The horoscope shawl was a present to myself for my 50th Birthday. I somehow thought that it would help me understand myself at a deeper level and provide closure to a period of ill health. At the same time I am not in the habit of giving to myself. It proved to be quite an experience. I am a novice weaver and had never worked with such a draft as my experience of weaving had been limited to some scarves in tabby and twill. However, I like a challenge and undaunted got to work on the draft which Bonnie had sent me . Warping was interesting and a beautiful experience. I decided on 3 warps of 120 each and labelled them as such as I had only ever worked with 1 warp on my Ashford Table loom. Then there were simply not enough heddles on the loom so had to order some more and master that process. Putting on the warps proved tricky as I had inverted one of them so it had to come off and be repositioned. Next I wound on the warp with the help of my husband and it simply looked too slippery and slack on the loom so rewound it and rewound it again. I had put it under the beam at the back instead above and the same in the front so had to untie and restart. 3 attempts followed to put it through the heddles as I had not centred it well enough and 2 attempts at sleying the warp. I am not one to give up easily but when I wound the warp up again back and forth the threads started to break at the sides and I was close to tears. My weaving teacher offered to come and have a look and told me I had made a classic beginners mistake of not having my piece of paper wide enough so that the threads on the outside were under more tension than those on the paper and thus the threads would break. After some reassurance and winding the warp through the reed and tying the ends on each end, it looked about ready to weave. I had spun red tussah silk for the weft and was finally ready to weave. Weaving can be a reflection of life and weaving my horoscope shawl had many similarities to how my life had played out up until that point. The shawl is a bit shorter than I had planned and has a few frayed ends but that is a fair reflection of me. I love wearing my shawl and what it has brought me so far. Something I learned over the years: happiness is within, so take care of yourself and find peace within. The rest will take care of itself. If you address the outside before the inside, the outside will only reflect the imbalance within. People comment so much on the beauty of the shawl that the whole experience and its challenges has definitely been worth it.
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