If you've never woven before, never woven on a Mirrix loom before or have never woven a large piece before, it's normal to feel a little bit intimidated. Where you do you start? What project do you choose? What if you make a mistake?
My 2018 weaving goal is to "go big" as far as project size and I'm feeling a little bit intimidated myself, so I absolutely understand and came up with five tips to help you, and me, get started!
1.) Start with an easy project
There have been a few times that I have taught both tapestry and bead weaving classes with students who had ideas that were just a little bigger than their skill sets. The enthusiasm is fantastic, but taking on a big or complex project as a beginner often leads to frustration. I always recommend that beginners start with a simple project so they can begin to gain confidence and build their skills. The same is true when starting your first piece on a new loom if you're feeling at all unsure about the loom's size or capabilities.
If warping seems scary, use the Easy Warp Method. If you have a new loom and a treadle and the treadle is making you a little nervous, make your first piece without it. If you aren't sure about using the shedding device, don't use it at first.
Here are two great free project for beginners that won't be too intimidating:
The Textural Tapestry Wall-Hanging
The Queen Nefertiti Beaded Bracelet
2.) Start with a wide sett, or a small piece
There's a lot to be said for success when building confidence. Starting with a physically small piece and/or a piece woven with a wide sett (read: thick yarn or big beads) if you're not feeling confident is always a good idea because you can go through the whole process of warping, weaving and finishing faster than if you had started with a larger piece. Once you have that success, you'll gain confidence and be able to take on more!
3.) Give yourself permission to make this piece an experiment
Especially when you have a tendency towards perfectionism, it can be hard to go into weaving a piece expecting it to be anything less than perfect, but giving yourself permission to make a piece an experiment can really help alleviate fear of failure. Recently, I have been playing with tapestry at two different setts and I wasn't sure how some of my ideas were going to materialize. Instead of planning my final piece first, I planned an experimental piece to play with the techniques and the setts and the yarn that I wanted to use. I learned a lot from that piece and went on to start an even better piece with lots of confidence.
4.) Make a Plan
Make a plan, even if that plan is vague. For me, at least, having a plan makes everything easier. If I warp up a loom and try to wing it, I am way more likely to fail. Having a plan helps you succeed and, as I said before, success helps your confidence!
5.) Jump in
When I was a kid there was a lake we used to kayak and canoe at. On one side of the lake there was a rope swing. You could paddle over to the shore, grab the swing, climb up the hill and then swing out over the lake and jump into the water. It was the kind of thing that didn't seem scary until you were up on that hill holding the swing. One day my brother lost his nerve as he swung out over the water and he didn't jump. The swing headed back to the shore and he smashed into a tree. He was fine, but the lesson was clear: Jumping in is ultimately less painful than facing your fear. This is oh-so-true with weaving. What's the worst that can happen? Jump in, warp your piece and make tons of mistakes. You might hate the piece you make, but you're going to learn and you're going to have a great time doing so!
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