A back strap loom with the finest hand spun warp. The threads are single not doubled as usual for strength during weaving. Very fine thread. We saw the woman spinning it from wool fleece. [click photos to enlarge]
Isn’t this a wonderful bamboo stick for holding the heddles? I wanted to buy one but the weavers husband said I could make it myself.
We visited two weavers in a tiny village after walking across a rickety swinging bridge. It was worth the hardship of crossing over the raging river. The first weaver had just cut off a panel of cloth for a skirt when we came. She got out a completed two-panel skirt to show us how it would look on her body. Note that the following photos show how the patterns and stripes work on the body. All were woven on backstrap looms.
This skirt also has a traditional color scheme. It was woven in two panels with an almost-invisible seam down the center in the narrow blue stripe.
This weaver wove the two black and white skirts to wear at festivals. I loved that they were just black and white. If you look closely at what she is weaving you can see the tufts that she is weaving in on her loom.
At first I bought the one with the more elaborate pattern for the back of the skirt because of its complexity. It was woven with three panels–one in the center and the others at the sides.
Then I realized that I really loved the more simple one–the lines with the tufts and especially the selvedges (edges). I couldn’t resist having it. I especially like to see that probably this was the first one she made and then used that as the basis for making the second one, adding an elaborate pattern for the back (that would be positioned across her bottom). This one was woven in two panels, joined at the center in the narrow black stripe. That means every single line had to match for the entire length! It is 42 inches wide and 63 inches long.
This piece is a sample for a skirt woven by a weaver in Bhutan. I liked the complicated way she transitioned between the two main colors.