Slow-weave fail

This ~11" x 15" Navajo technique class project took me six months.  Nearly every inch of weft was taken out and redone from three to six times - no kidding.  By the top of the dark diamond, I had the sense that something wasn't right, but couldn't find an obvious fault.  It was only when I took out the heddle bars with a couple inches to go that it became clear.  The top of the diamond is a full quarter inch too low, because the three steps at the top of the dark diamond are each off by 1/8 in. or less.  On a larger weaving, it would be less perceptible.  But then, I might have invested a year.

I considered trying to needle-weave in some extra weft, but because of the nature of the joins, I really didn't think it would work.  The thing to do, of course, would be to unweave about three and a half inches and fix it. At the same time, I could have fixed the worst of the draw-in.  Part of me, at least, wanted to.  I tend not to say "good enough".  But at that point the metal tines at the top of the cactusflower loom were beginning to shear apart my warp.  I had already repaired a couple warp threads (a total of eight by the time it was done), and I really didn't think this one could take more unweaving.  So I pushed on. 

The central cross is supposed to be squared - as tall as it is wide.  The only reason I didn't add a quarter inch to the cross was that I appeared to have hit the center dead-on.  So I started to feel ambitious. Maybe I really could pull off symmetry.  Had I gone ahead and added an extra 1/4 in. to the cross, it would look better and the top of my dark diamond might have come out exactly where it should.

  So while not competent, at least it is done. I've already got a replacement for the cactusflower loom. Onward  we go.




Posted on Sun, 09/05/2010 - 06:49

I think you are being way too hard on yourself and don't think this project was a "fail" - I think it looks fine.  I've done some Navajo weaving so I appreciate the difficulty in learning this process and getting things to end up symmetrical.  I'm glad you are already planning your next project.

Posted on Sun, 09/05/2010 - 14:33

Ya''ll are too knowledgeable about the process.  When the primary thing is to pay attention, it is disheartening to end up with something that to a casual observer says "wasn't paying attention".  The discrepancy is more obvious in the weavatar (and the actual piece) than the photo. So here I am - half-proud and half-shamed, which is what put this into weave-fail rather than, say, the projects page.  Wasn't my first. More like my fourth.

Posted on Sun, 09/05/2010 - 15:58

Isaac Asimov was one of the most prolific science fiction writers of our time. At a workshop for new writers in Los Angeles, he did card tricks for most of the time slot. Before the end of his time slot he said "The only way to become a good writer is to write. At first all the stories are junk. Then you'll get one that is good. Then more junk. Then another one that is good. After a while the good ones start coming closer together."

You do have a very nice edge on the diamond portion. The twined edges look excellent. I like the finished edges of Navajo weaving. I would put a backing on it and make a pillow out of it. Have fun with it.

So you have a couple bad elements. It's off the loom. Time to move on.

Have a joyful day!

Posted on Sun, 09/05/2010 - 16:44

While I understand and sympathize with your dismay, I find the slight discrepancies in the symmetry more interesting than disturbing. They bring the piece to life (this from someone who teaches formal symmetry to weavers). I study Japanese textiles where symmetry is regularly broken, sometimes subtly, sometimes not. It gives fascinating results.

All that said, there is a lot to be gained by feeling in control of your technique and producing whatever results you want rather than accepting whatever happens. That will come as you weave more in this technique. Much practice and exposure help. In the meantime, surface embellishment (embroidery, dyeing, beading, etc.) can even things out or make them look planned. Whatever you decide, enjoy the journey :-)

Laurie Autio

Posted on Tue, 09/14/2010 - 02:50

Dear MM,

Welcome to Weave Fail!

I sympathize with your frustration, but I totally admire your perserverance! Unweaving repeatedly is tiring and requires a great deal of determination and patience. It also messes with your sense of accomplishment! This project must have worn out your last nerve!  I love the colors you chose, and as Franco pointed out, your weaving is beautifully even.  I think that although the design is not symmetrical top to bottom, I find the shape to be graceful and pleasing- not an "eyesore" mistake.  Did you have to do most of your weaving at night after a long day of work?  Being tired can contribute to errors. I do most of my projects after work.  I try to plan the difficult part, like threading for the weekend when I am better rested, and I ALWAYS stop after the first mistake.  Do you have a few projects going at the same time?  Sometimes it's good to take a break from one and work on something less demanding, like winding a warp or twisting fringe. At least then if the complex project is frustrating you, you can have  some sense of progress by completing a step in another weaving.  Congratulations on finishing this bad boy!! XO Gail & Fog