These pictures of a backstrap loom will show you in detail what it looks like after the yarn has been put on the loom and a weaving started.
In Guatemala, cotton yarn is sold by the hank which is about 3 or 4 ounces. It can be bought in the natural cotton color or in many chemically dyed colors.
The backstrap is typically a woven belt that the woman has made. Sometimes a leather belt is used but our women usually use a cotton handwoven belt.
The backstrap is folded over on the ends and sewn to form a loop which the rope is threaded through.
The shuttle is a simple stick that has the yarn wound on it.
This is just a small piece of bamboo or a stick which is used to keep the weaving an exact width as the weaver works. A nail is put into the first couple of yarns on the side of the weaving then slipped into the bamboo –which is the exact width of the weaving. The tenter is put on the back side so that it is out of your way while weaving.
Many of our artisans use masa dough (used to make tortillas) as a paste to keep the yarns from moving on the back rod. It works just like a flour and water paste but artisans have masa available in their kitchen all the time so use it instead.
Education And More will soon be announcing an Educational Weaving Tour to Guatemala for participants to learn how to weave on a backstrap loom. Watch our website or this blog for the details on the tour in 2011.