Weaving A Life

Weaving, like life, is a process. The complexities and interconnectedness of the yarn mirroring the path we choose to take through life.

When young our ideas spring from the thoughts of our parents. But as we age, ideas become our own, initially grounded in the beliefs of our teachers. Sometimes ideas are vague and swirl in our heads with no concrete visions or ways to accomplish them. Often these ideas stay in our heads, fear of failure or confusion about enacting the idea never allowing this idea to come to fruition.

Some ideas can be intricate, full of detail and complexity with a clear path to completion. These ideas seemingly easy to implement, the outcome safe and known. We rest in confidence that this path will get us to our desired outcome, not understanding that sometimes underlying emotional choice also has a say.

And sometimes,  ideas feel concrete yet their path is full of question, fear and unknowing.

All these types of ideas drive  motivation. It’s our belief in the idea that makes us move forward, no matter how much fear or unknowing we have. Life, like weaving, starts with an idea. It’s our decisions, emotions and willingness to falter that drives the culmination of the process.

For me, weaving starts as a thought, an idea or the possible play of color from the selection of yarn on my shelf. I play with these ideas, lay them out and get them organized in my head and sometimes on a computer. I make a decision based on my current knowledge and how I feel about my direction. I wind my warp, set it up on the loom and then quite often, the plan goes to hell.

This is where creativity happens.

Sometimes the plan doesn’t come out as I planned. Sometimes it comes out better. Sometimes, well you know where this is going…

Whatever the initial outcome is, I go with it for a little while, just to see what happens. Maybe my lack of planning takes on a shape of its own. I don’t attach to what I thought was going to happen. I let it be. If it continues to displease me, I change it up. I plan – then I may change the plan, creativity leading the way. On my loom, maybe I change the tie-up, maybe I change the setting in the reed. I play with treadling and/or color. A simple change in the weft, or intertwining of life can make all the difference to the cloth, or path.

Changing direction in life is like changing direction in weaving. And sometimes the change isn’t of my choosing, maybe it’s a suggestion made for me that I choose to take.

When my plan changes I have the choice to fight the inevitable change and keep going, my emotions and feelings going along with what could be an ugly outcome. Or I turn into face the change, knowing that changing direction can also afford me a new opportunity, a fresh start and a way to discover a new path or idea. 

Sometimes plans work out the way we envision. Sometimes they are a complete failure as defined by me. But whatever the outcome is, for me, it’s not a loss or a regret. It’s a lesson. We do what we do at the time we do it with the knowledge we have at the time we have it.

I remember the first scarf I made for my Father-in law. I had some beautiful mohair. As I began to weave and beat the mohair into the widely set warp the fabric began to stiffen. I had no idea why so I kept going. As any weaver knows, that scarf took me ages to finish and when it was done, I had a beautiful fuzzy stiff board.

My Father-in-law laughed gently and took the gift kindly but he could never wear it, it didn’t bend.

This was before Google and YouTube gave me the ability to ask how to fix my mistake so I kept practicing, not understanding sett and the interplay of warp and weft. Weaving didn’t seem that complicated to me. Wasn’t fabric just fabric? Did the interplay of choice, action and decision matter so much in the end?

Years later and after many more mistakes, I understand sett, sometimes. I still experiment and learn from what I did and do wrong. Sometimes I forget. 

Like weaving, wisdom of a long life has taught me that when I fall I can stay down, or I can choose to get up and kick the mistake in the ass. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes fear keeps me down for a while. But eventually facing the fear and asking why it’s here breaks the fear into small pieces I can slowly dispose of or face, creating new paths to forge my plan. If I am unwilling to get back up, the mistakes win and life becomes rote, boring and often unbearable.

Besides, it’s only fabric. Everyday I get to decide how that fabric will be woven.

My mistakes on the loom and in life have forced an open minded and optimistic, approach to my life. This optimism sometimes leads me into relationships with patterns and people where I lose my ability to forge my own path, trying to please and follow those whose power dominates. That power leaning too heavily on others, making them question their own strength. I learned through my mistakes that the ground under my feet is firm and supportive, allowing me to decide, with the guidance of others, what path to choose. Leading, not following the path of another.

Mistakes don’t close the door to opportunity. Quite the opposite, mistakes allowed me to throw caution to the wind and choose a different path that led me to a world of new exploration, a new confidence and the probability of learning something new. As I continue on this path, who knows, maybe I’ll find myself taking a turn into unknown territory where I will surround myself with other creative, open minded people who will lead me into new adventures! I can’t wait!

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