At the final inches of weavablewarp, my regular boat shuttle will not fit through the shed. I wove the first half of this final rug thinking I had more than enough warp left to complete a symmetrical design.
Drama at the end. I still need to weave the ending warp thread header. Time to pull out my secret weapon—a low-profile shuttle. No worries or fretting. The slim shuttle deftly (with a little prodding) weaves the eight picks of the warp thread header that concludes this final rug. Whew.
When we face adversity, and our usual coping methods are not working, we feel the pressure and anxiety. It’s time to activate our secret weapon—a gentle and quiet spirit. Gentleness and quietness are beautiful embellishments to the hidden person of the heart. This humble spirit enables you to glide through the tightest situations. Best of all, those last picks you carefully weave will keep the lovely rag rug you’ve been working on from unraveling.
Kit development for the plattväv towels is in full swing. I’m in the first stage–making a sample kit. Winding a warp with narrow stripes is a stop-and-go procedure, cutting and tying ends. My process is well structured, as it needs to be, to avoid mistakes. Knowing how to tie a good square knot is essential, too. This is not the time for slipping knots!
As I write the instructions for this kit, the eventual towel-kit weaver is on my mind. Besides writing clear steps, I want to include special helps that put even an apprehensive weaver at ease. How can I help the weaver have a great experience? Weaving this sample kit will help me answer that question.
Having structure and precision in the process of winding this warp makes me think of the value of truth. Truth matters because it keeps things from slipping that shouldn’t slip. Love matters, too. Love puts gentleness and understanding in the instructions. Love cares about the experience another person will have. Love and truth flourish together. Like a precisely pre-wound warp, and instructions written with care, truth and love are inseparable. Both are needed for life to be a gratifying experience.
One soft alpaca scarf. Slow and gentle. This weaving does not let me hurry. I don’t beat the weft; I carefully place it with the beater. For a rag rug weaver like me, accustomed to boisterous weaving, this soft weaving requires my full attention.
There is no variation in this scarf. It’s the same treadling sequence, over and over. After this much repetition, it seems like I should be able to do this without thinking. But, no, I have to pay attention. If I don’t, I lose my place. Glaring mistakes all happen by accident.
We can choose what to hear. Listen wisely. Most things do not go in one ear and out the other. They go in one ear and down into our souls. Listening to gossip, for instance, seems harmless. It might even taste sweet. But what we hear affects our hearts. Listening to gossip is swallowing poison. It’s like weaving a faulty treadling sequence while being distracted. We must pay attention, or the wrong pattern will be woven into the scarf. Instead, let’s enjoy the gentle process of placing the weft and paying attention as we repeat the sequence we know is right.
Two fingers gently test the resistance of the threads, from the center of the warp, moving outwards to the right, and to the left. This is how I evaluate the warp tension. I don’t rush; and I give the effort all my attention. Weftrep, where the ground weft almost completely covers the warp, is especially susceptible to hills and valleys from uneven warp tension. After I have made several tension adjustments, I tie on the leveling string. Next is tying uplamms and treadles, and winding quills. Then, the joy of weaving this monksbelt begins!
The ability to feel unevenness in warp tension is a learned practice. Being attentive is half the battle; and patience is the other half. Taking time on the front end reduces correction time after weaving has begun.
Skilled listening is a learned practice, too. Listening is more than hearing, isn’t it? Pay attention to how you listen. It matters. It takes a gentle touch to listen with a heart of understanding. When we listen with an unbending heart, we only hear what we want to hear. Patience on the front end results in fewer corrections later.
The softer, the better. We all know that wool can be scratchy, but we like wool because of its warmth. And, as a fiber for weaving, wool is easy to work with because of its elasticity. Wet finishing reduces the scratchiness, making it possible to end up with a comfy wool blanket. A soft and gentle blanket.
Gentleness is stronger than we think. A lullaby has the power to quiet a crying baby. My son once had a first grade teacher who could still a classroom of seven- and eight-year-olds with a whisper. And the gentle touch of a friend can speak louder than words.
We influence far more people through kindness, gentleness, and patience than we ever will with persuasive arguments. Like a soft and comfy wool blanket, gentleness is strong enough to warm someone in the cold.