I’ve always noticed this: The day you decide you want a blue car of a certain make and model is the day you start seeing them everywhere. Much like when you learn a new word, you suddenly notice it being used in all sorts of ways. Recently, I heard a phrase that went along the lines of “If you try, you may fail, but if you don’t try, you will fail for sure.” Then, of course, I heard it again—maybe not the exact wording but with the same sentiment. I took it more seriously the second time because, clearly, the cosmos was sending me a message, and in my world, the message might be about weaving.
It made me sit up straight and start wondering whether there are things I don’t do because I’m afraid of failing. I understand other fears, but fear of failure, while common, doesn’t seem very useful except to everyone who doesn’t have it.
I’m not exactly sure if fear of failure includes skills that you just aren’t good at or those that you just aren’t interested in. For example, although I understand the basics of tapestry and admire tapestry, I don’t think I’m very good at it and I’m not interested in being good at it. I feel like my skills are better used elsewhere in the weaving world. The same thing applies to dyeing—I dabble in it, I read about it, and I love hand-dyed textiles, but I’ll probably never pursue it to the point of being good at it. Here’s my fear of failure: 120/2 silk. I have some, but I can’t seem to bring myself to put it on my loom. I want the scarf woven with it, but my fear of ends breaking while I wind on and weave stops me.
I’ve seen fear of failure paralyze would-be weavers. I recently chimed in on a Facebook post by someone seeking advice on how to get started on a rigid-heddle loom. The person had read everything about direct warping, and watched videos about it, but was afraid to start. While everyone else suggested baby steps, my advice was to grab yarn and jump in feet first. I don’t know what the baby steps would be when direct warping. You are either warping or not warping—and there aren’t any places in between. I can almost guarantee that five minutes after starting that would-be weaver would be a weaver.
I’m keeping fear of failure in the back of my mind for the rest of this year. I’m going to try weaving with that silk and try anything else that I’ve thought about weaving but was worried wouldn’t work. Why let the people without fear of failure have all the fun?
Featured Image: Stephanie Flynn Sokolov fearlessly designed and wove her Silk Scarf, Loom Theory 2018 – Rigid-heddle Scarf Collection. Photo by Caleb Young, Good Folk Photography.
Fearless rigid-heddle weaving is a thing! Check out Little Looms and Loom Theory for projects you can weave without fear.