The end of the year is a natural time for reflection and planning. In my house, it is the season of shredding, as I go through the year’s paperwork and decide what to file and what to toss! But that instinct to review and refine can also be applied to our creative practice. It’s an opportunity to celebrate what we have accomplished and to set ourselves challenges to work on. Here are a few simple steps towards creating your weaving plan for 2016.
So what did you weave in 2015? This is the basic question to ask yourself. If you have been keeping records, it will be quite an easy question to answer! Even if you haven’t, it’s still worth making a list of all the things you have made — a list that will almost certainly be longer than you were expecting.
There is no “right way” to do this; it will depend on your preferences and circumstances. Do you still have what you wove? Lucky you! You’ll be able to gather it all in one place. Even if you don’t have the work itself, you can collect together your samples and notes. Maybe you post images of your weaving on Facebook or Instagram. Now is the time to look at them altogether.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What have I woven? (Scarves, towels, blankets, yardage…)
- What yarns did I use? (What fibers, what yarn count, were they handspun?)
- What weave structures did I use? (Twills, plain weave, overshot, summer and winter…)
- What do these pieces have in common? How do they differ?
- Which were most successful in meeting the original goal? Which were least successful?
- Which pieces surprised me the most? Why?
- Which pieces delighted me the most? Why?
- Were there any problem pieces that drove me nuts?
- What did I try that was new to me, and how did it turn out?
Now that you are in the swing of it, I am sure you can think of many more! Set aside at least an hour or two for this review so that you can dig into some of the more challenging questions.
Then reflect on what you have learned. Are there any key themes? Have you tried a lot of different techniques or focused more on one or two favorites? Are the pieces you liked best the ones you planned meticulously or the ones where you improvised as you went along? Are there problems that come up repeatedly?
Wow, look at all that weaving you did last year! What comes next?
Maybe you are anticipating 366 wonderful days of weaving in 2016 and you’re happy to dive in. But if you like to set goals for yourself, now is a great time to do that. There are several ways to decide what your goals will be.
Use the themes that you found in your review to identify the interests you want to develop. For instance, you might have sampled a lot of different weaves and feel that now you would like to explore one structure more deeply. Or maybe you have woven one structure to death and are itching to broaden your horizons! Each of us is different in the interests we want to pursue, so there is no right or wrong answer here: your loom, your choice.
Are there any specific skills that you would like to address? Maybe you noticed that you struggled with your warp tension in several pieces — let this be the year you develop perfect tension. Maybe you would like to be more adventurous with color, but don’t know how to start. You might decide to seek out books on color theory, take a class or experiment weaving some color gamps.
Is there a personal goal you would like to achieve, such as making something for a special occasion or submitting your work to a particular show? What are the milestones you will need to get you to that goal? For instance, you might want to weave several sample pieces with different yarns, or you might want to develop other skills such as sewing or warp-painting.
Two for one!
You might find that some of these goals fit together well. For example, perhaps you have woven lots of projects from books and magazines but would like to take the first steps in creating your own drafts. Why not set a goal to create an original piece for a special occasion? That will give you the end point to work toward while you develop your skills in drafting.
Whatever you choose to weave, the most important thing is that it should bring you pleasure. So here’s to happy weaving in 2016!
Keep Track of Your Weaving This Year!
Download a free template for taking thorough weaving notes — next year, you’ll be able to reflect on your weaving with ease!