We have a small community of backstrap weavers here in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico that get together once a week to weave, share and learn. After the isolation and depletion of our ranks by the pandemic we needed an invigorating project. We selected this type of huipil and invited a young, very accomplished weaver from San Mateo del Mar, Noé Pinzón Palafox, to mentor us.

A huipil from San Mateo del Mar recently woven by Jazmín Azucena Pinzón Palafox

Noé comes from a family of masterful weavers . He learned to weave in his family starting at age five. His younger sister, Jazmín Azucena Pinzón Palafox, wove the huipil in the picture above. His mother, Francisca Palafox, is credited with reviving the techniques for weaving this huipil. The weaving of this huipil had all but disappeared by the end of the last century. His 8 year old nephew is already winning national prizes for his weaving. That is how one learns to weave here in Oaxaca.

San Mateo del Mar is an Ikoots (sometime called Huave) community in the hot costal lands of Oaxaca, Mexico. It is located on a narrow peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and a lagoon (https://goo.gl/maps/G3mpSZWFBnbYDBxC8). It is all about the sea.

The huipil itself is made of cotton, now a days commercially spun. The cool sheer cloth is nearly a balanced weave sometimes with heavier weft stripes, woven brocade designs and several warp stripes. The brocade designs feature marine and coastal imagery or geometric patterns. A curious feature is a tassel at the end of the center front warp stripe. The huipil is woven in one or three panels, each piece with four selvages. The neck opening is a woven slit.

Here is some background information on these huipils :

Traditionally the huipils are made with natural colored cotton with colored warp stripes and colored brocade. Local natural colored cotton can be either off-white or brown (coyuche). Both were hand spun on a supported spindle. Preparing and spinning the locally grown cotton is very time consuming and has been largely abandoned now. Off-white cotton is now available commercially spun. The color grown cotton must still be hand spun because of its short staple length.

The natural dyes available locally were sea snail purple (caracol purpura), indigo and cochineal. The sea snail is now extinct in this area. A small sanctuary for the sea snail exists farther west on the Oaxacan coast, harvesting the dye is limited to a few authorized individuals. Indigo is grown inland nearby in Santiago Niltepec. A few people still cultivate indigo plants, but the production of the dye can be effected by earthquakes which destroy the tanks used for extracting the dye and by drought. Cochineal, a highly prized red insect dye is native to Oaxaca. The insect grows on prickly pear cactus. It is not particularly good dye for cotton, it is hard to get the bright red known on wool, giving instead a pale or purplish color. The cotton must be meticulously prepared and mordanted to have a stable cochineal color on cotton.

Todays huipils have evolved and updated and are woven in all sorts of colors. The huipil is woven in 3 panels a center one and two side panels. The center panel has designs created with supplementary weft, i.e. brocade. The weave structure is nearly a balanced plain weave, the openness of this structure allows space for the supplemental weft. The supplementary weft can be continuous or discontinuous but the design is formed when the brocade weft is placed in the shed. The panels are sewn together in the stripes. If the huipil is narrow enough and the weaver and loom are up to the task, it can be woven in one piece thus eliminating the seams. Each panel is woven with 4 selvages. Four selvage weaving is demanding and time consuming but highly regarded, giving a special spirit to the cloth. The neck opening is woven as a slit. The huipil made from four selvage panels is finished by sewing it together, no cutting involved.

A unique feature of these huipils is the center warp stripe, that is called the umbilical cord. It is woven into the cloth for most of the length of the panel, then it is not. The unwoven ends of these warps hang free looking like a tassel. Weaving this is a bit a a challenge to us but also why we chose this style of huipil and why we have a mentor.

Noé suggested we weave a mini-huipil to learn all the techniques. He brought an example he had previously woven.

The back of Noé’s mini-huipil.

This mini-huipil is about 30cm long and 40cm wide. The cloth is sheer enough that you can vaguely see the designs and stripes on the front. He demonstrated making the warp using 16/2 natural cotton and a softly spun merino wool silk yarn in a midnight blue. Then we made our warps, we chose different colors. You will see various warps in this post. Care must be taken with the center colored stripe when lashing on to the loom bars, as it is not woven at the beginning.

Preparing the mini-huipil warp.

Here you can see the loom being set up. The heddles have been made. The far end has been lashed-on to the loom bar and a bit was woven before the loom was turned around. Note that the center colored warps have not been woven but pushed down to right side. The warps must be carefully distributed on the loom bar to weave a sheer cloth.

This end has been lashed-on and the 3rd beam is ready to be removed.

The distribution of the warps on the second beam must match that of the upper beam before lashing-on. The final distribution of the warps is done with the first wefts. The colored center warps are not woven initially but pushed down to the right side ( the cloth is woven with the wrong side facing the weaver).

Initiating the front body of the huipil.

The weaving continues for a bit until it is time to incorporate the colored warps in the center. These warps are raised and now woven with the rest of the cloth.

Bottom front woven without the center stripe.

Obviously the warps near the center will have to curve around the newly incorporated warps.

Center front with ground warps bending around the center stripe.

Once the center stripe is incorporated the brocade designs can begin.

Plan for weaving the mini-huipil.
Adding brocade birds with discontinuous supplementary weft.

At the right height the neck slit is begun and woven using two wefts. Also two more stretcher bars, temples, are added to keep the cloth from pulling in at the slit.

The start of the neck slit, with 3 stretcher bars in place.

The design may continue along side the slit. The slit in the back is shorter than the front slit.

Finishing the brocade birds and weaving the neck slit. You a looking at the wrong side that faces the weaver.
Loom protection.
Araceli’s hens from the right side..

Weaving continues with two wefts until the end of the slit in the back. The back may or may not have additional brocaded designs. Eventually the center stripe is dropped again. Finally one reaches the tedious weaving of closing the gap, or terminal area, that is part of four-selvage weaving. This requires smaller tools and finally a needle. But finally the entire cloth is woven.

When closing the gap, the final few passes of the weft are done with a needle.

The gap has been woven.
The wrong side,the side that faces the weaver, of the completed cloth still on the loom.

And the right side.

The cloth is removed from the loom, washed and finished. The under arm selvages are butted and sewn by hand. Nothing has been cut.

One completed mini-huipil.

There are no holes where the center stripe has NOT been woven.

Cloth under the front tassel.

Three of the five participants have completed their mini-huipils so far, different colors, different designs- Noé’s birds (not charted, done free hand), Karren’s dragonflies and diamonds, and Araceli’s triangles and hens. Two more participants are working on theirs.

Finished mini-huipils made by Noé (left), Karren and Araceli (right).

Now that we know the techniques we can tackle larger huipils.


Second Huave Style design

Second Huave Style design

I started another continuous brocade piece on the same warp that I used for the yellow piece.

First Huave Style cloth with geometric design

First Huave Style cloth with geometric design

This time in addition to a new design and brocade color I added a stretcher to keep the width of the cloth constant.  The biggest problem I had with the first piece I made with this technique, is that the cloth got narrower as I wove.

The commercial stretcher that I have are too big for this 14″ wide cloth so I used one made to fit this cloth.  It is simply a piece of hollow bamboo cut to size and two little nails.  I learned this from my backstrap weaving teacher, Doña Euforsina, last winter in Oaxaca.  I grow lots of bamboo but it is not straight and has bumps where the leaves emerge. So after some cutting and sanding and I had a tube that I thought would work.

The stretcher goes on the back of the fabric, thus not obscuring the pattern.  You place the bamboo under the web and insert the nail through the selvage into the hollow of the bamboo tube.  Do one side then the other, the second side takes a little tugging but you want the web taut.

Bamboo stretcher in place on the underside of the web

Bamboo stretcher in place on the underside of the web


the hollow bamboo and two nail for stretcher

the hollow bamboo and two nail for stretcher

Here are the pieces used to stretch the web, a piece of bamboo and two nails.

The other picture shows how the nail in the selvage holds the bamboo in place.

Nail attaching the web to bamboo stretcher

Nail attaching the web to bamboo stretcher


I finished this piece and after some separators started on another  and I pleased to see that as the cloth rolls on the cloth beam it is all exactly the same width.

A solution without buying a thing!

I’m testing the loom set up, threads and other variables for Huave( also called Ikoots) style weaving.  This is an indigenous group in Oaxaca that live in the Istmo region to the south of the city and at sea level near the coast.  I have only seen their textiles in Oaxaca city, and the huipiles look very similar to the Zapotec huipiles that my teacher makes.  I’m the bigger one in the pic.

We both wear huipils, she made hers, it is beloved and authentic Zapotec.

We both wear huipils, she made hers, it is beloved and authentic Zapotec.


Here is a detail of one of the common motifs she taught me.  This is my first Zapotec style weaving done on a back strap loom.  Technically it is discontinuous inlay.

The Huave huipiles are very similar in technique, all cotton, inlay  and share some of the same motifs.

Part of a Huave huipil

Part of a Huave huipil

Huave huipil

Huave huipil on display at MTO.

At the bottom you can see a similar motif.  The other horizontal bands are very original, obviously beach scenes with coconut palms, pelicans, turtles, etc.  Another distinctive features of the Huave huipils is a center stripe.  At first I thought they were 4 panels but no, the stripe in the center does not hide a seam and at the bottom both front and back it comes out of the cloth to become a tassel. So I think it is a supplementary warp. The neck opening is also a woven-in split, occurring with in this stripe.   The Zapotec huipil is woven whole and the neck opening is cut and stitched.  This huipil does have a very low contrast inlay design that does not show in the poor quality photo but you can see the stripe become a tassel at the bottom.

Both style of huipiles are fairly sheer plain weave cotton woven on backstrap loom, embellished with heavier opaque stripes and discontinuous inlay.

Huave cloth, geometric and figurative -2-

Huave cloth. Photo by Karen Elwell

The Huave also make textiles that are not sheer and made as cloths to keep tortillas warm (bread cloth?), napkins, table decoration etc.  These interesting textiles have a continuous brocade weft, that is the supplementary weft goes from selvage to selvage.  When the brocading weft is not on top, making the design, it is buried in the regular shed and only slightly visible.  If you compare the plain weave at the end with the background of the butterflies  you can see the difference.

Brocade P I.5

My continuous brocade, inlay/overlay, woven on RH loom.

I have made things with this very technique, continuous inlay/overlay that look quite different, the brocade weft being much more visible in the back ground.   This is plain weave done on a rigid heddle loom.  The Huave work looks to be more warp dominate  and thus hide the pattern weft in the inlay areas. Could also be the proportion between the size of the warp and weft yarns.


Huave backstrap loom weaving a round cloth. Technique: continuous brocade, inlay/overlay. All cotton.

Here you can see the Huave work on the loom and the pattern weft looks fat, made up of three strands of singles.  And the weft looks fine.

Notice that the tie-downs in the overlay help to  define the riders on the back of the horses.

So how can I get this effect? What size yarn for the warp? sett? what to use for pattern weft?  I have been doing inlay/overlay on rigid heddle looms (RH) with 8/2 cotton doubled in a 10 dent heddle. I was flipping through a recently acquired book, Tejido Huave and Beyond by Erica de Ruiter,  and she suggests 8/2 cotton sett at 20 epi.  So that’s what I’m trying. You can get 20 epi on a RH loom by using two 10 dent heddles .


Here is my set-up: I had a Leclerc Bergere loom empty with a 10 dent heddle and found another 10 dent heddle from a narrower Ashford loom.  I held the two heddles up to the light and the eyes seemed to line up.  So this is mint green 8/2 cotton warp sett at 20 epi.   Since both heddles move together, I don’t need a second castle, I used cable zip ties to fasten them together and they move as one unit.  The sheds don’t open as cleanly as when I use 2 Leclerc heddles( the eyes aren’t the same size) so I put a dowel under the warps in the slots and pushed it to the back beam.  I can use it to help clear the shed. The dowel does have a security tie on it since it travelled to a workshop and back.

Then to see what pattern weft would work, from my previous work with inlay/overlay I know that two strands of embroidery floss will cover the surface of the 8/2 cotton  in the overlay areas.   I tried a soft beige and white and then the yellow and the yellow worked. I’m quite pleased with how little of the pattern weft is visible in the inlay areas.

The challenge of making this pattern work is the beat.  For the bottom of the diamonds I wasn’t beating hard enough and the diamond is elongated.  I got out my sword from my back strap loom and started beating hard with that. Even so I have to brace the little table I have the loom clamped to, with my legs and tummy and beat after I change the shed.   But you can see the top part of the diamonds is more compact.  I expect it to contract even more when off the loom and washed.

So now I’m ready for a project.  Maybe something like this.

Huave geometric cloth

Beautiful Huave cloth with geometric design. Photo: Karen Elwell


29 April 2015

I have scraps from many hand woven projects.  The reason I have scraps left over is because I sew many of my projects, I don’t like to plan short  I prefer to have some cloth left over instead of running short, and I put on extra warp to experiment, also called sampling.  Having just mounted a solo show of weaving I have lots of hand woven scraps at this moment and I have decided to  turn  some them into  little bags to hold treasures.

Most cultures have these little bags made to hold special, rare objects–a lock of hair, a rare medicinal plant, a crystal– but they go by many names: amulet pouch, medicine bag…

Here is one piece that I have left from a quechquemitl that is in the show.16661984124_65e1a0064c_o  It is 8/2 cotton  sett at 50 epi to make a warp faced cloth.  The pin stripes  are 5/2 hand dyed pearl cotton making a wee bit of ikat.  The color on the pearl cotton goes from strong red to pink, the pink is similar in value to to the beige  and nearly disappears– an almost magical effect.  This is from the beginning of the warp, normally where you weave in scarp yarn to spread the warp.  Warp faced cloth doesn’t need to be spread but I did weave the first bit with some fine linen weft that was on a bobbin, you can see the cloth looks less ridged for the first bit, just above the knots. Then I switched to the 8/2 cotton which I used for the weft.  This has been machine washed and pressed.

I cut off 1/3 of the width, I used the serger with wooly nylon in the loopers, to cut and secure the edge.

I lined the little bag with a piece of sheer crisp silk, just basted it in place before I began any construction or embellishment.  The seam to make it into a tube, with the stripes going length-wise is a butted seam at center back.  I cover both the serged edge and the selvage that it meets with a single crochet in using the beige 8/2 cotton. Using a sharp crochet hook to penetrate the cloth is a help but it is slow going, the crochet hooks catches threads in the cloth too.   I then added a row of single crochet in the red pearl cotton.  The silk lining was caught in the crochet and is thus attached to the bag.

Next I did the embellishment on the front of the bag.  The face is carved in a nut shell and reminds me of the faces of tree spirits.  I couched down thrumbs  from the cloth and added Mother of Pearl and glass beads.

Once the embellishment was done I laced up the back seam , using the red pearl cotton and baseball stitch. Then crochet a around the top to make the bag taper in.

The bottom  is closed by twisting together the fringe from the front and back of the bag. There are 50 end per inch in the cloth so two layers are 100 epi– a LOT of ends to tie together. You can see how big the knots are in the picture above, if I double the number of threads the knots will be even bigger. I want to compact the fringe so that it is about the width of the cloth , it is ok if it flares out farther down.  So I chose to make twisted fringe because it compacts the threads. I twisted beige threads with beige threads and red ones with red.

17077124247_afea59ea38_oNow the bottom of the bag is closed.  I made some twisted rope to close the top.

Here is a before and after picture:


I had some scraps of this cloth with out fringe too.  I transformed them into little pouches


These turned out more like wallets; nice size to hold credit cards.

Scraps can be turned into small pouches using what ever skills you have: crochet, sewing, knitting, beading, embroidery. Scrapes are good.


A finishing transformation

28 February 2015


I brought two pieces of this cloth back with me from Oaxaca.  Señor Esteban, of the Taller Sabino & Vásquez made these on his floor loom with a fly shuttle.  The warp is a fine cotton, maybe 40/2, natural.  The colored weft is a heavier singles used doubled.  The bands are overshot.  It looks to me like these pieces were just cut off the loom and a light colored zigzag stitch was sewn across the ends.

The light color of the thread used to sew across calls attention to the wefts below it that are drifting downwards.  The warp selvages are denser than the body of the cloth making the selvages look whiter and drawing attention to every bright pink irregularity.  I think that is about all you see in this piece, I have a hard time seeing the hand woven cloth because of all these distractions.   So I decided to finish these pieces so that they could be on a table, say under a vase of flowers.  That means that I want them to lay flat and that if I set something on them , like a glass, the glass won’t fall over  because of the cloth.  No lumpy bumpy finishing.

First I tried knotting the fringe but it is just too wimpy to look good. I only like fringe that lays orderly and this never will.  So I cut it off with the serger.  I also cut off the warp selvages so that all four sides are the same.


All edges have been serged with natural colored thread.


Not that this is finished but I think it already looks a lot better, even with it serger tails.   Then I turned under the serged edge and machine basted it in place with matching thread.  The top side looks tidier, on the back side you can see the serged edge.  This would make an acceptable finish or you could turn it under one more time and machine stitch again.  I would make the second turn wider to keep the edge from being narrow and three layers thick.


But I think that I will add a crochet edging around the piece.  I have #10 crochet cotton that matches the color of the natural warp and a penetrating crochet hook to make a base row of single crochet.  The turned under hem makes for a substantial edge to anchor the crochet stitches and helps to align the penetrating stitch.  On the back it covers the serged edge.  The trick is to get the right number of stitches in the base row so that the cloth lays flat.  Too few stitches and the edge pulls in the cloth and makes it buckle and too many stitches and the edging ruffles a bit.

Then I tried several edgings, all flat.  The geometric one is nice but maybe too wide so I decided on the triple picot  one.  I just want to finish the piece not add a lace edging.

crochet edge geometricIMG_3235


The time consuming part is the first row, then it goes quickly.  IMG_3247

So here I have finished all the crochet but not yet washed and ironed it. The washing compacted the crochet.  The overshot bands pulled in too making inward curves  but while ironing I managed to stretch them back out.  So the finished piece is here:


The blue piece got an even smaller edging, just a simple picot.


The colors are cheery, a way to add a bright spot in this grey cold weather.  The first color is called rosa mexicana, that that one I’m keeping.

Quite a transformation, at least to me.



Still bumping a long here

31 December 2014

Last night I made a whole new backstrap and ropes from the materials I had on hand, in hopes of improving the unrolling problem.

Started this morning, and the new backstrap is easier to put on and the ropes fit in the grooves better. But the thing still unrolls at unexpected moments, sometimes dumping everything from the loom on the ground. I pick up the parts, reassemble the loom, untangle the shuttles and tie on again. An hour and half of fighting with the loom and not one pick woven. I’m exhausted with it and decide to add a string around the back so that it can’t unroll. It works! It may be cheating but at least I’m weaving. Being a cheating weaver beats being a non-cheating, non-weaver.



Today’s progress. In the upper right corner is the new backstrap. I ran out of the redviolet that my teacher had and bought the nearest thing I could find, it’s good that it is a new row.

Progress is slowing because as the warp is woven there is less space to work the sheds open. I may need smaller shed rod and swords to keep going, wonder what Eufrosina will recommend.

Happy 2015 to all; may your warps be unbroken and your cloth good!

Made it to the end!

30 July 2014

end of warp   As you can see , I made it to the end of the warp. No complications due to a full cloth beam, no slats or too many slats. As you can see here , only about 6″ of the warp is unwoven. This was not an obvious out come as the cloth beam looked very full, see previous post.  When I saw the cloth beam so full I stopped adding in the slats  that came off the warp beam. Winding on the cloth beam with out slats was worrisome to me. As you know, the tension on this loom, and many others, goes from where the warp is attached to the warp beam in the back to the cloth beam where it is tied on. Any irregularities in either beam can cause tension problems.  This is true from the beginning to the end of a warp, not just when you start.  The longer the warp the more chances there are for something to happen to the cloth  on the beam when winding on.  You probably know this instinctively.  When I get one loose section in a warp I can tighten it by padding either the back beam or the cloth beam. I usually do the cloth beam because it is in the front and more accessible and secondly , the padding won’t fall out with the next warp advance.  Padding in the cloth beam just becomes part of the beam and continues to do its function until the end. I use slats in both beams to prevent irregularities that cause tension problems.  Irregularities can be caused by knots, ropes, bars, warp threads cutting down to the lower layers or falling off the edge. BUMPS IN CLOTH

Here you can see a small irregularity caused by mending a broken warp.


Falling off the edge is by far the most problematic and common cause of tension problems.  Warp beams can be, and are often, wound without slats if the edges are supported.  I have flanges on my AVL that do this.  If you are using slats in your beams you want the slats to be stiff enough to stick straight out over the edge of the bundle  and keep the selvage warps the same length as the warps in the center of the beam.  Some people fold over the edges of the paper they roll into warp beams just to increase the stiffness of the edges.  The same falling off the edges can happen when you wind on the woven cloth onto the front beam. If the edges don’t line up precisely as you wind on the selvedges can become wonky.   So I put the slats into the cloth beam as they fall out of the warp beam.  They stick out of the cloth bundle and support the edges even if the edges don’t line up exactly.  In this project I stopped adding in the slats when I thought that the cloth beam might not hold all of the cloth that could be made with this warp. edge of cloth roll

In the photo you can see that the cloth edges do NOT line up precisely.




And after I stopped adding in the slats this can cause tension problems at the selvage.  Luckily this did not happen on this warp, the yarn is quite elastic and compensated for the uneven winding on.           This falling off the edge is more obvious here: These problems become more evident the longer the warp and with warps that have very little elasticity. I do not unwind the cloth beam during weaving because I don’t want to disturb the even tension that I have for weaving.  I have had gaps develop in my web following and unwinding episode.  There are fairly elaborate schemes to keep your tension as you have established it and cut off a portion of the woven cloth. It is true that if you have only woven one scarf at a time on a rigid heddle loom you may not have seen these problems.  But 40 yards of linen warp will test your mettle.   Back to the project at hand, one reason I chose to use a Rigid Heddle loom for this project was to minimize the waste.  Yet 200 ends of hand-spun yarn X 6″ waste on each gives 1200″ or 33 yards of waste! I hemstitched,  to stabilize the weft, before I cut it off the loom. hemstitched I am quite pleased with the look of the cloth while it is still on the loom.  It took a lot of extra effort to weave with the thick and thin singles  and I did get the look I was looking for. web It will close up some just taking it off the loom.  I will finish it gently to keep this look and just meld the threads together.  The yarn was lightly steamed to calm the twist before weaving.  Even so the twist was still active and the weft took extra attention.  The selvages look good now.  I expect they will look worse after washing because of the unevenness of the twist in the yarn.

A Diversion

9 April 2014

I have signed up for a Lusterous  Linens at the Guild with Kati Meek that happens this weekend.  So I have warped my loom for the workshop and started weaving.

lace curtian sample

This is 16/1 bleached linen in a Danish 1897 la Cour ( might be Coeur, but my French is better than my Danish) draft which alternates plain weave warp stripes with lace stripes. The wefts in the lace section will clump together when it is finished and hopefully the reed marks will disappear in the plain weave stripe. It takes a bit of imagination to foresee the final cloth. Easy to weave, the 185 end warp, 4 yards long weighed less than 1/2 oz. I counted the ends over a couple of times, it was hard to believe they were all there. This is 5.7″ wide.

It is delightfully sheer.


Stay tuned for the finished cloth.

Red brocade

4 April 2014

Bhutanese brocaded sash

Do you remember this Bhutanese sash?  At the time I put it on this blog I was surprised that it was card woven and brocaded.  But the heart motifs, made of 3 diamonds intrigue me.  I do love hearts.

So I started  a row of them, in 13 different colors of red/pink, turns on the backside. I can see that the Bhutanese piece has the turns on the top  but I need to develop my skills of turns on the back.IMG_1755


Started with some selvage to selvage stripes to delineate the design area.  Diamonds are easy enough to make, space between the motifs makes it easier to fish out the right thread.

row of hearts


Final row of hearts, washed and pressed.  Maybe these motifs would look more like hearts if I had used one color for each motif. In person each of these colors is different, photography makes them more the some.


 I decided to make a multi-colored isolated motif in the same overlay/underlay technique. The design is simple, a diamond with 4 diamonds inside. Using 3 colors is new. I did graph it out on paper the first time, not as a guide to weaving it but sort of a dry run to find problems. Maximum float length is over 5 ends. The dimple in the middle of the small diamonds is a tie down to prevent a 7 end float.

isolated motif, multi=colored I did not use the graph to weave the design, weaving it is easy just move over one end each pick The design is has nice clean lines. The lines at the 4 points that sort of look like rabbit ear antenna, are not as strong as I thought they would be; appears that a float over just one end can disappear at times and the line is rather weak.

The turns of the brocading weft are on the back of this piece and while that makes for nice clean lines visually it made it a bear to weave.  The hardest part of was finding the right thread dangling down on the back. For some reason my finger can’t tell if I have a pink or a purple thread.  It can be difficult to tell if the thread should go to the right or left because you can’t see where it came through the web. So it can help to have a system such as all the brocading wefts travel in the same direction in each pick as that travelled by the ground weft.

To clarify, I decided that if the ground weft went from right to left in that pick then all the brocading wefts also go right to left.The problem is just to find the right one and that is the slow step here.

The pastel colors do not have the energy of the brighter color typically used in Latin American brocades. Here is the back side:

isolated motif, multi-colored. backside

There are many ends and I made no attempt to hide the ends, I did trim them to a uniform length.

Next challenge is to make a whole row of the same diamond motif, each motif with a different color scheme. This time the turns will be on the top, since there are more brocading wefts to get confused and tangled. I did add the edge second motif to the graph to get the spacing right.

row of diamondsWorking the turns on the top is much, much easier. No confusion, you can see which is the right thread to use. Much easier.But the turns penetrate in the next color block. So the design is not as clean as the first, but it still works.

Lesson learned:

  • turns on the bottom can be difficult with many brocading threads
  • need a system not to skip any brocade thread  in each pick
  • turns on top take up lateral space
  • one end floats are not very effective visually.  They are the same size as the normal weft and thus do not stand out.