Weaving to me is a direct reflection of life. As a weaver, I often find myself comparing the process to life itself.  It has such a strong correlation that it is awe-inspiring.

The Draft

The first step in weaving is to select a draft. A draft is the pattern you follow for any design you want to make, and is usually set in grid pattern. Just a bunch of black and white squares, with no real indication of how the final project will look.

Life also requires a draft. What do you want your life to look like? What are your dreams? In order to create a life you love, you first need to know what direction you are going in. You color in a few squares, but only your imagination can tell you what it might look like.

Get Warped

Once you determine your draft, the next thing you have to do is measure the warp. The warp is the foundation of the woven piece, and also what holds the final project together. You wrap it around pegs on a board (called a warping board) in an orderly fashion. In life, your foundation is the first block in building a good life. It is made up of a loving family, an education, or a well-laid out plan. It is the dream of becoming a dancer, a farmer or a doctor.

Every measured warp has a weaver’s cross at one end. This cross helps you keep the warp threads in order as you thread your loom. When I measure warp, I reflect on the correlation to the cross of Jesus. Just as the weaver’s cross keeps the threads in order, He keeps my life in order – showing me what steps to make and which road I need to travel next. Without the weaver’s cross, my threads get tangled and difficult to handle. With Jesus, He helps me to untangle any knots and helps me through the things that make my world difficult.

Holding the cross pieces separate with four fingers, you begin to dress your loom by threading each strand through a dent and then through a heddle (a straight wire that is twisted to leave a hole in the middle). Warping the yarn most represents the way we lay our foundation. We choose a major/minor and take the courses needed for the degree. Our canvas, paints and brushes are gathered, and we begin practicing. Books are studied to learn  how to plant a garden, raise livestock and bake bread.

Tie One On

Once a loom is warped, the threads are tied on to the back or front beams. This is where you can determine if your warp is truly strong enough to withstand pressure. When weaving, this is considered your tension. In order to weave successfully, your warp needs to be tight to prevent sagging and problems.

In life, you strive to learn all you can to make a strong foundation; to put what you learn into practice and to see if it can withstand tension. If two warp threads cross, you go back and untwist them. When one breaks, you tie it back together.

If your warp thread breaks in life, it is time to determine if that path, that class, that idea, is strong enough to act as part of your foundation. If it is, go back and study a little more. Try a different heirloom tomato, if that one didn’t produce well in your geographic area. If necessary, replace it with a totally new thread – one that will help to make your foundation as strong as possible.

Ready to Start Weaving

To begin weaving, you usually do a few tabby weaves with an alternate thread to act as a hem or border to keep the weft of the main pattern secure and in place.

In life, this is where you take your life from dream to reality. You take a few cautious steps to make sure everything will hold together and won’t unravel. You find that dream job. The tiller and a hoe are ready to break ground for a new garden. New chicks are carefully placed in a brooder. You step out on stage and prepare to dance.

From there, you activate treadles that lift and lower the shafts and creates a shed for your shuttle, and a beater to tighten the warp.

Life is full of ups and downs. There are layoffs and have to search for a different job. We get a standing ovation when the dance is finished. The weather either floods our garden, or takes part in delivering the perfect harvest. The joys, the hardships, the trials and the mundane all weave together to create that beautiful pattern we call Life.

The Perfect Blend

Blending the warp and the weft together is where the colors blend, the pattern begins to take shape, and the beauty begins to reveal itself. It is where all the planning and hard work of building a sturdy foundation pays off. Yes, it takes a lot of our time. It isn’t always easy, but it pays off in the long run. As the two blend together, you begin to see how every thread, every throw and every color works together to make it beautiful.

All the trials, tears and laughter. And all those quiet moments of sheer contentment. These are the warp and weft of Life. And even though everyone’s pattern is different, all of them are truly beautiful works of art.

Do you have it?  Find out at Potential!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

4 Comments

    1. Author

      Thank you, Lisa!

  1. What a great comparison! I also weave on a Union 36 Loom. I am still learning though! Your project looks beautiful!

    1. Author

      How fun! I’m sure you do beautiful work as well. We may need to talk weaving soon!

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