Getting “Sore” about Weaving!

Notes from Alexis: Getting Sore about Weaving. Here is a funny story: Mom took “Sunbathing” in High School, which is how she and exercise got along.


Dearest Lex,

I hope this finds you in great shape and if not I don’t want to hear about it, because I’ve got a real problem and I want you to pay close attention and don’t laugh. I realize on a scale of the world’s woes mine would rank so low as to be almost unnoticeable–but
a gnat in your ear feels huge.

So here it is–I am sales blind. I told you about not selling F.S. placemats when she wanted them. Well I did it again. A lady came out to buy handspun and fell in love with a wool hat and it never occurred to me to sell her a Knittin Kit! She also said she loved my blouses (she had seen them at the Outback) and I murmured. “Yes, they are nice.”
In all the time I have been in business I didn’t dream I was totally lacking in sales sense. I just thought I would learn. Well, forget it! I am missing the sales organ. It would take a transplant.

I have been under the impression that all I had to learn was how to weave and spin but we have seen that we have to sell, and how do I do that? I was moaning to you about the wall-hangings not selling but now I can see that even in my mail order ads I was not selling right.

I have finally figured out why I can’t draw perspective right. I am far-sighted. Things far-away look large to me and things up close seem too small. So my roads are small where I stand and get bigger as they move away. There is nothing wrong with my drawing- -I draw as I see. So there is nothing wrong with my talents, it’s just that I don’t have the talent to sell. So where do I go from here?

I’ll tell you how serious this is, I dreamed Dad and I were out on a cruise ship and I had finished my meal and was looking over the desserts. I told the waitress I couldn’t make up my mind and for her to just bring me anything so long as it was chocolate. Ha!

Now about the incredible Linsey-Woolsey cloth: ‘Incredible’ because it is incredible that I could be so stupid and also stubborn. The warp is totally inappropriate, but do you think I will just cut it off and burn it…no way. Perish the thought! At this point it is running about $1500 a yard (in my own mind). Can you believe it? Well, I have a couple of yards left. You would think such a nightmare as this thing would have caused me to get discouraged. I am just impatient to get to something good.

Well, as you can see I stopped. Got your letter and was so delighted but I think you have a mean streak- – talking about your good weather, which doesn’t mean we don’t have good weather…an hour yesterday, an hour today.

Finished the Linsey-Woolsey or as much as my nerves would take. It turned out quite nice and someday I may be able to look at it and smile. The thing is I am so sore; muscles are not used to weaving. All this moving around is hard on the old bod.

I just took squirrel’s breakfast out to him. He goes to the place I leave nuts and if there aren’t any he stands up and peers into the house trying to ‘will’ me to bring food, so of course I do.

For some reason I let myself become discombobulated the past few days because I read of two ladies who can do prodigious amounts of work in a short time and sell for nothing. You read of one, R.B. can spin 2 1/2 lbs. an hour and sells it for $10 a pound. Another lady can weave 25 yards a week and sells for $11 a yard. Of course I know nothing of these ladies’ work except that they have been selling their things for a long time.

Of course it doesn’t do any good to talk to Dad. I say I need encouraging and he says, “I thought you were encouraged.” Once encouraged, always encouraged, right? But you have heard this same old story– potters who can throw monstrous numbers of cups and sell them for dollar a piece. I’m sure this must be why weavers go into art weaving. Somehow it doesn’t seem they are working as long for the price. I think what I need is someone who knows weaving and fabric, so I can tell someone to tell me, to keep my chin up.

Dad fingered a piece I made on the tail end of the Linsey-Woolsey and said he didn’t like it. I had thought it was gorgeous. There is absolutely no way I would ever say such a thing about someone’s work. It certainly does make for short conversations. Well I’m pissed that’s for sure but I just shrug, ‘What the H—’ and carry on. Wow, this has really been a bitchy letter. I get bitchy when I get sore. I don’t like sore, and I have deep suspicions about people who like to exercise because I know they are always sore, and that includes black and blue soccer players.

Now a funny thing happened. I ate breakfast and scrubbed my hide and an idea hit me. If I were working for someone else and didn’t have to concern myself about prices or selling or what the public wants, then could I come up with a fair price for labor and materials -for the two items I just finished, which would be ‘ Two minutes’ worth of time. Also, would I continue to make material under those conditions—absolutely —love it! Right question, easy answers.

So what I will just have to do is make my material and trust that somehow it will all just work out. This makes a lot of sense too because I can’t sell unless I have something to sell. If I worry about the selling part I get all bound up (would that be weaver’s block?)

It is amazing how cheerful I feel after going through all that. This ‘Option’ process is just magic. I have decided to go ahead and send this letter so you can see how I muddle through. I am sure that it must appear to you that it is so simple for me to get the right answers, and that is true, but I tend to do a lot of twirling in one place but I tenaciously hang in there like a bull dog until I get answers.

Will stop and take to P.O. Gosh, I hope you will be able to work out a way to visit for a day or so when you down. I do understand that you have to work so won’t throw a fit but if you can it would be super.

It is amazing how cheerful I feel after going through all that.