Finally, A Finish

Have you ever wanted something really bad and then, when you got it, all you could do was just sit there and grin?

That’s how I feel about this pair of scarves. I’m not grinning because they’re special; I’m grinning because they are done!

This project has been on my loom, mocking me, since BGG (before Gigi). That’s six long months.

It was begun in summer, languished through a glorious autumn, waited patiently as winter approached and a New Year arrived.

And, finally, the project is finished.

Why do some projects stall?

The obvious reason here was the addition of the small furry whirling dervish and her big brother.

But I can’t blame it all on them.

Mostly it was that the work wasn’t meeting my expectations.

Projects like this one make me keenly aware of how little I know. And I hate not knowing. With weaving, I find it so difficult to predict how colors will interact, how the weft threads will subdue or enhance the warp.

In this case, the warp was gorgeous and nothing I put in as weft maintained that glow.

IMG_3899

The pattern didn’t work out as I thought it would. It’s an undulating twill and the weaving kept shifting and gapping. “Ugly” is the word that comes to mind.

To solve this, I had to take a new approach that involved using two shuttles, something I hadn’t done before and found very difficult to get comfortable with.

My loom had to be moved to a room with a door (Gigi, I’m looking at you) and I don’t like being shut away while I’m weaving, I guess.

Progress was slow and sporadic. I often filled my time doing anything but weaving. I gravitated toward projects that felt more fulfilling and fun. It was hard for me to stay motivated when, with every throw of the shuttle, I felt disappointed and fairly incompetent.

But now the scarves are finished and I’m thrilled to be done! They turned out better than I thought they would—fine, really. I like the one with the light weft color but I don’t love it. The darker one pleases me more. The intense color I liked so much in the warp is subtle, but the ghost of it is there.

I can also, now, be glad for all the project taught me. I hope I won’t make some of those mistakes again.

Mostly I’m thrilled to be done because now I can move on. I already have a new project under way—kitchen towels!

I am going to leave the pesky scarves out, in plain sight, for a while though. I want to grin at them.

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76 thoughts on “Finally, A Finish

    • It’s true–working on something can cause you both to overvalue it *and* undervalue it. I think I’ll like these scarves better after I put them way for awhile.

  1. The scarves are both lovely. But I understand putting off an annoying project. I’ve done that many times and certainly remember the joy of finishing them!!!! Congratulations. Enjoy your new projects!

    • The scarves, to be honest, are prettier in person tan in my photos–this winter light is tough! But the glow of the warp was really subdued–oh, well, weave and learn.

      • I find it tough to photograph fabrics. I have been looking carefully at the way you photograph your linens for your Etsy store; trying to work out how you make them look so good. 🙂

      • The linens are extra difficult–all that white and those subtle damask designs! It absolutely takes natural light and it helps if the light is a strong, raking light from an angle. I stalk around the damask, looking for the right angles that show the patterns!

      • When the sunshine returns I shall have a go. By the way, did you catch a glimpse of my vintage tablecloth adorning the lavender bush in my video? I was trying to rid it of its old, been in a box too long smell. I succeeded. 🙂

      • How did I miss that?! I tend to get so distracted by linens that they’re all I see in people’s photos, etc. I’ll have to go back and re-visit. And, yes sunshine and a breeze are magic for removing smells. I have an old Singer sewing machine and the case smelled BAD–mildew, etc. I put it outside on a couple of sunny days, so the sun could beat into it–problem solved!

  2. Congratulations on finishing and with such lovely product. I do get the disappointment and delay, having gone through that myself on things. Almost always when done — and after a little time has gone by — I like my work better than I expected.

    I’ve been wondering if you’ve been weaving, so am glad to get the update.

    • If this had been a quilt, I’d’ve stuffed it in a closet and moved on to another one. But the weaving was taking up my loom! I couldn’t move on until it was done (short of cutting the warp off and I’m too cheap/stubborn to do that!) Yes, i’ve been weaving some (more on the new project) and quilting and doing all kinds of odds and ends!

  3. They’re lovely 🙂 Personally, I prefer the one with the light weft, but they’re both wonderful 🙂 Well done for finally finishing them, you’ve given me inspiration to push on through the painful end of my blanket

  4. I’m in love with the darker scarf as the warp shows off better on that one. Yeah, predicting the outcome of warp and weft color combinations is head scratching. I recall being shocked when a gold warp and a blue weft produced a green cloth. Duh! And before I forget, that Smokey Joe is one good looking cat, and doesn’t he just know it.

  5. The interaction of color when weaving is like nothing else, that’s for sure! It’s what makes it fascinating/frustrating. Years ago I mostly wove with Harrisville Designs wool and so I wove a color gamp or two. In case you don’t know, that’s a color study using the same colors in the warp and the weft so you can get an idea of what they do. If there is a particular sort of fiber you like, it may be a good project. Mine is long gone but it hung on whatever wall was by the loom. I am getting myself ready to weave again -finally- and just saw an interesting looking warp on Pinterest. It will just be rag runners again for the kitchen table, but this warp idea will be fun and a big pain in the butt to wind and thread…stay tuned!

    • I’m glad to hear you’re ready to weave again–exciting! I know about gamps (and did one, sort of, with rosepath variations) but I haven’t done a color one yet. Did you do yours in plain weave? That’s another complicating factor–the color interactions would be different in plain weave than in twill than in something else. Boggles my mind.

      • I think I did it in twill as I was wanting to weave scarves with HD wool (and I see they don’t carry what I used to buy then!) I was in love with all twill variations and since that was what I would be weaving, I thought it would be more interesting and useful. I am winding a warp now! Nothing exciting; more rag runners to make sure the loom is working. ;-D

  6. All I can see is what is right with them! They are beautiful, lovely! From someone who tried weaving for a few years, these sing! You are very talented Kerry!

  7. Ah yes – I can see why you would be disappointed at the loss of that fabulous sheen and pure colour – but I think I see a little of it in the left hand scarf, last photo…….? Or maybe it is just the lighting? Or the effect of the pattern on my unsteady early morning eyes …… Sigh!!

    I know this disappointment so well – I have been playing with beads trying to make a mobile light catcher that is pleasing to the senses. The two I struggled through were not! That idea has been put aside for now. I figure, like you, I am learning what doesn’t work – eventually what does will become clear! Enjoy the towels!

  8. I think they’re nice, but another time you want a warp to shine, sett it much closer and use a neutral weft just to hold it together, not to show much. There are so many options sometimes when deciding on a pattern, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and never even begin! So good on you for getting it done.

    • The nuances of warp-faced and weft-faced weaving are way beyond me at this point. Of course, if I would sample before I put a 6 yard warp on, I could learn the hard lessons up front and make adjustments. Can’t quite seem to make myself sample . . .

  9. The scarves look lovely to me, but as a fellow crafter, I understand the disappointment one can sometimes feel if something does not turn out as expected. Onward, though, ever onward! 🙂

  10. Time-consuming and difficult projects like this can be so satisfying…once they’re actually done! I like to work on quick, easy-to-finish projects in between projects like this so they don’t get me down. Your end result turned out great! Both have beautiful qualities of their own.

    • My new project isn’t exactly quick and easy but it’s much more forgiving and spontaneous–kitchen towels with somewhat random stripes of color. So far, so good!

  11. I understand your disappointment – I still have disappointments after 40+ years of weaving but as long as I learn I consider it all worthwhile. The scarves look lovely (and photos don’t always show the nature of fibre and colour). A little closer sett when weaving an undulating twill usually prevents the shifting. Hope the kitties are learning to behave themselves.

    • The photos don’t really do justice, you’re right, plus we’ve had gray, winter light to boot. I do think i should’ve sett the warp closer–I had to do this with a tabby weft and had not used two shuttles before! That slowed me down, for sure! The kitties are *not* learning to behave . . . sigh. Good thing they’re cute!

  12. Both scarves are amazing. I know exactly what you’re talking about with grinning–usually it happens to me with a cleaning project, but it has happened with creative endeavors as well. My current stalled project is my table runner. But I’ll be grinning at it once it’s finished!

    • Oh, I grin at a clean house, too, and wonder why I don’t clean more often, since I like the outcome so much! You should’ve worked on your table runner while you were snowed in–you were having too much fun playing in the snow!

  13. The scarves look amazing ti me, but I know nothing of weaving. I think you did wonderfully. The colors are stunning together, I don’t know which one I love best!

  14. Oh, Kerry, I think they are gorgeous! Two of my favorite colors and I love the shine and shimmer of the yarn! Not sure I would have gotten past the skeins sitting on the table and grinning at just them! But I do appreciate wanting to have work ‘laying’ around and being able to appreciate it. Your scarves are pieces of art, and displaying them a must! great and beautiful work!!

    • Thank you! These seem to be my favorite sorts of colors, too, other than the classic red, blue, off-white combos. It was especially nice to weave saturated colors in these bleak mid-winter gray days.

  15. Such lovely green! Congrats on finishing the projects, and know that to my eye, you have succeeded beautifully! Have you shown photos of Gigi? Probably so and I’ve just missed them. Share a link if you find a moment!

    • Thanks, Laurie–they are pretty. I just wanted them to be even prettier (whine!) I haven’t shared photos of Miss Gigi since the introductory post–the link to that is in this post.

  16. Wow, what beautiful scarves! I’ve never done any weaving but they look very time intensive, with that dainty pattern. I’m so impressed! I have those projects too, that sit there untouched for weeks or months because I’m worried that I won’t be able to do justice to the idea I have in my head of what they should look like. It feels good to get them off the “to do” pile 🙂

    • Weaving is time intensive, as well as using a lot of tools that take up a lot of space. And, as you put so well, it’s often difficult, for me anyway, to feel like I’ve done justice to the image I start with–weaving is hard to figure out in many ways! But fun!

  17. From here I see two beautiful scarves in my favorite colors. Congratulations on finishing the project. I’m sorry you’ve been disappointed. It’s hard to finish something that doesn’t feel quite right. I bet there is both relief and satisfaction and of course lots of lessons learned.

    As I read through the comments, it occurs to me that weaving is complicated business. I didn’t know. I hope you’ll find more joy as you go along. I enjoyed this post.

    • You know, I do like the scarves now that they are finished–it was just such a slog! I think i need to relax more about weaving and remind myself that it IS complicated and I am still very new to it. I want to be an instant expert!!

  18. “Have you ever wanted something really bad and then, when you got it, all you could do was just sit there and grin?”

    Yes. When I order pizza.

    As to smiling in rapture at a finished piece – a drawing, in my case – I might afford myself a slight lessening of artistic stress, but that’s all! I’m afraid that I might jinx myself for when I start the next work.

    I love these scarves – they have the illuminated look of Celtic manuscripts.

    • Oh, yes, pizza–it’s hard not to grin at pizza! This is such a nice comment, especially that part about illuminated manuscripts–I feel better about the scarves already! Come back any time! 😉

  19. Beautiful pattern, to my eye. I am reminded of coverlets, which used to be a strong tradition in this part of the Appalachian Mountains a couple hundred years ago. Now quilts (of worthy style) have taken hold of the crafty-minded folks. Weaving requires a completely different type of skill. 2F this morning (no, I did not leave off a decimal point). I take one of those scarves off your hands if you decide that you are not satisfied with how the pattern came out 🙂
    Oscar

    • I think you’re right that quilting is much more “in” right now. I do both weaving and quilting–I’m on my own in my region for the weaving, pretty much, but there are TONS of quilters. Serious weaving takes so much expensive equipment . . .

  20. Pingback: My Natural Habitat | Love Those "Hands at Home"

  21. I love both these scarves – the colours and patterns are beautiful! Great that your patience was rewarded – I am sure I would have given up! Now you have a couple of unique and stylish scarves to wear! 😀

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