I think it’s the nature of handmade work to create finished pieces that are all slightly different from each other. On the other hand, when I’m weaving for function, I can get pretty darn close to identical finished pieces.
At the end of a warp I may have 12 towels that look very similar, measure-up within an inch of each other, but they are never exactly the same. I probably slipped with my measuring tape, or got a little lost in the rhythm of the beater and shuttle and made this one just a little too long. I may have gotten to the end of my warp and eeeked out all I could from the tightest shed before finishing the last towel just a centimeter or two short.
When making products for store shelves or booth walls, I want to have a consistent, even, similar feel with all my works. But that just isn’t the nature of how creative work happens. No matter how perfectly I plan, there is always variation because I am human.
Sometimes the difference is small enough to ignore, I can include these imperfections in the set of towels and feel confident that each one will serve its purpose. But if the mistake is too big, if the variation is too obvious I might pull that item out of the set and look for another purpose for this purpose-less cloth.
These three pot holders are made from an assortment of imperfect woven items, I will never make another thing like them, and I love them dearly.
+the cotton lace weaving that failed at being a scarf
+the lambswool cloth from the end of a shawl warp
+the cottolin towel that was much too short