I've had this name my entire life, I only began to weave this past year, when, like so many, I found myself with an abundant amount of free time at home. I first began by researching and building my own frame loom, then collecting the necessary supplies: warp thread, yarn, wool needles, a comb to pat down the wefts, a shuttle, and of course, scissors. After teaching myself the basics and proudly completing my first project, I quickly became enthralled. I began weaving every day, trying to perfect my technique. The craft also became a way for me to mediate, helping me clear my mind and confront the ongoing stresses I faced during the last year. Weaving allowed me to be fully present and focus entirely on the activity.
One of the main elements of weaving is measuring and cutting the length of yarn needed for each part of the design, which requires scissors. In the beginning, I borrowed a pair that was lying around the house. After the first cut, I quickly realized that they were dull and too bulky for my hand. Each time I had to cut a new piece of yarn was a battle; I was frustrated that the scissors refused to do its job, gnawing at the yarn instead of simply making a clean, precise break. This led me to an extensive internet search for the perfect pair. The new ones had to be small enough for my hands, with long, thin blades, and be a fun color, of course. I found the perfect pair and anxiously waited for my order to arrive. In the meantime, I kept weaving, even though I would become more and more frustrated each time I had to cut a piece of yarn.
Once my new pair arrived, I had all the necessary supplies, which allowed me to weave more. I learned new techniques, honing my skill, and found joy in gifting the finished pieces to family and friends. After a relatively short period of time, I noticed that my new scissors had become dull. I was confused, annoyed, and certain that they should have stayed sharper for longer. I was only cutting yarn! The dull blades began to slow down my creative process. Just when I was the most concentrated, I would be pulled from my focus after having to hack at a piece of yarn. I didn’t have the correct tools yet and would have to continue my search.
Around this time, I went to visit my parents at my childhood home. One of the activities while I was there included cleaning out the basement. Searching through endless boxes of old stuff, I found a treasure of yarn that had once been my grandma’s. I was elated by the plethora of colors and couldn’t wait to use the supplies for new projects. But I still needed one crucial tool - a sharp scissors. While weaving a project, it is necessary to cut hundreds of pieces of yarn. At the end of the project, the back of the weave needs to be cleaned by carefully snipping the ends of the weft that poke out. Finally, to finish the piece, you have to release the warp threads from the loom, either in one fell swoop of the scissors, or by gently cutting each thread individually. Each of these steps requires a scissors.
During the second day rummaging through the basement, I came across a small pair of scissors among more of my grandma’s sewing things. The blades were a shiny silver about three and half inches long and the handles were covered in a light tortoise shell plastic. They were beautiful, vintage, and reminded me of my grandma, who also loved to make art and do craft projects. I tried them on a piece of yarn and they passed the test – making the smoothest snip; the cleanest cut. They were an old pair (who knows how long they’d been in the basement) but they were still sharp.
My grandma’s scissors completed the set of tools I needed to continue to do what I love – weave. Just like the last name I received from my ancestors, this was another gift from a loved one. Weaving is an ancient art, and I feel connected to my past and close to family who is no longer here when I use scissors that also have a history.