I am almost finished weaving a towel when I realize something is off. I’m not where I’m supposed to be in the pattern. I take a deep breath, set down my shuttles and examine the cloth.
There it is, three inches back. A mistake if you want to call it that. A lapse in concentration.
I consider my options: continue weaving and call the towel a second or take out the three inches and reweave it. It’s only three inches so I decide to unweave.
Knowing how to unweave is an important skill. It means I can fix mistakes. More importantly, I am more open to trying pattern variations and color combinations. If I don’t like the way the cloth looks, I can take it out.
As a child, I knit, crocheted, sewed and embroidered. I also tried tatting lace, but I didn’t get far because I never learned how to undo it. Without the ability to fix a mistake, I didn’t feel free to experiment and so I lost interest.
When I discover a mistake while weaving, I sometimes sigh, maybe utter a choice swear word or two, but I don’t judge myself. It is simply a mistake and I know I have options.
I have been weaving a life in western Maryland. The license plates on my car say “Treasure the Chesapeake.” I know where to buy the dogs’ favorite treats. I have been accepted at two art fairs. This weekend I had lunch with a new friend. In the midst of this, we’ve run into complications with the sale of our house and it looks like we’ll be returning to California.
Moving 3000 miles is certainly a lot more work than unweaving three inches of cloth. But when I think of this potential move in terms of unweaving, I stop judging myself and start to relax.
There’s something about the slow, methodical process of unweaving that teaches forgiveness. I can go back to that place where something went wrong and then reweave. I can try a pattern variation, change my mind and unweave. It gives me hope that this is possible in life. That I can go back to that place where something went wrong and make amends. That I can start down one path, change my mind and head down a different path instead.
As I sit at the loom unweaving the towel, I know there is a lot of stress and packing ahead. But I also understand that the move to Maryland wasn’t a mistake. As my perspective shifts, I am grateful for my time here and for lessons from the loom.
My invitation to you: Now it’s your turn. What shapes your perspective on mistakes? I’d love to hear.