One of the lessons that weaving teaches is patience. All kinds of patience – the ‘take a deep breath and count to 10’ patience when something easily preventable happens; the ‘am I dedicated enough to the quality of this piece that I unweave those picks to sort out that mistake?’ patience; the ‘can I be disciplined enough to weave a sample to check how it’s going to end up when wet-finished?’ patience; and just the normal sort of patience that you need to go and fix that broken end rather than weave on.
I think weaving should be compulsory to teach patience! I am smiling as I write those words because I know that many would disagree with me, and to some extent, I disagree with myself! Patience is a valuable life lesson to learn and many of us find that, through our weaving, we are more patient with other people, and also with things that go wrong just for the sheer hell of it!! On the other hand, would I want weaving to be seen as a life’s lesson? No, of course not. If someone has no interest in it, it would be purgatory for them and put them off weaving for life – like liver and peas for me!!
And of course, we learn best when we are doing something we enjoy. There are many other ways to learn patience, but for me weaving has been the best teacher. I can’t honestly say that it works every time. Just today, one of my baby jacquard looms was having a hissy fit – not lifting certain ends – and in the end I realised it was down to my lack of a maintenance routine on the card-cutting and lacing equipment, and the loom itself. Whilst I realised and appreciated that, I was somewhat frustrated because I was in the middle of weaving a project, and the cards were not presenting themselves accurately to the jacquard head which meant that quite a few cards ended up mangled with resultant mis-picks. At the beginning of my 2 hour session, I went up and down the ladder quite frequently, and with a certain amount of laissez-faire. By the end of my 2 hour session, I was more bad-tempered whenever the recalcitrant cards came up, and less likely to go up the ladder to fix it. A salutary tale to remind me that maintenance must be done when I’m not actually using the machinery!!!
Patience with machinery is one thing – they can’t answer back so it doesn’t matter if you vent a little – but patience with people is totally different. Some people are incredibly patient – I’m thinking particularly here about people who care for little ones, for the elderly, for people with disabilities, to name but a few – and they are never valued financially as they should be. Trying to be patient with my little problems in weaving makes me appreciate much more the incredible job that so many people do for so little reward.