This time I get to teach. I enjoy being a student, learning new things, and new ways of doing things. I also love to teach. It is a wonderful opportunity to come alongside a learner, to lead someone to see what they can achieve, to open up a door to fresh possibilities. This week I am in the teacher role. I’m eager to get to know the students and see the double binding rag rugs they will create as a result of our focused time together. And I am looking forward to learning what the students will teach me!
Draw-in can wreck your weaving. Avoid it at all costs. Did you know that draw-in can cause even 12/6 cotton rug warp to break? First, two ends on the right, and then, an inch later, two more in the middle. I had ten broken warp ends in all. Strong, sturdy, Swedish rug warp! I was weaving miniature rugs. Between the absence of a temple, and my failure to place in enough weft, the drawn-in warp ends could not stand the abrasion they got from the reed. What started out as a bright idea ended up a “learning experience.”
Words reveal a person’s core. When abrasive thoughts continue time and again, words eventually break loose from the tongue. The warp end breaks, and the stability of the rug is compromised. It may seem like the warp end is the problem, but the problem is the abrasion that led up to the breakage. Fortunately, broken warp ends can be fixed, with time and effort. But learning to eliminate the abrasion in the first place is the tactic I want to employ.
Have you developed a style all your own? I can identify sometapestry artists by their work, even before I see their name on the piece. One friend of mine weaves gorgeous silk scarves, and another one makes handtowels with exquisite color. Their woven items consistently showcase their individual style. In our little weaving group we even say, “It looks like you.”
For most, personal style happens over time, by repetition of favored designs or techniques, until particular skills become second nature for the artist. One day they wake up and realize they have developed their very own style. In other cases, the unique style is clearly intentional, and artistically so. Either way, it’s admirable. Eventually, someone may see a rug I’ve woven and say, “That looks like Karen!”
Everything we see that is glorious is a window into the glory of God. Look through the window. The whole earth is filled with the glory of God. If our small artistic attempts are reflected in what we make, is it inconceivable that the wonders in our universe have the Creator’s signature? Everything glorious puts the Grand Weaver’s personal touch on display.
Do people know how much fun it is to weave rag rugs? Next week I’ll be in Arkansas teaching what I love. This ten-yard warp is giving me ample rehearsal time for explaining double binding techniques. Mostly, though, I want to introduce students to the thrill of rag rug weaving!
I am puzzled by weavers who are not fond of weaving rag rugs. “It’s too slow,” I’ve been told. “It doesn’t interest me.” And what about weavers who have never attempted to weave a rag rug? “What?!” I want to say, “You have a weaving loom, and you’ve never tried weaving a rag rug?” That tells you more about me than it does about them. People are drawn to what they know and love, and they see that thing differently than someone who is not drawn to it.
The goodness of God is like that for me. I’m drawn to it. God is good. One famous saying of Jesus is that the pure in heart will see God. That motivates me to examine my own heart. I can’t think of anything better than seeing the goodness of God.
May you be drawn to good things.
(There is one opening left in my double binding rag rug workshop next week at Red Scottie Fibersin Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It’s not too late to sign up! If you’re interested, let me know.)
Does your mind wander for repetitive tasks? Each of 780 threads must pass through the small eye of a heddle–the correct heddle–to create the cloth that I have in mind. Threading 8/2 cotton in a straight draw, 1-2-3-4, is easy enough that I do it almost without thinking. Precision at this stage, however, is critical.
My mind goes in a thousand directions, sometimes, while my fingers continue to place the threads. With my hands on “autopilot,” anything can happen. For this reason, I make it a habit to double check the threading accuracy for each section I finish, thread by thread, saying out loud, “1-2-3-4; 1-2-3-4; …”
Like a thread going through the eye of the correct heddle, I want each of my thoughts to go through the door of truth. Truth is the key to a purposeful life. We get trapped by faulty thinking, but truth brings us to our senses and unlocks the trap. Bringing cohesiveness and clarity to all aspects of life, truth enables us to see the cloth that is being woven. Isn’t it time to stop and double check the threads of our thinking to make sure each thread is going right through the eye of the heddle?