When you see that you are near the end of the tapestry, the temptation is to hurry up and finish. I have done that before, unfortunately. When I rush, the first thing to go is adequate bubbling of the weft. The consequence is distortion because of draw-in. It is most noticeable after the tapestry is off the loom and looks more like a trapezoid than a rectangle.
Ending well is as important as beginning well. So, even though I can see the end of the Figs and Coffeecartoon under the warp, I am deliberately slowing my pace to stay attentive to the sweetly-satisfying technicalities that make a good tapestry. When this cloth beam is unrolled, I will be able to say, “I gave it my best.” And I enjoyed every minute of it!
When guests come through our front door, this stately 120cm Glimåkra Standard Countermarch loom is the first thing they see. Many folks have never seen a weaving loom. “That looks so complicated,” they say.
The appeal of a Swedish countermarch loom is its simplicity. Pieces of wood, held together with a few wedges, form the frame for an efficient system of synchronized moving parts. “Step on a treadle and see what happens,” I tell them. When you move one part, something else moves, which then causes other parts to move. Now you can send a shuttle through an opening in the threads and weave cloth. “Wow! That’s amazing,” they say. I smile and think, “Yes, it is.” It may be complex, but it’s not complicated.
The world looks complicated. What does God in heaven see when he looks on us? Does he see a complicated mess? God sees us through his eyes of love. We’ve all gone our own messy ways. He loved us anyway and gave his son Jesus to save us from our selfish ways. He appeals to us with this simplicity: say yes to Jesus and no to self. This one move sets things in motion and changes everything! God’s world may be complex, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.
Handwoven remnants (aka scraps) do not get thrown away. Every scrap is good for something. Some scraps are so unusual it takes an extra dose of creativity to find a use for them.
This remnant of blue wool fabric is something I wove a few years ago during my Big Book of Weaving adventure. This structure uses a weft-cord technique, which creates interesting ridges in the fabric. The original project is a simple handbag. The remaining fabric has been buried in a box of remnants. Until now.
I had a great idea to make a bench cushion for my Julia loom from this unusual remnant. Guess what? All those ridges are not so comfortable to sit on (fortunately, I tested it first). My next idea, though, is a success! The blue bumpy scrap makes a nice lumbar pillow, adding special comfort to the rocking chair that belonged to my great grandmother.
Four down, eight to go. It doesn’t take long to weave a placemat.
I weave a two-pick stripe between placemats. The stripe is always in the red or orange family of colors (unless the item being woven is red or orange). The red stripe is my cutting line, and two picks helps me cut on the straight and narrow. I once got confused about where to separate two towels that I had woven, and I cut in the wrong place. Yikes! That’s when I instituted the red thread rule.
Our lifetime has a distinct red thread rule. A true beginning and end. Life is brief. It doesn’t take long to weave a placemat. But while it’s on the loom, it has the weaver’s full attention. And so also, the Grand Weaver is attentive to all the threads of your life.
I call it Figs and Coffee, but the figs and the coffee are barely recognizable at this point. The image will make sense when it is complete. In the meantime, I am continually intrigued by the fascinating interplay of colors. You can expect me to keep adding to the tapestry until it is complete. It’s nice to not be in a hurry.