Pandemic Brain

Let me just start by saying I am not sick. I do not have COVID-19 or any other disease. I feel fine, other my usual age-related aches and pains.


I clearly have what I’m calling pandemic brain. IMHO it’s related to pregnancy brain for women going through that. One’s normal mental processes are not functioning properly. Thinking isn’t always rational. Counting skills go out the window.

I would never want to imply that I don’t make mistakes. I sure do. But it’s highly unusual that I’ll make mistakes 4 out of 5 projects in a row. And that is what has happened.

beaming gems multi-warp

It started in mid-March. I planned a beautiful skein-painted project, intending to make one shawl and weave yardage to make something else – a vest, perhaps. The weaving went fine, but I hadn’t done my calculations correctly, not wound enough warp ends, so the fabric isn’t as wide as I’d intended. Fine for the shawl, but for the yardage? I’ll have to find a different pattern than the one I had planned on. I’m confident I can do that at some point, but not yet inspired to do so.

Next up was my Safe At Home towels. I do love them, and the mistake wasn’t a big one – winding 62 turquoise ends instead of 72 as I was winding the warp. So I had to hang 10 ends over the warp beam and hope I could maintain tension. It all worked out fine but caused me a small amount of anxiety as I wove.

handwoven colorful towels

After that was my Comfort At Home towels. They went off without a hitch.

7 handwoven Comfort At Home towels

Then my Spring At Home towels. As noted, I didn’t pay attention to my math and initially wound skeins only half the size I needed for my wefts. Again, a problem fixed easily enough by winding and dyeing more skeins, but a silly, if simple, mistake.

hand dyed warp and weft for Spring At Home towels

Now I’m working on another batch of Safe At Home towels. I looked through my stash and found colors that I thought worked well together.

warps for Safe At Home2 towels

The turquoise is obviously a commercially dyed yarn. The magenta and green are skeins I dyed back in 2016 for a project but didn’t use. I dyed the yellow and orange skeins specifically for this project. The dark blue-violet is some hand dyed yarn I’ve had for years, dyed by someone else, that I thought was just what this warp needed. In fact, I have 2 of the towels on this warp already spoken for, just from those warp colors and the Safe At Home weaving plan.

I got the threads measured out and beamed.

beaming Safe At Home2 towel warp

All heddles and reed threaded, time to tie on to the front apron. I had some difficulty in the beginning, and ended up doing my lashing on twice to get my tension right. Ok, that’s a pain in the butt, but whatever.

Then I started weaving. I was having difficulty maintaining tension and couldn’t figure out why, but said to myself, you just need to keep going. It will get better. But it wasn’t getting better; it was getting worse. All of sudden the lightbulb went off. I got up, looked at my yarn labels, and closed my eyes and moaned. That lovely dark blue-violet wasn’t an 8/2 yarn – 3,360 yards per pound. It was twice as thick – only 1,680 yards per pound. I thought it felt a bit different when I was measuring it, but as this yarn is also more loosely spun, I attributed it to that and kept going. BIG MISTAKE!

There’s only one way to fix this. Start by removing the weft.

weft cut so it can be removed

Here I’ve got half of that done.

removing the weft

Next insert lease sticks to retain the cross.

lease sticks re-inserted

Go back through the stash and see if I have something else that will look good for warp. Nope. Tomorrow I will wind another skein and dye it, hoping for something similar to that blue-violet.

Then I will go back to the loom. I will carefully unwind all of the warp, pulling it back through the reed and heddles so that it’s all at the front of the loom. (If needed, I will unthread the reed and the heddles, but I’m hoping I don’t have to.) I will attempt to save the 84 ends of the blue-violet yarn, as it is a lovely color and is almost 9 yards long, but if I have to toss it, I do.

Once the newly-dyed skein is dry, I’ll measure that out, put it on the lease sticks, and beam it along with the other 5 colors. Sigh.

I just HOPE that I DO NOT keep making mistakes. This is a royal pain. And not like me.

6 comments to Pandemic Brain

  • marlene toerien

    HI Peg I know how you feel ever since 2015 I have retirement brain, my husband retired and he is actually very supportive of my weaving, but he will interrupt what I am doing to ask me come and hold something or help with something, or lets go to the shops, and I will forget where I was at that particular moment and will find mistakes I never made in the past when I was home alone.

    • Peg Cherre

      Interruptions at crucial times are the worst, Marlene! I don’t have that particular problem. Just monkey mind telling me to do something other than the task at hand.

  • Oh Peg, I’m sure you’re distressed over this but it will pass. I’ve noticed that I have a harder time concentrating on certain things. I have cones sitting waiting to wind a warp and I just can’t seem to get there so I’m doing small sewing projects instead.

    • Peg Cherre

      It will, indeed, pass, Cindie. And I know how to fix it. In fact, I’ve already dyed the yarn and it’s drying now. Not exactly the same color (more purple, not enough blue), but it will be just fine. I’ve never had to totally unwind a warp before, but I’m trusting it will be fine as long as I take my time. And your sewing projects are lovely.

  • Debbie Fister

    I am having similar problems. My scarf is an example: cut a warp thread while cutting out weft for the umpteenth time and every time I had to let the dog out I would lose my place. So instead of just following Fiberworks mindlessly, I drafted the treadling, threading and draw down on graph paper. Took the better part of a day. I can find my place easier, but I still don’t know if I am supposed to be going up or down to compare my cloth to the draw down. Anyway, it certainly helps.

    • Peg Cherre

      We all find methods that work for us, Debbie. For treadling patterns, no way I can follow the Fiberworks print out. I’d get lost every time. I draft little notes that I clip to my castle. For example, my note might say 1->6-> 2, 3->7->4, 5->8->5. It’s definitely easier to see what I mean if I could attach an image to this reply, but I can’t see a way to do that. Email me if you want to see one of my little notes.

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