Using cotton thread from Guatemala and 60/2 silk for the inlay work, I am weaving a lightweight scarf on my backstrap loom. The main motifs were inspired by a small plant design that I was taught in Guatemala. I took the leaf pattern and expanded it into an imaginary tropical plant and flower.
The yellow and turquoise used together remind me of tropical seas and golden mangoes.
This project has also been an opportunity to explore the use of circular warps with a coil rod which I have seen being used by backstrap weavers in Ecuador and by my Montagnard (Vietnamese hilltribe) weaving teacher as well as on looms of Bhutan, Bangladesh and SE Asia.
I made some cheery bookmarks with Guatemalan sun and flower motifs in a supplementary weft patterning technique I learned in Santa Catarina Palopo. It is a single face technique which looks like embroidery but which does not show on the reverse. The 50 wpi cotton warp makes a nice thin fabric ideal for bookmarks. Part 2 of the tutorial on these techniques is on my blog this week.
I learned to weave this single-faced supplementary weft patterning technique in Guatemala. My teacher, Lidia, lives in Santa Catarina Barahona near Antigua and I spent 4 days with her learning to weave, shopping for yarn and meeting her friends and neighbors-a wonderful experience. Women in this area weave their own blouses and use bright and lively colors. I chose a more subdued beige for my ground color and a few earthy tones mixed with some brights for the patterning. The large stars and plants are woven in a double-faced technique which looks like embroidery. I used this piece as the inside cover of my notebook where I have detailed all the warping and weaving instructions.You can see Lidia above in her gorgeous handmade blouse and with some of the pieces that she sells. The piece that I wove with Lidia has been used as the lid for my tool box (see photo)
Learning to weave on a backstrap in Guatemala-what a fantastic experience!! Whenever I travel and learn a new technique or structure I make a book when I get home with warping and weaving instructions. I try to include step-by-step instructional photos as well as pics of my teacher, her work, her village and family etc. These are the covers for the book on single-faced supplementary weft patterning which I learned in Santa Catarina Barahona and double faced patterning-which looks like embroidery. The bird is the double faced one. Lidia, my teacher, had the patience of a saint and is the best teacher I have encountered in all my travels. The cover with the burgundy ground weave is the single-faced patterning that I learned in Santa Catarina Palopo on Lake Atitlan. Here my teacher, seventeen year-old Carmen, taught me to weave many little bird, plant and human figures in supplementary weft patterning. The additional photo on my project page is the inside cover of my notebook.Also pictured are my two weaving teachers in Guatemala andt there's a picture of me at home weaving the inside cover piece.
Detail of the single-face supplementary weft patterning (with the wobbly selvedges typical of a new weaver of this technique!)