Experience builds on experience. The more I practice the classic Swedish weave structures, the more freedom I have in the process. Dice weave, halvdräll, and, now, this monksbelt, are all related. These are variations of overshot. I am putting what I know into practice, even though this is the first time I have woven monksbelt on my own loom. (My prior experience with monksbelt was first in a workshop with Joanne Hall, and then, under Becky Ashenden’s tutelage at Vävstuga Swedish Classics.)
Plan projects from start to finish, dress the loom single-handedly, use complex threading and complicated treadling, and weave with multiple shuttles. Do you relish these challenges? It is possible to weave things that don’t require as much training or practice. You can find a pattern on Pinterest or in a magazine, and do what “everybody” is doing. Not much is required of “everybody” in the crowd.
But some people strive to learn, and practice what they learn, building on previous experience. Consider truth. You are responsible for the truth you know. The more you are taught, the more that is required of you. And as you practice the truth you know, you discover the freedom that comes along in the process.
For the most part, I am designing this monksbelt at the loom. Even so, I have guidelines regarding color order, sequence of tabby and pattern colors, and treadling order. Each time I remove the temple, I make mental notes for the upcoming segment. When I advance the warp, I step back to get a better idea of where I’ve been, and where I want to go.
The challenging part is the weftrep tabby. I make a high arch with the tabby weft, and change sheds before beating the weft in. Inconsistency shows up as streaks, especially with darker weft, like the blue tabby I’m on now. When it seems like too much effort to get it right, I have to remember that I am not just making yardage; I am developing skills and habits for successful weaving.
It takes planning and caring to build a home. It takes wisdom. Homes are built with wisdom. It’s like designing at the loom. We can’t see into the future, but we can set guidelines that help us make a good design. There is always a challenging part, in every stage. All the more reason for consistency in our convictions. Home is not just a place. Home is where we learn to love.
After a solid hour of weaving, I have produced only two more inches (5 cm) of woven fabric. I am completely enthralled with the process, though, of this intriguing monksbelt weave. Some of the best things take the most time.
I long to feel the completed cloth in my hands. This weftrep monksbelt is new to me. I honestly don’t know how the hand and drape of the final cloth will be. There is nothing I can do but wait. And, at two inches (5 cm) per hour, that’s a long wait. But I won’t give up. I have enough experience at the loom to know that this is going to be a treasured piece…if I don’t get impatient and cut it off early.
Do you have a prayer waiting to be answered? Sometimes it takes a while. Does that mean that God didn’t hear, or that he doesn’t care? If we could see the invisible, I think we would see things being woven into place–at the right time, in the right way. Do not give up on God. Ask, seek, knock. And remember that our heavenly Father has good in mind for us.
I have forty-five shades of Fårö wool. That’s better than a giant box of crayons! Monksbelt and Fårö wool–is there anything better?! I have narrowed it down to nine colors. For the weftrepground weave, a few tubes of 16/2 cotton off my shelves will do nicely.
As always, I sample to see what works, and what doesn’t. I want a collection of colors that make a strong, but peaceful, statement. One misplaced color will spoil the effect. After trying various wool and cotton combinations, I see that the teal cotton must be removed. This color is welcome in other settings, but here it is out of place.
Faith is like a determined collection of colors that are meant for each other. Do not underestimate the power of faith. When lined up like close-knit friends, when put into action, when woven into the warp, it’s phenomenal! However, faith is strongest when fear is removed. Taking the teal out of the lineup makes all the difference. Now, I weave this with confidence, knowing it works. Have you heard the account of Jesus calming the storm? He told the wind and waves, “Be still.” Strength and peace. That’s the power of faith.
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.