Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Yesterday I finished the red/orange warp and beamed the blue/purple one. This morning I started weaving. As usual I started with a few picks to weave a header, then rolled the warp forward to leave about 6" for the fringe and started weaving again.

And started thinking about necessity.

When I first started weaving, I was told it was 'necessary' to weave something into the fringe part of the warp. So I did that. I had a fistful of cardboard strips cut 1" wide that I would diligently weave in between placemats.

Very soon I became frustrated with the strips. The weft would catch on the strips and I'd have to stop and untangle the weft. Then when the warp was taken from the loom I would very, very carefully slide each strip out. I tried cutting between the strips but they would still get stuck sometimes pulling the warp ends causing problems within the cloth itself.

Fed up, I tried weaving without the strips and discovered that no, they weren't necessary at all.

This revelation led me to question all of the processes involved in weaving. All those "you must" commands that someone at some point had decreed to be true.

Some of them I found were, indeed, necessary - but not all of them.

Over the years I developed my own list of things that were necessary - things that were true for me, given my equipment, my abilities (and disabilities) and my focus. For a while I thought that everyone else should subscribe to my list!

Eventually I realized that there is more than one 'truth'. That everyone needs to find the truth that is true for their reality.

The problem is, though, that quite often a beginning weaver gets told The Truth without ever knowing that there is more than one way to do the processes involved in weaving. They don't understand that what works for one person may - or may not - work for everyone else.

Whenever I take a workshop I like to rummage in the instructors and other participants tool boxes looking for a new technique that I can apply to my reality. That's one of the great things about weaving - it grew up in so many different cultures with so many different tools and techniques that it is possible to learn something new all of the time. My most recent new technique I learned just a few years ago - how to sley more efficiently.

It's one of the things that I love about weaving. No matter how long someone does it, there is always - always - something more to learn. A new technique, a new tool, a new weave structure, a new fibre.

How exciting!


Anonymous said...

When I take a class or workshop, I almost always learn something totally unrelated to the class topic. And sometimes those unintentional things are more valuable than what was intentionally taught.

Kristine said...

I'd like to know about that more efficient sleying process you learned most recently. Would you be willing to share that with us?

Laura said...

I have shared it - click on the 'sleying' label to the right hand side. There are still photos and a video. :)


Peg in South Carolina said...

What a good post--how easy it is to believe that MY way is THE right and only way and for all time, and not just in weaving! Thank you for helping me to remember this.