What can compare to the thrill of unrolling freshly-woven cloth? Pulling, and pulling, and pulling until you get to the very beginning of the warp. As every towel unwinds, I do a micro evaluation, knowing that complete scrutiny comes later. I could not be happier with these towels! They are every bit as sensational off the loom as they were to weave. What a joy to be a weaver!
It wasn’t that long ago that I was winding lopsided quills, dropping the shuttle more than occasionally, and struggling to understand weaving drafts. Desire and a willingness to learn have pushed me through these and other barriers.
Willingness is more important than capability. Being willing sets the stage for learning. We all start incapable. God doesn’t expect us to be capable. He does expect us to be willing. God weaves His purposes on earth, not through the capable people, but through the willing. In weaving, and in life overall, I want to embrace and preserve the willingness factor that keeps me learning.
And as we yield our will to our Creator, what joy is ours as we learn how to truly live!
My band loom has been sitting idle for months with a partially-woven warp. As soon as I cut the black and white towels from the loom it occurred to me that I had not yet woven their hanging tabs. I am eager to put on a new black and white band warp to weave these towel loops; but first, I must weave off the existing band. (You originally saw this band in Weave the Portable Way.)
What had been sitting for months is finished in a day. And the black and white warp is on the loom before day’s end. What made the difference? Why is it suddenly easy to finish something that had been lagging for months? One word. Decision. (Some of the towels on which these hanging tabs will adorn are in Quiet Friday: Thick and Thin and in Even Better After.)
All our important actions derive from purposeful decisions. And my best decisions shape the course of my life in a positive way. You can choose the direction you travel. When you choose to walk the path of virtue, the path before you becomes more and more clear. Finding the motivation to do the right thing often comes down to making a firm decision. As a result, we are able to remove the old, and move on to weaving today’s important task.
Halvdräll is one of those Swedish weaves that takes your breath away. How can I describe the exquisite simplicity and stunning splendor of this fascinating cloth? With halvdräll, every moment at the loom is pure joy. I keep thinking, I get to weave this! And every weaver knows no comparison to the delight of pulling beautiful just-woven fabric off the cloth beam.
Enjoy the journey with me now as I reflect on the halvdräll fabric from beginning to end.
Many, many hours of work have gone into making these handwoven towels. Their stunning capacity as beautiful, absorbant, and useful things isn’t realized, however, until the cloth is subjected to the finishing process. Wet finishing never ceases to amaze me. These towels! They are transformed from special to spectacular!
I may be intimidated at the thought of wet finishing other items (as I talked about in Weaving Experience), but not towels. Especially cottolin handtowels like these. They are made for a lifetime of everyday use. I do not hesitate to throw them in the washer and dryer, because I know the towels will improve with the washing. And after the washing and drying, they’ll be ready for pressing (the only pressing they will likely ever require).
When I drop the towels into the wash, I am making an exchange. I give up the unwashed, rough cloth, and get a softened, fulled fabric in its place. I lay down a burden, and receive a blessing in return. Jesus takes our soul’s heavy burden, a lifetime of self-imposed work, and exchanges it for his light load. You can put your heavy load down. And receive in return a softened fabric, washed, pressed, and ready for daily use.
This table runner is the last item on the zebra warp; and I am pausing before I tackle the ending. I like how the woven checkerboard underneath shows when you look through the warp! With the end of the warp just ahead I am wondering, “How many more centimeters can I weave?” (Read about the Zebra Warp.)
There is a potential hazard at the end of the warp. I want the final border of this table runner to match the border at the beginning. If I start the border too soon, good warp goes to waste, unwoven at the end. But if I start the border too late, I may have trouble finishing it. The shed height begins to diminish as the warp nears the end, until the shed finally becomes too short for a regular boat shuttle to pass through. (I have been known to gingerly “squeeze” and jiggle the shuttle through for the last few picks.)
Long before I start weaving the border, I am committed to finish, no matter how tight a shed I face at the end. I made that decision when I dressed the loom with this zebra warp way back when. Following Jesus is like that. It’s more than tagging along. It’s total commitment all the way to the end.