Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The return of the Navajo loom

With the coming of spring, my Navajo loom goes into hibernation; I suppose estivation is a better word. But it is now winter and time to dig it out. You can go back to previous posts to see where it was. The first job was to finish the diagonal stripes. This took some doing but I did it.
The stripes are done. The heddle stick has been removed. It no longer works. The shed stick is still in place. Now it is time to weave up to the top. We keep the shed stick (the white piece of round plastic) in place as long as possible. This allows us easily go left-to-right; it is all blunt needle work, but just push it through the shed. The opposite way is much harder. You have to go in front of the front warps and around the back warps. No shortcucts in a Navajo loom. In a modern loom, of course, you have cloth "beams" that allow you to weave forever. But a Navajo loom is fixed-length. We deal with it. Takes us five minutes or less left-to-right (the way I weave) and about ten minutes to go back.
You can see the loops of the needle as I go back. I have replaced the plastic shed stick by a thinner shed stick. This allows me to go a few centimeters higher. Anything to preserve at least one shed! We're getting there....
This afternoon, I replaced the thin shed stick by a steel rod. Not very Navajo, but effective. Thanks to Rachel Brown's book. We are about done. After this it's weave all the way to the top, two-by-two. Remove rod and weave under two warps, over two warps. End game for sure.

You could always leave fringes at the end. No true Dineh weaver would even think of this. I may not be Dineh, but I respect tradition. To the top we will go., cost what it may.

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