On An Imperfectly Woven Dishtowel

IMG_2412Me: Rats. It’s not perfect.

The ME I want to be: Relax. You’re new at this.

Me: I know. But it’s not perfect.

MIWTB: Making mistakes is part of the learning process.

Me: I know. But I was so careful.

MIWTB: You said you were just experimenting, just having fun weaving.

Me: I know. But it’s not perfect.

MIWTB: You claim you like the imperfect and idiosyncratic!

Me: Yes, but . . .

MIWTB: It’s not the last thing you’ll ever make! The next project will be better!

Me: Yes, but this one’s not perfect.

MIWTB: It’ll still be perfectly serviceable.

Me: I know. But it’s not perfect. I wanted it to be perfect.

MIWTB: Do you think our foremothers got hung up on tiny mistakes in utility items? They had bigger things to worry about!

Me: So what? I wanted mine to be perfect.

MIWTB: But look—there’s no question it’s made by hand! Did you want it to look machine made?

Me: Well, no. I wanted it to look perfectly handmade.

MIWTB: Aren’t you the one who’s always yammering on about the human touch and seeing human fingerprints on the things we make?

Me: This is different. It’s so obvious! People will think I’m not perfect.

MIWTB: No offense, Kerry, but people already know you’re not perfect.

Me: I’ve noticed that whenever you start a sentence with, “No offense,” the rest of the sentence is really offensive.

MIWTB: Yes, well, some things need to be said.

Me: But I wanted it to be perfect!!!

MIWTB: Shhh, it’s time to stop whining and get back to work.


56 thoughts on “On An Imperfectly Woven Dishtowel

  1. I needed this, Kerry. It’s obvious you’ve been reading my mind as I critically eye my first attempt at crochet which is….imperfect. “Human touch and human fingerprints”….I’ll remember that. The lovely woven dishtowel is just perfect to me, by the way.

    • Oh, my–crochet! I can’t even tell you how incredibly imperfect my crocheting is! I thought, because lots of people do crocheting, that it would be easy! Not so!

        • I don’t knit and I don’t crochet anymore. Crocheting was a big deal for me a few years ago when we were displaced from our home, for 6 weeks, by flooding. It was so easy to do basic crocheting anywhere, even the nasty motel we stayed in. But I never got very good at it, and the same could be said of my forays into knitting.

  2. Hahaha, what a good way to start the day! It is funny indeed that you love the imperfections in other pieces so much yet get discouraged when you find one in your own work. I guess, you are just human;0) The towel looks lovely to me…
    ps: so right btw too: when people say ‘I do not want to offend, annoy,criticize, etc…they do just that!!!

    • It’s so hard to fight that voice in one’s head! I was even thinking that I should just take all the thread off the loom and throw it away. Then, that other “me” kicked in and scolded me.

  3. Oh it is beautiful just as it is my dear! Sometimes when things are too perfect we forget to look and see…who made them and how they did so. We don’t think about the time, the dedication and the heart that went into the whole process from the very beginning to the very end. Your towel is marvelous because it tells two stories: that of your design and that of your efforts. And that is pretty wonderful, just like you!

  4. Great post, I can imagine how you feel! Imperfections are one of the charms of handmade items, but it would’ve been great if it were perfect. Maybe covering it up with a cute aplique? Or sew some horizontal ribbons on it?

    • There are a number of other imperfections that I didn’t point out, because I was pretty sure they weren’t noticeable. The main ones will be evident, I think, to anyone but they won’t irritate anyone but me!

  5. I looked at it before reading anything and excitedly thought “OMG she WOVE this beautiful towel! I’m in love!” and had to look back and study it once I read your post to see what you were talking about 🙂

    I do know that inner dialogue, though. Whenever I encounter it, I tell myself that the feeling of “it’s not perfect!” usually fades in a few uses or so. Onward! Enjoy your beautiful, useful creation. I love it.

    • Thank you, Jackie! I think once I get the towels (there are actually three of them, all flawed!) off the loom, the mistakes will be less noticeable, even to me. That pesky, negative voice is so annoying . . .

    • Well, that’s very kind of you, Jean, but I’ve seen your weaving! It’s really, really beautiful. I’m such a newbie at weaving that it’s all still quite a mystery–exciting but a little overwhelming.

  6. Well Hellooooo Me!! 😀 You made me hoot with laughter as I heard my own whiny little voice ‘…but it’s not good enough ….’ Remember the weavers of those beautiful eastern rugs who, when necessary, insert a deliberate ‘mistake’ as nothing made by human hands is perfect, only God is? You have joined their ranks!.

    • It’s that whiny little voice, isn’t it? So sulky and petulant–it wears me down. I think, in a way, writing as I have about imperfection and “humanness” has helped me when I get down on myself.

      • Oh yes, I can relate to that too – I talk to a friend and when I hear what I’m saying, when it’s ‘out there’ I just have to stop. Can’t bear it and usually end up feeling much better! 🙂 I guess it’s what ever makes us hear ourselves is good right?

  7. I so TOTALLY understand… I have had that discussion with myself many, many times. Even though we all know we’re not perfect, it is so hard to accept that things we make do not always turn out the way we wanted. But it’s ok, it’s beautiful, you just have to embrace it! 🙂

    • I’m trying to embrace it! What got to me this time is that I thought I was being so very careful when I was warping the loom–how did those threading errors sneak in there?!

  8. I am so impressed with your weaving!
    Why is it that we think we should be perfect even while we rationally know that none of us are?
    And then … we point out the imperfection to everyone, many of whom wouldn’t have noticed in the first place.
    I love the colors, the design, the effort, the work … and that conversation is great, too!!
    YAY You!

  9. Ah the eternal struggle we have to allow ourselves to be less than perfect. However it’s reassuring that the desire to be perfect fights on…..we need our perfectionists in laboratories, research, car design, house design etc. We would be lost without them. And the perfect dish towel is one I quest for. Once in every 10 years, or thereabouts, I find one that does the job perfectly and I hang on to it until it is nothing but holes.

    • I don’t even know if this dishtowel will be good at drying dishes! It should be–it’s made of cotton and linen and it’s a twill pattern, which I read adds to absorbency. Wouldn’t that just top it off, if it wasn’t just flawed in execution but also in its very purpose?

  10. oh, oh! they are tea towels, love them and use them as they are. see them as a learning experience. when starting a new weaving use a contrasting colour in the heading and weave a couple inches so you can see if there are any threading mistakes – then correct them before you start serious weaving. 🙂

    • That’s very good advice, Jean. The set-up for weaving takes so long and I get so eager to weave that I jumped right in and it never occurred to me that the threading would be off. I guess I won’t make that mistake again ( but I’m sure I’ll find new ones to make!)

  11. Personally, I call them “design elements”, not “mistakes.”
    Like Marieken, I was going to suggest that if it bothers you, you could put a button or applique or a hanging loop over the threading error. But I bet you’ll never even see it after you wash it and the fibers bloom.

    • That’s what I keep telling myself–the fiber is that cottolin and I think there will be quite a lot of shrinkage and filling in. We’ll see. I just need to get over myself!

  12. Hey, I thought you liked handmade imperfections! Funny how we magnify our own imperfections, even when we can accept and appreciate those of others. Starting out perfect would rob you of the joy of conquering challenges and improving. Your towel tells a story, and I like that!

  13. Pingback: Off the Loom: A Teaser | Love Those "Hands at Home"

  14. Pingback: Imperfectly Perfect | Love Those "Hands at Home"

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