Finishing 101 – What was I doing?

Navigating the weaving obstacle courseĀ 

I am starting a new project – yay! Yesterday, I jotted down my pattern, pulled out the yarn, measured everything at the warping board, and sleyed the reed. And just when I was feeling really good about myself, I realized I forgot to measure an entire repeat of the pattern (since 9 goes into 36 4 times – not 3)! 

This got me thinking about all the variables and ways a weaving project can go awry. Right off the bat you are working with a loom and all its moving parts. You truly need to be part mechanic to keep up! I have had multiple bits fall apart, fall off, bend, break, fray, and who knows what else! I currently am holding together part of the loom with a twist tie! (You know – the little guys used to keep your bread closed? So far, its working! Keep your fingers crossed for me, would ya?) 

Thankfully, parts of the loom tend to wreak havoc in stages, not all at once! I’m fortunate to have been able to simply repair or easily replace parts thus far. No serious surgery has been necessary. I’ve been lucky!

As a weaver, you not only have to navigate all the moving parts of the equipment, but also the many stages of a project! I feel pretty confident that in my 11 years of weaving, I’ve hit all of the major mistakes & lots of minor ones! Forgetting to mark the cross on the warping board so I have no clue what order my 200+ threads are supposed to be in. Not having enough heddles in the loom when you have already laid in nearly all the yarns. Making a threading error an inch off center in the project. Ah, the list goes on and on! 

But I feel like this obstacle course every weaver runs through with each project makes us a very patient & persistent lot! Some might say crazy… and that might not be wrong, either! There is certainly a reason not everyone weaves. But to those who do, I wish you all the best jumping, swinging and dodging your way through your next project! 

What is your best story about a project gone wrong? 

This is the moment I realized I was missing something – like 9″ of yarn supposed to fill in the right side of the reed!

At last!

You know when you are eating pasta and it seems like no matter how much you eat, there’s still a bowlful left? This project was just like that! But finally, FINALLY it is off the loom! 

So, in light of completing this challenging weaving feat, I thought I would share a few things I learned along the way! 

1. Life & weaving projects don’t always go as planned. This may sound obvious, but weavers are notoriously great planners! So, when the project goes off the rails, we don’t always handle it well! (And when I say “we”, I mean me!) Because this one had a real life of its own, it helped me be more flexible – and creative! 

2. There’s a place for every color – it just depends on the context. I am not a pastel girl. (Honestly, my friends might say that was an understatement.) But while the idea of lavender makes me break out in hives, when the color is next to something stronger (maybe a warm chocolate or a slate gray), it can really work well! For this project, I ended up in a tight spot with the color peach. With the help of a solid blue, the story had a happy ending! (Whew! It was a close call, though…)

3. Weaving or anything creative is good for your head! The process of weaving – that repetitive motion – really encourages my mind to settle and just be. I can do some impressive brainstorming while tossing my boat shuttle back and forth thousands of times! The trick is to keep my thoughts moving in a positive direction because once they spiral somewhere else, they tend to get stuck there. With this project, the timing was perfect considering it is a new year & I am reworking parts of the business! 

I haven’t added up my hours for this project yet, but ultimately every minute was worth it! (I have no doubt that 2 weeks ago I was singing a different tune!) But, each project leads me to something new & how can that be bad? 

What have you learned from a recent project?