“Cut the dog off the loom”

Early this year we re-did my sewingroom/office (hereafter referred to as “The Study”). I don’t have any “real” before pictures. I have picture from when we moved into the house and the room was empty and pristine(and carpeted). Right before the re-do my sewing room was NOT pristine. My sewing room has bulged at the seams for a long time. My husband will cheerfully tell you that I’ve never met a craft I haven’t liked.. and that I’ve acquired the means necessary to do all of those crafts. It’s not completely un-true. A lot of things blow my hair back.. and once I’ve acquired the tools and materials to do a craft (or to do a project) I’m loathe to get rid of it.

Anyway, in order to update the room we had to move everything out of the study into a spare room. After the work was done I started moving things back into the study. Slowly and with much deliberation. I have a bunch of bins.. I’d pop them open and realize that the bin was stuffed to the gills with either half-finished projects (UFOs) or the materials for some as-of-yet-unstarted project. In all I counted 8 “Project-in-process” bins. That is too many and I’ve decided I need to cut that down a LOT. In fact I think the magic number is one.

So now I’m doing that “joy” thing. You know that silly Japanese book where you hold something in your hands and thank it for what it’s been but then if the thing doesn’t bring you joy you let it go. It’s something like that. Instead of just mentally saying “Yeah, I planned to do {this project} someday” and stuffing the UFO into a bin now I’m considering the project in total. In the face of what I’ve learned and what I want to do in the future.. and the fact that frankly my project list is NEVER empty, do I realistically think I will ever do {this project}?

If the answer is yes then either I need to complete it NOW or I need to allocate precious “project box” space to house this thing.
If the answer is NO then I am getting rid of it.

Tonight I pulled out a roll of brown cotton. I bought it 16 years ago with the intention of making a new, non-white duvet to go on my bed. I have carried this around with me for YEARS. I have moved it at least 5 times, possibly more than that. I have known that I want to make a duvet for YEARS. Everytime I’ve come across this particular roll of fabric I shifted it from there to here and ruefully noted I didn’t currently have time to work on it and stored it away for that mythical future time when I would have time to do it.

Today I measured my current duvet and then unrolled the brown cotton, figured out if I actually had enough fabric to make the duvet (which I do). Then carefully considered the project. It wasn’t going to be hard. It’s a giant pillowcase. Then I logged onto Amazon and bought a new cotton duvet. It turns out that after years of kicking this project around.. it wasn’t really that interesting.. and frankly I didn’t want to do it.

So instead I ironed the fabric and rolled it up on my muslin bolt and I’ll use it for making patterns. I still have it.. but it’s no longer a UFO. Honestly it feels like I finished a project. Like a weight is lifted.

Anyway this whole exercise reminded me of the phrase “cut the dog off the loom.” In weaving you will occasionally start a project and find that you hate it. Maybe it’s the wrong pattern for the fiber you choose, maybe the colors are just wrong.. maybe it’s too easy and you’re just bored with it. Regardless at some point you find that you just don’t want to work on whatever it is that is on your loom. Sadly, because of the nature of weaving you don’t often have a bunch of other looms, or rather you don’t have a bunch of “your favorite” loom. So the project sits on the loom and takes up space.. it stops you from working on a new project and you don’t want to work on it. That is referred to as a “dog”.

To “cut the dog off the loom” is the act of admitting to yourself that no matter how much time, energy, or money you’ve put into the project, if you don’t love it.. you should get rid of it.

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