There is nothing more wonderful than being able to weave in an environment where there are like-minded people who share your passion and are open to exchange ideas and help. It takes me back to the thousands of hours I spent sewing with my Mom and sisters. We shared successes, learned from our failures, and created many things in the process. Some things came out exactly as envisioned. Others were improvisations. Each was uniquely our own. Copying something wasn’t the point. There was always some adjustment to the pattern – a way of folding or seaming or finishing that showed our personal hand. That is what made it special, made it ours.
And so I like to approach weaving the same way. There are so many techniques and patterns that it can be overwhelming when sitting down to choose one to be your “best friend” for the duration of your project. Frankly, I do get disappointed when the pattern doesn’t look “quite right”. Or when I lose a thread because of tension. But that is when my brain starts thinking and working around the dreaded (and often undefined) Plan B. That’s when I start to recognize the style that makes that piece of weaving mine.
I see it with my friends when we are weaving together. Our approaches are unique, guided by our inner inspiration. And that is why this time I didn’t stress out over the results of my latest project during our second Weave-In. I had visions of glory with a wall hanging based on a picture I took in Venice in 2004. Handspun yarn, of many different types, patterned with the colors in the picture would come to life. I would use a crackle-inspired twill with “Italian treadling”, tying the whole concept together.
Well, I used the most inappropriate warp color with a sett that did not work to balance the warp and I ripped it all out because it was so ugly. And so humiliating. And then I used the warp thread as the weft and finished the piece. How it shrinks when washed will determine what I make with it. It will be made into something. It looks rustic. It is not an indication of my potential as a weaver, although it is evidence of the wisdom I still have to learn in this art.
During this particular session, each of us took a fork in the road we had planned. Ann’s double-weave pickup took on a new life. Alice worked with a new wool blend. Sybil racked up sample 4+ with the collapse weave, and Virginia re-sett a conference weaving class piece to experiment with design. That one tea break or small observation from another person was all it would take to get back on track, or in another and better direction.
To quote Jackson Brown “Don’t confront me with my failures. I have not forgotten them.” And I add, because I have learned from them, and embrace their role in my life.