Weaving and Project Management

Weaving on a rigid heddle loom, how complicated can it be? You warp the loom, roll the yarn on the back beam, tie onto the front beam, and weave. Move the heddle up, push through the shuttle, beat, move the heddle down, push through the shuttle, beat, repeat. How much can there be to philosophize about?

Well, when I’m weaving, my hands are busy but my brain gets bored quickly and makes lots of random connections – like weaving and project management. Currently, my favorite weaving project involves picking an assortment of yarns (people) to create a beautiful scarf (product). I assign positions in the slots and holes of the heddle (tasks) in a pleasing combination where each individual yarn can stand out but also complement each other. I try to be a supportive weaver (manager) and in return I expect my yarns (team) to collaborate and work well together.

But as we all know, a project doesn’t always go smoothly. Some fancy yarns like to stick together and make it difficult to beat the weft into place. Other yarns don’t want to ride up and down in the slots like they should. So you find gentle ways to encourage them to move to where they are needed. But periodically, one gets by you and you find yourself backing up a few rows to correct the mistake. And your weft yarn gets wrapped around the warp yarns as you’re backing up and you spend 15 minutes undoing the tangles. And you wonder why you thought this combination was going to work, and you just want to break down into tears. And maybe this won’t work and your customers (boss) won’t approve. But you forge on and wrangle the yarns back into place. And periodically, you let the mistake go because sometimes you just have to let your yarns do their own thing. But then you hit a section where you’re not very happy with how the colors are looking and all the doubts start coming back. And you know that they are not paying you enough.

And then you finally finish weaving, wash it, finish up the fringe, and realize your team came together to create a beautiful piece. So you put it up for sale and start in on the next project. And the customer who buys your scarf will never know all the angst that went into that gorgeous finished scarf.

This scarf can be purchased at etsy.com/shop/weavingajourney.

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