Just Say Go – Pam Mondry

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Being fairly new to weaving, cutting off a project before finishing it is something I have never done.  I pride myself on finishing all my projects with the highest quality I can muster. Cutting a project off the loom before it is done is something I thought I would never have to do.  Not me. You see, I follow through on my plans.   And then I started my double weave taquete flag pillow cover project. I started this project with the best intentions. The idea was to weave a pillow cover using a complicated double weave. The design was unique and challenging, just the kind of project I enjoy. I had worked out the difficult technical aspects of the design and chosen my yarn purposefully. This was going to be a technical triumph, proof that I could make a difficult design work – and it did work.

The pattern I designed worked and I figured out a very complex treadling and shuttle throwing pattern. Fantastic! The problem was, the complexity made weaving extremely tedious. On top of that, the yarn I selected for the weft made progress dishearteningly slow. Weaving took so much concentration I found it exhausting to weave for more than an hour. It was not enjoyable. I succeeded with my “technical triumph” only to realize that weaving it to completion was becoming a chore.

Meticulous notes for Pam’s project

I found myself doing anything but face my weaving project. Days of idleness became weeks, and then I started thinking, “I need to” or “I have to” or “just sit down and force yourself through it”, cajoling myself into weaving. Weaving!  The thing that brings me joy and freedom was becoming a burden.

Fast forward 6 months to Spinzilla. During a session when our team spun together, conversation shifted to weaving. I commented that I had this tedious project on my loom and that I had to finish but was having a difficult time facing it.

This is an approximation of the conversation that followed:

Me: “I have a project that has been on my loom for 6 months.”

Stephanie: “Six months? Why?”

Me: “Well, it’s really tedious to weave and the progress is slow. I am having a hard time facing it because it takes so much energy to weave.”

Stephanie: “Is it keeping you from Weaving?”

Me: “Yes.”

Stephanie: “Then cut it off.”

Me: “What?! Cut it off? I can’t do that! It is not done. I have so much time and money put into it. I can’t do that!”

That conversation got me thinking. I had taken an art class many years ago and the teacher told me that when doing art, particularly when learning, you need to be open to walking away from a project if it was poisoning your enthusiasm and energy for the art. That is exactly what this design was doing to me. My pride, determination, and frugality were telling me that I had to finish this project. I had so much time and money invested in it that I could not stop. What a waste it would all be if I stopped! All my hard work would come to naught! But I had to admit, my enjoyment of weaving was suffering. I realized my creative juices had stopped flowing. Guilt was stabbing at my heart every time I looked at my loom. Far from bringing me joy, my loom was the origin of the weighty feelings of “should” and “have to”. Stephanie was right. My art teacher was right. Having this lingering project on the loom was sapping the joy out of weaving for me. It was time to cut it off. Decision made!

To my surprise, making that decision was freeing and nerve-wracking at the same time. I felt joy, real joy, and relief just by making the decision. But somewhere underneath I also felt disappointment, fear, and guilt. I had to ask myself why I felt the negative feelings. What was getting in my way? This is what I came up with: I felt disappointment because I was not going to follow through on something I started, fear because of the cost of the wasted yarn, guilt because somehow cutting an unfinished project off the loom makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong.

Now what? Could I really just cut it off? Even with the doubt. As it turns out, the answer was yes. To do it I had to ignore the doubts and boldly move forward. I decided to announce loudly to my family, “I’m cutting this project off the loom.” Then with scissors in hand, I walked up to the loom and, with their gasps still echoing in the background, cut the warp threads in sweeps. If I had allowed myself to think too much I might not have done it. But I did! My project is off the loom and it feels great! I have already started thinking about what’s next. I can’t wait.

I know it can be hard to face a project that just lingers on and on. If it is keeping you from weaving and is hanging over you like a weight, cut it off.  Just say, “Go!” It was very freeing for me. I hope it will be for you.

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Pam Mondry

Pam Mondry is a computer engineer with a past work history at HP and Levi Strauss & Co. As a recent weaving enthusiast Pam came to us looking for a way to combine her new-found passion with her professional life. Pam lives in Evergreen, Colorado with her teenage son and husband.