More about early looms

But now, in about 200 years, all of that has changed.  Mechanization has taken over the process of spinning and weaving, although a mechanized loom has the same features as a hand loom. Some so-called primitive cultures still weave. It is possible to see hand weaving on traditional looms in the Southwest of the United States or in Peru, where a concerted effort has been made to retain this cultural heritage.

Most of the Native American looms are two bars, but after that the various tribes have their own variations. The Navaho and Pueblo tribes tend to use an upright loom, with the beams at the top and bottom. In Peru, it is the backstrap loom that is used. The tension is maintained by the weaver’s body and the fingers lift the warp threads. In the following photograph, the shed sticks that make the shed (the space through which to put the weft threads) are clear. The weaver is beating the last weft thread down to the finished cloth.


Weaving on a backstrap loomThis is considered a primitive form of loom but they manage to produce many beautiful patterns.



One thought on “More about early looms

  1. Yes, I must say that the patterns that I see in back-strap woven cloth from back home in Nagaland, India is amazingly intricate and sophisticated. For someone like myself just starting out, I wonder how many years it would take to reach that level of proficiency, especially when like you mentioned in your previous blogs, the weaver has to rely on memory rather than design cards.

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