Weave Fail

Weave Fail is a term coined by my friend and fellow hand weaver Gail Gondek Reremember all the threads, alias Ms. Thimble. We met through the Jockey Hollow Weavers several years ago, and have taken workshops together and have had fun in and out of weaver’s guild meetings and workshops. She even invited me to present at http://www.nyhandweavers.org , where she is also a member.

Ms. Thimble, Jerri and Fog after the presentation

I presented my signature “What Spinners Know that Weavers Don’t” talk, and had a great time meeting other accomplished handweavers and connecting with weaving friends I hadn’t seen in some time. That presentation was a “weave success” but I need to get back to “weave-fail.”

As weavers, we like to have “show and tell,” and of course, want to showcase our best efforts and projects. We don’t always talk about what went wrong, at least not in any detail. However, that “post mortem” can be very helpful, both to the weaver who struggled and to others who may have had similar issues. Whether the weaver can figure out the problem and solution to be able continue and complete the project, or whether she brings the “weave-fail” project in it’s failed state, the resulting information can be incredibly useful. So much so, that Gail started a group on Weavolution http://weavolution.com/weavolution an “online gathering place for handweavers.”

The name of the group is Weave Fail and the requirement for membership is “Admission that to err is human, to weave, divine!” Let down your hair, bring on your errors and let’s move on! Here’s my own recent weave fail, and what I learned and what I plan to do about it.

I love handwoven dishtowels. I love to weave them, I love to give them and I love to receive them. I have participated in a number of “dishtowel exchanges” and have quite a stack of them in my collection. These little workhorses are used daily in my kitchen. I save my cheap Costco and Walmart dishtowels for mopping up spills and saving on paper towel use, and I use my handwoven dishtowels for everything else, including, actually drying dishes.

I participated in one internet dishtowel exchange in spring 2011.Well, the group met through the internet, and the facilitator sends the participants the rules, and we send the finished towels to her. She then sends everyone one who participated the same amount of towels back, woven by others. It’s a great way to get a wonderful collection of weaving samples, since we get also get a bio of the weaver and the draft (pattern) as well as notes on size, materials, the experience and tips. I had so much fun weaving the towels and using the ones I received, I decided to participate again this past spring, 2012. Here’s a picture of my progress so far: 
Looks just like a languishing loom, doesn’t it? Well, that’s what it is.
I decided to weave somewhat simple towels with a contrasting border. (details forthcoming) I thought I carefully warped and threaded my loom and merrily wove away. At first glance on the sampling at the beginning, before I jumped into the first towel, all seemed in order. And so I wove on. I looked over the first towel, and something didn’t seem right. Sometimes the mind sees what we want it to, not what is there. That happened in the beginning during my sampling as well. If my mind saw what my eyes saw, I would have noticed that I had a threading error.





Since I was only one towel in and I had enough length on the warp to still be able to make the required amount of towels for the exchange, I decided to correct the threading error. Then I had to correct the next few threads to get back into the pattern. Then the next few. Then I realized that I had to rethread a full half of the warp. The mistake was in the middle and was not just a few mixed up threads, but a complete pattern repeat problem. So the loom as remained as you see it, waiting for me the rethread it and continue weaving. The process is not that difficult, since I identified where the break was. It’s just discouraging, and for me, time consuming. I’m not the quickest at warping my loom, that is, preparing it to do the actual weaving. I’m way quicker than I used to be when I first learned to weave, though, since my first few, ok, more than a few warps were not only weave fails, they were “cut off the loom and throw away quickly so I don’t have to cry.”

Actually, those weave fails have helped me identify problems quicker, and I usually can correct them earlier on. I’m also a whiz at helping others figure out why their warps are problematic, and can often quickly help them identify a solution that doesn’t involve scissors and crying.

And now that I’ve confessed, I think I can get the loom warped and get weaving again!


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