Weaving a fine mess

A friend invited me to try saori weaving. Excited by new crafts and adventures in Japanese, I happily accepted.

I spent about 2 hours seated at a loom and came away with 2 table mats. Up close, I think they look pretty darn good.

If you step back to admire the view, you might think, “Eh! Not bad for a beginner!”

And then you step back just a little bit more, and … oh. Well. That’s quite a mess.

I’m not sure what happened. I’m a pretty handy person, usually. But weaving is hard. Well OK, the truth is it’s simple but I lack coordination. It also might have been useful to ask questions, which I couldn’t.

I wanted to ask the instructor why the edges were so wonky, and what could be done to prevent that from happening? In Japanese, I said: “It’s not cute! Why?”

Her response: “Nice job!”

And so, I trudged ahead and with plummeting expectations, finished my mostly-crooked table mats.

I was disappointed over my failed attempt until I started doing a little more internet-peeping. I learned that saori style weaving is known for its imperfections and celebrates the beauty that evolves from mistakes.

Perhaps I did get it right.

If you’re in Tokyo and interested in trying saori weaving, you can visit Jota in either Kichijoji or the Seibu department store in Ikebukuro (7th floor). Contact them in advance to schedule use of the loom, cost is 1000 yen for 3 hours plus 15 yen/gram for yarn used (my table mats were less than 500 yen each). More photos of my weaving adventure coming soon!

16 thoughts on “Weaving a fine mess

  1. One of grandma’s expressions is “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”
    It is fun trying something new, and since you are dealing with a language barrier, I think you did great.
    xo Aunt Carol Ann

  2. I agree with your instructor-Nice job! The edges of handwovens (and handknits) are often wonky like that, especially when you’re first starting. Don’t be so hard on yourself> They ‘re really beautiful and I like them a lot.

  3. I wish I could try saori weaving. Though honestly, I wish I could try weaving at all. I’ve always wanted to be able to, but I don’t have access to a loom or anything else I can use.

    I really like those placemats. Even if they do have wonky edges, I think that gives them personality, and it’s always nice to be able to look back in later years and see how your styles have changed!

  4. They’re lovely, Angie! I think it’s actually more beneficial to make mistakes rather than getting it all right the first time, because then you know where the pitfalls are. This way, you know which parts require special attention & care.

    I’ve always wanted to try weaving too, but haven’t had a chance to yet. But seeing your projects have reminded me of it…!

    • Yuki, that is such great advice! I took this class is Ikebukuro and it was relatively inexpensive … let me know if you want to go together sometime!

  5. Pingback: Weaving // slide, clack, smack, switch « Saké Puppets

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