Navajo Weaving Progress
13 Inches To Go
I have made it to the top third part of my weaving. I have about 13 inches to weave before it’s finished. I have enjoyed this weaving quite a bit. As far as design goes; I wish I had made the pattern a bit more complicated, but I still like the clean lines and bold pattern. It has not been without its challenges. I shorted the warp by one pair, causing the center motifs to be off by one pair and narrowing the center inch by 1/4″. I “Under-designed” the center and realized that it needed more only after I was in the middle of my weaving. This caused me to back peddle and redesign the entire center area. I also have a habit of adding too much weft. While this can cause all sorts of maladies, I generally discover it when I develop a ripple and am able to straighten it out. I did have one spot on my weaving that seemed to be climbing higher than the rest. I couldn’t figure out why it kept happening in this one spot. Eventually, I realized that it must have to do with the warp and not the weft. I took a better look at it and noticed that my warp spacing was narrower in this spot than every where else. So I spread them apart and packed my weft in each pick to keep them properly spaced, problem solved. Keeping my design centered took a bit of measuring and planning once I hit the large central design. I wanted the center to be in the center and not a bit above or below. Since the top half of my weaving is a mirror image of the bottom, I need it to be centered and keep my stripes even.
Now that I’m at the top portion I still have a grocery list of things to keep an eye on and some personal weaving challenges to face. For one thing, I still need to keep an eye on my measurements. I don’t want to get to the top stripe only to find that its going to be an inch thicker than the bottom, or less for that matter. I have to deal with filling in any valleys in my weaving and keep those horizontal lines as straight as I can. A lot of people get bored with horizontal lines, but they are a real challenge. They look like hell if they’re not straight, and while mine are not perfect, I like to think they look good. Adding the correct amount of weft is always on my mind and sometimes a challenge, especially when I get into a zone. My fell line is right at my line of sight, much easier than when it was well below it. The challenge in that is the fact that it looks different and I want the weaving to have a consistent appearance. At this phase of any weaving is my tendency to start thinking about my next weaving. It’s a real challenge to stay focused on my current project and give it the attention it deserves.
My future challenges will always be adding correct amount of weft, fill ins, keeping design even, and selvages. The tippy top, will have to be treated special. Navajo weaving uses a closed warp, so at the top my warp will not want to separate and I will eventually not be able to fit my batten in my shed. I will need to take out my shed stick and my heddle and use a needle to weave with. A lot of people stress over this aspect of weaving, but I look at it as an opportunity to get even more “hands on” with my weaving. I am taking the same time with the end that I took at the beginning when I warped it. To see it finished properly is to show the world that I take pride in something that I spent countless hours creating. It’s a time for contemplation and to think about the labor, challenges, lessons learned and enjoyment that it will give.
Through this weaving I have learned a lot more about adding the proper amount of weft. It’s my intention to start weaving with finer weft and a higher warp sett so I can get get more detail and complexity to my weavings. I have a color problem with my grey weft. There are two shades of grey. When I have this off the loom, I plan to go in with a needle and add some short pieces of weft and needle weave a couple picks here and there to “fade’ these colors together a little better so the eye isn’t immediately drawn to the harsh line that it currently has. Stay tuned, there’s more to come.