NAVAJO STYLE WEAVING INTERLOCKED VERTICAL JOINS
I have come to a place on my new weaving where there are color changes in the same row. There are several ways to approach this and I’m choosing to use the interlocked vertical join. It’s called a join because two colors will join in the same row. Its Vertical, because as I weave the line between the colors will be vertical, not diagonal or horizontal. Its interlocked because the two colors will hook around each other to become one between the warp threads. To make more sense of this post for people that don’t weave or aren’t familiar with weaving nomenclature, here is a definition of terms:
Fell Line – The place where the last weft was placed and the next weft will go.
Pick – Is one pass of the weft in one shed. Either from left to right, or right to left.
Selvages – The very sides or edges of the weaving.
Shed – The space that’s created that the weft travels.
Warp – The threads that travel up and down the loom, the length of the weaving.
Weft – The yarn that travels side to side, over and under the warp threads.
I took a workshop in New Mexico with Sarah Natani and learned the way the Navajo or Dine` perform this task. It’s unique to their weaving methods and I like it. They also use what is known as a Shared warp or turned warp join. Those are great for diagonals and short vertical joins, but this line will run the length of my weaving and too long for anything but the Interlock. One unique aspect of this method of interlock is that it interlocks in one direction only. In this video, there are only two vertical joins, I can’t progress my weaving any farther than where I am because I’m awaiting a yarn order. I also thought that if I waited to have a lot of joins it might look more confusing at first. It’s my intention to make another video at that point for comparison. I have the warping process recorded, but I have a lot of editing to do before its ready.
Explaining this technique is more difficult than doing it, but here is an attempt. When I have a pick that contains more than one color and I’m using an interlock join, I always start weaving with the weft that is LEFT most, no matter which direction the weft is traveling, and all the weft yarns are always traveling in the same direction. When the weft is traveling RIGHT, I start with the one in the left and it travels right to the next color and lays on top of the next yarn. Then the next color wraps over that weft and travels RIGHT until it encounters the next color, and so on. When my weft is traveling to the LEFT, I again start with the weft that is furthest to the LEFT, I give this a little (gentle) tug to straiten out the previous interlock and make it a little flatter and it travels to the LEFT, not interlocking, then I take the next left most weft and weave it to the color change where it waits till the next pick, and so on until all the wefts have woven. It’s when my weft travel to the right that they interlock.
One thing that I learned on this video, is that I have a tendency to add too much weft causing my weaving to ripple slightly. Since I’m in a place on this weaving where the fell line is well below my eye level, I didn’t realize that I was adding too much weft on this particular weaving. Only sometimes, but enough that it will cause a problem if I don’t work to correct it. So I’m paying extra attention to control that.
I hope to have a warping video edited and uploaded soon. It should come first but, carts and horses, who says which one comes first? I would also like to share how I go about designing my weaving’s. Even when I’m inspired by others, I draw out my plans. Another video when there are lots of color changes would be good, and one on finishing could be helpful as well. I’m not Navajo, and these videos can’t replace a native Navajo or Dine` teacher, but perhaps they will inspire or give some insight.