‘Tis the season for many people to be at the loom, frantically weaving “a few more shots”, in order to complete a project in time for holiday gifting.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, you are likely deep in the planning, weaving, and finishing stages of one or more (many more, for some!) projects.
You may have planned ahead and have a lovely stack of completed projects that are earmarked for certain people. You might even have them wrapped and tagged, ready to mail or hand off to friends and family far and wide.
Or you may be wondering whether you can give the project to your intended recipient while it is ON the loom!
No matter what stage you are in, I urge you to step back a little, and recognise what you are doing.
Yes, you are planning gifts for loved ones, and maybe a few people that you don’t know well, like coworkers, teachers, or coaches. But what you are REALLY doing is giving a piece of your heart.
When you spend hours of your time, the cost of materials, and your creativity creating a gift for someone, you are also giving YOURSELF a gift.
You get to page through your books, or favourite websites to choose a project or draft. If you start from a draft, you spend time and creativity carefully choosing the project details. The yarn that will give you a lovely finished project that will feel good to the touch. The size of piece that is just right for the person who will receive it, and the perfect finishing touches. You will order or choose the perfect colour of yarn, and anticipate how the piece will go together.
You will spend time running the yarn through your fingers while you measure the warp, then you will carefully place each thread in just the right spot in the heddles and reed. You will tie the warp on carefully, paying attention to getting the tension of the piece even so you will be able to weave along smoothly.
Then you will sit down at the loom, maybe put on your favourite music, and begin to weave. While you weave, you will pour your attention, time, and skill into the piece. Every shot you throw reflects the experience you have gained with every previous weft pic. Every shot you throw gives you new muscle memory, and more experience that you will give to the next piece.
When you take the piece off the loom, you might sigh in pleasure at the fabric you have created, or in frustration if you happen to notice an error!
If there are errors, you may take the time to repair them. Then, on to carefully wet finishing the piece and doing any hemming, pressing, or other finishing touches that are required.
When all this is complete, you carefully wrap this piece of your heart up, ready to gift to another.
We all HOPE that the person who receives the project that you have put your heart, soul, time, and money into will light up with pleasure, and gush about how perfect it is, and how they are thankful that you took the time to make it, and they will love and cherish it forever.
And sometimes that happens!
But what if it doesn’t? What if they open that box, see the towel that you spent hours making, flash a polite smile, and say “oh, a towel, thanks”, then put it aside in favour of other, “more impressive” gifts?
Each year, the online communities fill with stories of the good, bad, and ugly side of gifiting handwoven items. People who gush over their gifts, and those who are patently NOT “weave worthy”.
However my dear weaving friends, please do your best to remember this.
The most beautiful part of a handwoven gift is given not to the recipient, but to the weaver.
If your gift is not received with joy and grace, remember the quiet time you spent at the loom, the feel of the yarn running through your fingers, the gentle weight of the shuttle passing effortlessly through the shed, and landing in your hand. Each shot building up to the satisfaction of a completed piece. The feeling of carefully packing your work up, presenting it with the care and love that you put into every step.
Hold that feeling in your heart and mind, and remember that the only person you REALLY need to be happy with your work is yourself.
Keep weaving my friends, there is a whole community of your peers who are anxiously waiting for you to share the details, photos, trials, tribulations, and triumphs.
Enjoy the process, and post photos!