I know details about these towels that most casual observers will never see. Every cloth starts with a plan; and, as the weaver, I am intricately involved in every aspect from start to finish. Labels on my handwoven articles identify me as the maker. When you see my label, you know that you can ask me anything about the weaving process for that item.
On a grander scale, you and I have a maker. You don’t have to wonder if your maker knows you. He has known you from the beginning, planning the colors in the warp before it was on the loom, so to speak. You also don’t have to wonder if your maker hears you. Your prayers are heard. Even when no one else around you is listening, the Lord hears your prayer. Everything he has made, including you, bears his label. That makes you beautiful.
Have you ever experienced a chain of events, where the dominos start falling, and you just try to keep up? That is the story of this shawl. My daughter got engaged, so I bought a dress to wear at her wedding. The dress is sleeveless, so I wanted a shawl to wear over my shoulders. Not knowing where to find a matching shawl, I decided to weave one. To weave a shawl, I had to finish weaving these towels that were on the loom, plan the draft for a shawl, and order thread.
The excitement of dressing the loom, trying out weft color options, weaving the delicate huck lace pattern, twisting fringe, wet finishing the cloth, and waiting for the wet cloth to dry, is all intensified because of the meaning of the event where I will wear the shawl. The shawl, itself, is a minor player that will serve best if it is not even noticed. The attention will be on Melody and Eddie as they pledge their love and faithfulness to each other, embracing companionship for a lifetime. Three weeks to go!
Honestly, I didn’t know it would come out dotted. If I wanted dotted cloth, I could use surface design, like paint, embroidery, or beading. Instead, I got the pleasant surprise of dots that are woven into the fabric itself!
These shawls have a dark coral warp. The unwashed piece on the left is the one I intend to wear to my daughter’s wedding. You can see the light coral weft in the little weft floats of the huck lace. The other two pieces have a hot pink weft, which gives the cloth a (difficult to photograph) pink-ish coral color. The one in the center was hand washed. Notice that the pink weft floats are barely distinguishable from the rest of the fabric. The piece on the right was washed on the gentle cycle in the washing machine (omitting the spin cycle). Look at the pink dots! They were there all along, but they became subtle, but noticeable, punctuation marks in the cloth through agitation in the washing machine.
Like the dots that are woven into this fabric, truth is woven into our universe. Truth is. And truth is discoverable. It is there all along, but we don’t always understand it or see it. Sometimes, it is when we go through life’s agitations that truth rises to the surface as a pleasant surprise.
Easter brings fun things to mind. Spring colors, decorated eggs, pretty dresses. Speaking of pretty dresses, in just one month I will wear my mother-of-the-bride dress, with this handwoven shawl on my shoulders. I am finishing the edge of the shawl with hemstitching on the loom. The hemstitching is decorative, but also has a practical purpose–it secures the warpends and keeps the cloth from unraveling. If all goes as planned, twisted fringe will hang from the hem-stitched edge.
Forgiveness, the truest demonstration of love, is the ultimate security. Do you see how forgiveness serves as a finishing edge that gives beauty and definition to real life? When you know you are forgiven, you are secure in knowing you are loved. To be forgiven–that’s the gift, the meaning, the wonder of Easter. This is love. God so loved the world that he offered forgiveness.
If I show you pictures of the bands and pieces of cloth I have woven, you might think they look perfect. That’s because the photographer (me) stages the photos so you get the best impression of the work. If you look closely enough for imperfections, trust me, you will find them. We all know that only God is perfect, so why are we so consumed with trying to reach perfection?
We think that if we are good or do enough good things we will make God happy. A lot of people have been practicing; so, if practice makes perfect, why isn’t anyone perfect yet? Most of all, me. How can I stand before my grand weaver and expect him to overlook all my imperfections? My camera tricks are useless.
Jesus takes my place before God. His perfection covers my imperfect deeds. My simple part is to put my trust in him. His cross took all my failures to the grave. Now, when my grand weaver sees me, he notices the perfection of his original design as seen in Jesus, his son.