Thursday, April 17, 2014


It's what I've been waiting for all semester!  We finally had some time to make the frame for the prototype of a Navajo style loom.  My husband, along with being an all around great guy, is a carpenter as well.  This gives me access to terrific advice and help on my projects and a whole shop full of tools to borrow when I am in need.

As a seasoned coward, I am always grateful for someone else to use the power tools.  My hero..

Along with being a carpenter, he's a scrounger of no small talent.  When I'm in need of a bit of material for a project, chances are he has just the right thing stashed away and knows where it is. (A skill I can only envy)  So far, the loom has cost exactly zero dollars and no cents.  We'll have to buy some bolts to adjust the tension and three dowel rods when we get to town again, but whatever they cost will be the final price of the loom.  For a cool new toy, that is a price I can live with.


Planing the surfaces of the wood we used

Using the photos we took at The Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, AZ, (see here: and the book we bought there, Weaving The Navajo Way, by Caroline M. Spurgeon, we designed it to be for rugs up to 3' by 5'.

The frame, pretty basic for something that can be used for something as versatile as weaving.  The pipes can be placed into different holes for different sized projects. 

After we got the frame put together, we started on the tools I'll need.  We used bits and pieces of wood from the shop scrap pile.  He cut them out and I shaped and finished them.  A Navajo fork for beating the weft and all of the different battens can be bought online, but I want the tools I use in my hands to be made by my hands.  I hope that someday when I'm gone someone else will use them and feel their weight as they weave.  

From top: Small finishing fork, shuttle/batten, weavers sword, shuttle and two unfinished forks.  

This is the only piece so far not of mesquite wood.  It is of a tightly grained fir that I took a fancy to.  The weight balanced nicely in my hand. It's in the process of being shaped still. 

The fork on the top had places that needed repairs, so an application of epoxy has been used and now I can finish the shaping/sanding process. 

So far, this project has been fun just in the making.  After I make a few more battens, buy the tensioners and find a cone of warping yarn it'll be ready to put the first project on and learn this new process.  


Juliana Wallace said...

That is so very, very cool!

Alice Webb said...

Thanks! I'm so thrilled to finally have this thing moving forward.