The Warp That Taught

This weekend, the warp taught me some really important lessons about failure.

The honest truth is that I’m no good at failing. I tend to be really hard on myself. The perfectionist disease is a serious one that I’ve been battling for my whole life. So what’s a girl to do when her first solo attempt at the scary floor loom ended with a pair of scissors? Well, first there was a small toddler-like fit with a loud scream and a toss (or throw) of an object across the room. Then I took the scissors and cut off the warp. After a few hours of mourning my loss, I decided to think about and celebrate all that I had learned that afternoon.

Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outline.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Patience is key. Weaving on a floor looms comes with hours of setup before a person gets to actually weave. During my four hours of setup, I repeatedly kept telling myself to take a break as I could feel the anger and frustration building up inside of me. I knew it wasn’t going to end well if I continued, however, I was determined to figure it out so I kept on. Next time I’ll listen to my intuition and go on a run, have a glass or wine and come back later.

Learn the loom. My home loom is different than the loom I used in class and so is its accompanying equipment. Also, I’m learning that there are a lot of different ways to warp and no way is the right way. Warping alone taught me that I can figure out what works best for me and pave my own path. Do I want to warp front to back or back to front? Where do I want the raddle? How do I want to tie the apron rod? All of these questions are answered with time and experience, and this one time already gave me some answers.

Yarn is king. Using the right yarn is a big deal. I got discouraged trying to find the yarn recommended in the book I’m using for my first project so I grabbed a handspun cotton/linen purchased at SAFF this past fall. I took a chance because I was ready to begin and wanted to try without spending a lot of cash. Beginning so suddenly without thinking things through is not the norm for me, but I’m glad I did it. Ultimately this yarn did not work out for a number of reasons. Most of all, it wasn’t a good choice for a beginner.

The last lesson I learned, a week or so later, is try again. Always try again. Despite the failure and trauma, I’ve been itching to get back on the loom, which I did today. Failure isn’t always terrible and in some ways, it can bring some really beautiful things the next time around.

Barbara Cannon3 Comments