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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learning to Weave: Overcoming the Perfection Barrier

My daughter  Jody will graduate this weekend with a degree in music performance (pipe organ).  She is a talented young woman, and very accomplished, but while I was listening to her senior recital I kept thinking back to the little girl who sat at the piano and cried at least once a week - because she knew how the music was supposed to sound but couldn't yet play it.

When I heard her crying (or pounding the poor old piano in frustration) I would sit beside her on the bench, put my arm around her, and remind her of all the music she had already learned; how she had not been able to play those pieces perfectly the first time; and that with practice it was certain she would learn the new music.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I had to give that pep talk, but it worked.  She didn't give up.  She learned to love the process of learning as much as the accomplishment.

When I tell people that I'm learning to weave I often hear some horror story about warping a loom.  In fact, I have found that it is one of the things that keeps people from this ancient and wonderful craft.  "Oh, but the setup, I've heard it's awful."

One of my Ravelry friends, who is a self-taught weaver, calls this "the Perfection Barrier," and I think that is an apt title for the main reason more people don't weave.  They are afraid of failure and frustration so they don't even try. They know how the music is supposed to sound but they never get around to making it themselves because they are so afraid of the process.

Our fiber guild doesn't meet in the summer so I am on my own.  I got a book, Learning to Weave, and a Schacht's newest loom, the Wolf Pup LT.  When the loom arrived I assembled it myself in just two hours.  I've never touched a floor loom before, but I had studied the book and knew the terms and parts.  Yesterday I warped it for the first time, following the lesson in the book.

I had to retie the warps more than once to fix the mistakes.  I had to color-code the heddles with Sharpie so I knew which shaft I was looking at.  I don't have a bobbin-winder, so I wound the shuttle bobbins on my sewing machine bobbin-winder.  By the time I had the loom ready to go it was late, I was tired, but I couldn't wait.
Here is what I wove before bed.  It is not perfect.  But it is a great beginning!  I'm weaving! 

I refuse to be stopped by the Perfection Barrier.  In fact, I have made a vow to myself - I am going to learn to LOVE warping my loom, and I am going to give myself permission to weave many imperfect things and to embrace the learning process.  Someday I'll be a good weaver.  And maybe I'll even be a great weaver!

Don't let the Perfection Barrier stop you from trying something new.  Get a book, take a class, JUMP IN!

1 comment:

  1. Hey!! Isn't weaving FUN! I actually DO like the warping process... now.

    I have been having a blast with my looms. Yep, I now have three floor looms and of course several rigid heddle looms for classes etc!

    I'm having a blast!