"Woven Blessings"
Winter 2000

by Sheri L. VanDuyn

Proverbs 31:13 "She selects wool and flax and works willingly with eager hands."

This verse in Proverbs has always been a favorite of mine. It is easy to remember, as the chapter and verse are transposed 31 to 13. Of course Proverbs carries much wisdom and Chapter 31:10-31 holds an Epilogue on The Wife of Noble Character. Selected verses are more applicable in today's society. I have used the above text to plead my case in purchasing reed and various weaving materials or attending workshops and conventions.

God has all things in His hands - the materials, the patterns, and of course the overall design. As you weave and create in basketry, it's the upright spokes that give strength. When reaching the end of the row as you weave and select your patterns, what must you do? Your weaving material must be overlapped to strengthen or certainly the weaving will come undone if the two pieces only meet.

I have always enjoyed reading this following poem:

devotional My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Ofttimes He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reasons why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.
              -Author Unknown

I have come across this poem many times and yet even though the weaving terms are very familiar; it wasn't until I took a graduate course on Floor Looms that I came to realize that as a weaver the terminology now made perfect sense.

God seeing the upper side means you are weaving on a floor loom using shuttles to carry your colorful yarns. Creating a pattern, yarn ends or tails are left out on top. Later these pieces can be tied together; knotting off strengthens the continual weave. The upper side is actually facing down away from the weaver sitting on a bench of the floor loom. Working from this workbench, the weaver must physically get off and look up at the fabric pattern that is being woven.

The warp as it is called is the main framework dressing a loom. The warp is usually stronger than the weft or the patterns you weave. A good warp holds together a good weaving.

Take a functional woven article like a rug. My Grandmother Jennie was a member of a church rug group that met for years. The ladies gathered weekly to rip old clothes or fabrics and sew the pieces together. These long strips were used for the weft of the weaving. Old jeans were torn, sewn, and then woven to make wonderful heavy rugs. Many ladies sewed, yet only one or two would actually weave on the floor loom. Tying off each rug was a group effort. The Ladies' Circle as this rug group was called would sell their appealing woven creations of various colors and lengths. The money raised was given to church, school and various charities.

There was only one problem, the ladies wove the rugs so tightly and durable, that these functional rugs would never need to be replaced. I was fortunate to receive one of these lovingly crafted rugs from my Grandmother as a shower gift. This rug has been constantly used and after 24 years is just starting to unravel. I cherish the rug, the strength of the weaving and the love interwoven.

Look for the strong cords woven in your life. God is holding those as well as the weak pieces that need to be overlapped. A triple woven cord is not easily broken. I like to think of the three separate cords as my family, my relationship to God, and myself. Of course, there are always loose threads along the way. Twisted together, they will not fray or come unraveled. God is the Master Weaver and only He knows when the Tapestry is complete.

Return to: Just Patterns Magazine

Just Patterns

The Idea Magazine for Basketmakers

(616) 846-7926 *