Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Story of Arachne

Once there was a maiden by the name of Arachne who was extremely skilled in the art of weaving. Her weaving was so beautiful in both the finished product and the actions themselves that the nymphs would often watch her. Some said she was blessed by Athena herself, but she denied this saying she had taught herself everything she knew. She even went so far as to dare the goddess to test her skill against her own.

Athena was displeased and went to Arachne in the guise of an old woman. She warned the girl of the dangers of challenging a goddess and advised her to ask forgiveness. Arachne stood firm in her challenge and Athena dropped her disguise. Arachne was surprised, but also resolved.

So the contest began. Both worked quickly and skillfully, shuttles flying back and forth, colors contrasting and complementing. Athena chose for a subject her victory in a contest with Poseidon for the city of Athens. Twelve heavenly powers were represented - Zeus in all his majesty, Poseidon with his trident, Athena herself with helmed head.

Arachne likewise filled her loom with pictures of the gods, only of their failings. One scene showed Leda caressing the swan, another of Danae and a shower of gold, and other such scenes. All were beautifully woven, yet told strongly of Arachne's disapproval of the gods.

Athena could not help but admire the beauty of the work, but incensed with the subject matter, she struck it and Arachne's loom with her shuttle destroying both. She then touched Archne's forehead and made Arachne feel guilt and shame. So great was Arachne's shame that she left and hanged herself.

Athena only meant to make the woman feel shame and pitied her. The goddess sprinkled the juice of the aconite over Arachne and the woman's body shrank her head grew smaller, her fingers became legs, and her body became her shuttle.

Questions answered
Blogger doesn't always come through with an email address for everyone, so if I don't ever acknowledge your comments, that may be why. I try to say "Thank you" to everyone at least occasionally (I'm not the world's best though) if I have your email. Sometimes, I get questions that I'd like to answer, but can't over email, so here's one.

Knitogether asked:
Do you plan to block this piece? If so, will that even out the selvedges? (Ignorance showing here.)
Thanks for the comment and to answer your question, I have no idea. Sorry, I'm just not knowledgeable enough about weaving myself yet. I'm under the impression that since it's cotton and since the towels I'm making are in cotton, I would just throw them in the wash and dry them. I guess selvedges aren't really a dire concern on towels, though I would like them to be pretty. I don't think blocking would help too much just by the nature of the "draw-in". It's cotton, so not too much give in the first place. I highly recommend the book Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler if you can't take a class. (The one place near me that has weaving supplies isn't doing classes yet as they just opened and I'm a bit impatient.) Her instructions on warping a loom are excellent.

Also, to everyone, anybody have an alternative blog reader besides Bloglines? Bloglines is misbehaving today yet again.

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Blogger Octopus Knits said...

I use Vienna: (for Macs)

2:17 PM  
Blogger Sarah-potterknitter said...

I switched to google reader, it's really easy since google is my homepage anyway. One click to my blogs, and it will import from Bloglines!

2:53 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Google Reader rocks!! I gave up on bloglines MONTHS ago. It's really easy to export your blogs from bloglines (way down at the bottom of the left pane, under all your blogs) and then import them into Reader.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Angel said...

I have been away from the crafting world for a bit, having been sucked up by the academic world, so I just wanted to say that your first wovens are really really pretty!!!! I admire your step out into weaving- I think you will have a great time making stuff!

10:30 PM  

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