Lumps, Bumps And The Last Mile
Well, I’ve got this weaving down to the last mile, or the last two inches that is. With Navajo weaving the last few inches can take the longest and most work. The nature of the closed warp creates a tight shed or weaving space. As things get tight, I pulled out the shed stick preserving the stick or lazy shed, but left in the string heddle stick so I can still easily open the string shed. It’s working slowly, but well. I’m using a weaving needle made by Al Snipes, it makes this process a bit smoother, but there will come a time quite soon that even this will be too much to fit into the shed and I will have to move down to a smaller weaving needle. I’m weaving about a linear inch and half at a time right now, but it wont be long before I will be weaving over and under individual warp threads. One challenge is to continue to pack the weft down as much as the rest of it. It’s hard to not give into the temptation of allowing the weft to build up quickly at this point and be finished, but it must be packed down or this inconsistent beat will show for the life of the weaving (which should outlive us).
One thing I failed to show was how I dealt with all those warp knots. Typically, there are two warp knots in Navajo weaving, one at the beginning and one at the end. Navajo weaving uses a continuous warp, one long strand of warp goes through the entire weaving. On occasion you will run out of warp and need to add another piece, or at times it will come from the mill with a knot. My ball of warp came from the mill with 5 knots in the warp, so I have seven knots in my weaving assuming I don’t break a warp string before it’s done. I have to deal with these knots. Firstly, when I come to a knot from the mill, I tie a strong knot next to it, because I can’t assume the mill tied a knot strong enough to stand up to Navajo weaving. Then I cut their knot off and have the ends sticking out. When I come to the knot in my weaving, I start by weaving up to the point where the tail or tails of the knot can lay against a weft or two. Then I weave over the tails and the warp it belongs to. I continue to weave, tugging on the tail to be sure it doesn’t get “sucked” up in the weaving. I want the tails sticking out for later. I will weave right over the knot, being certain that there is sufficient weft to cover the knot. I leave the tails out until the weaving comes off the loom. Once off the loom and not under tension, I give the tails a gentle tug and snip. The tension of the warp pulls the tails in and they stay underneath the weft safely hidden with not a knot in sight.