Rebozo weaver

16 March 2016

Yesterday the Museo Textil de Oaxaca had a midday celebration to honor a 90 year old rebozo weaver from near Mexico City, Evaristo Borboa.  


Señor Evaristo was weaving in the interior courtyard of the museum, a beautiful space with natural light and many pillars. 

He weaves jaspe or ikat rebozos in cotton. 

  He weaves standing. As you can see the warp is wider than he is, 28-30″ would be my guess.   It must take a lot of upper body strength to open the sheds and standing allows him more leverage.  

These rebozos are large, 28-30″ wide by  90+ ” long by our standards but because they are light and drapey they are just the right size to wrap yourself  up. 

The resist dyed design is in the warp and to show it off the cloth is warp- faced.  The warp threads are ultra- fine mercerized cotton; the final cloth feels and drapes like silk. I can’t even guess at how many threads there are in this warp. Each one has been dyed and placed in order to create the design. 
Here you can see both the woven cloth and the unwoven warp.   If you have trouble finding the fell line look for the bottom edge of the sword or machete. Farther from the fell line the pattern on the warp is less visible, all you see are tiny spots.  This is just plain weave folks, but there is nothing plain about this. 

 If you are observant you can see that his loom is set up to weave four selvages. The final rebozos all have long elonorate fringes. 

My conclusion is that the fringe is added after weaving. This maybe the reason that other ikat rebozos have incongruent colors in the fringe. 

Here is a video of Señor Evaristo weaving.   Interesting to me is how he uses his sword to open the heddled shed.   I first noticed the hump in the warp threads when he took out the sword to open the heddled shed, then I watched it form. 

Señor Evaristo has been weaving for 83 years. That is longer than most of us have been talking, weaving must be as second nature for him as talking is for us. 


Warp-faced weaving

23 July 2012

I have been studying warp-faced weaving in its many forms these past few years. The number of commercial yarns that are appropriate for this kind of weaving are very limited-crochet cotton #10 is it. This weaving needs strong, smooth yarn with twist, the more the better. Used to be that pearl cotton was good too but recently it is spun much softer and fuzzes up with use.

I have been studying the rebozos of Mexico( see this for a discussion of meaning of the rebozo today) and thinking about ikat. But I need a yarn to weave in a warp-faced cloth so I thought I’d try Tencel 8/2.
Inspired by this rebozo
 I see that it is two colors, striped with a center panel in a paired float pick technique that I have woven a lot. The elaborated fringe treatment, macrame, is not in my skill set. This seems doable in black and white. I wrapped some stripe patterns

Some are quite satisfying visually, I think that I’ll make the edges black and the center white so I’ll rearrange the stripes. Also the little Harrisville 4H/4T loom only has about 600 heddles. At a sett of 60epi to get a truly warp-faced cloth I can only weave a 10″ width. OK, 10″ is fine for a trial.

Here it is on the loom:

The tencel is behaving well, the sett seems good on the loom.  The pick up pattern is charted here and is easy to do.  Because of the floats there is slightly less take up in the central patterned panel that in the body of the web.  After I had woven about a yard I had to start compensating with extra sticks at the back beam.  I put on a little over 3 yards of  warp hoping to get a nice long scarf– this is basically a sample , I don’t know what to expect in take up  in percent, I do expect it to be a lot.  When the apron rod came over the back beam I could no longer compensate to the difference in the pattern panel and had to dive up weaving a bit before I wanted to.

But the size is nice, 10″ x 80″ plus fringe.  The appearance did not change much when I wash it but the hand did soften.  It is very sensual.  No,  it won’t pull through a wedding ring but it does have a nice sheen.  Here are some photos of the finished scarf;

And here you can see the drape and the other side of the pattern panel where the motifs are white.

And lastly the fringe end without any macrame.

The The piece is very satisfactory and I believe that I can use this tencel for and rebozo with ikat stripes.