Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weaving a Navajo Rug, day two

Again, today we did more work on our Navajo rug, well, not really a Navajo rug, but something much more primitive. After warping the loom with dark brown cotton at 6 ends per inch, and twenty nine inches in width, I remembered that I should have warped it out much further, because there is always a little draw-in, at least an inch on either side. I would think that the Navajo rug weavers had saddle blankets in mind, or blankets that would fit comfortably on a horse. That is why I chose twenty nine or thirty inches for the width of the Navajo rug. I also remembered that I should have double warped the heddles on the ends, as these take much stress, and invariably keep breaking. In any event, I started the weaving. As foreseen, the most difficult part is trying to get the weft packed in tight enough. The handspun yarn I used packs in really well. It is a single ply. I wonder if the Navajo rug weavers used a single or double ply yarn? It would be worthwhile to know. I pull at the warp by first pressing the beam against the weft and then on the other side, manually pull groups of five or six warp strings at a time. Unfortunately, the cotton warp is starting to snap. I may have to start all over! Someone suggested a warp with polyester. I suppose it is stronger, however, I hate polyester! I doubt that the Native American weavers and artisans would stoop to using polyester yarn in a Navajo rug. (to be continued)