Hello everyone- I was looking online at some Navajo weavings and saw several labeled to be at 40 wefts per inch. Is this an average, or is that the sign of a piece that is woven "better" than one at perhaps 30 wefts per inch? In other words, is a piece valued more for the number of wefts per inch? Is this what new weavers should aspire to? 40 per inch? Thanks!
I am no expert but most who are learning the technique strive for 10-12 wefts per inch. A rug or blanket at 30 or 40 would probably be a very fine piece done by a very experienced hand weaver using hand spun yarn. Sure, it's something to aspire to but weaving in a Navajo style is not as easy as you might think. I highly recommend taking a class if you can.
One teacher I can recommend is Mary Walker. She has classes around the country and she can also give you information about others who teach Navajo style weaving. Mary has an online class for beginners and I am not sure if all the slots are taken yet. Here is her website: weavinginbeauty.com/
When I was last in the SW USA visiting a Navajo rug sales outlet, I was told the best rugs were woven at 100 ppi......and when compared to those woven at 30 or 40, I could immediately see the difference. Of course it depends on the thickness of the weft materials and the sett, but a Navajo rug should be beaten very densely, from all I have learned. I took a Navajo rug weaving class from D.Y. Begay many years ago and was also told to beat to achieve a very high ppi count......just my experience.....
There are some very fine rugs woven at the 10-15 wefts per inch. This depends on the size of the yarn. I usually weave at the 30 -40 wefts per inch. And one time I did a 60 + weft per inch using tapistry yarn. Took forever to finish even tho it was a small weaving. Claudia (waves at Claudia) is correct in suggesting taking classes either on line or in person. Mary Walker is the person to take from. Mary has had fantastic responce to her on line classes and I think there is a waiting list being compiled. One thing you have to realize is that most Navajo weavers I have met do not use a lot of the terms ascribe to floor looms ie: ppi for example.
Weave in beauty
Hi and thank you all - I did look into Mary Walker's online classes, but I can't do that right now and will be learning on my own and with books. Your posts have given me a very good perspective of the wefts per inch measurement and context.