Archive for the ‘backstrap loom’ Category

Christian + Fair Trade + Eco Friendly Gifts

July 16, 2014

Need a gift? Read on to see some great Christian gifts in our webstore that will help you make a difference with your purchase! A difference because the producer, the maker of the product will receive a fair income for their work!




We have clerical stoles in blue, green, and white.  What a wonderful gift for your deacons, elders, Pastor.  Have you thought about hanging them on the wall in the fellowship hall or in the church office?  These stoles have been handwoven on backstrap looms by our artisan group, Chuchi Weavers, and they are then meticulously hand embroidered in the gold threads.  Below is a photo of the weavers that you are helping when you purchase these stoles.

Chuchi Weavers

Chuchi Weavers


s20aOur prayer pockets were designed by one of our Board of Directors and she not only designed them but wrote the poem that goes with the little pocket.  Such a great gift for tucking into a greeting card!  We have fundraisers available with these prayer pockets so check out our Fundraising category in our webstore.  Great to earn money for a mission trip or for your church programs!


A cross constructed  with  the intricate method of wheat weaving is another gift idea that is Fair Trade + Christian + Eco Friendly.  We have 2 sizes so you can order for gifts that could be hung on the wall, used as a gift package decoration or hung on the Christmas tree.  Perfect gift for Easter or Christmas.








Friendship Bracelets are such fun and you can use them to share the Gospel with your friends.  We have English and Spanish versions!  Take some with you on a mission trip to Spanish speaking countries!


We have more Fair Trade Christian Gifts in our Etsy store too!







Dynamic Little Lady!

June 27, 2014

I would like to introduce you to one of our artisans who is really a little dynamo!  She is a very tiny little lady but is filled with energy and determination.  Vicenta and her husband live in the rural highlands with their 7 children and nearby are many extended family members.

She is a master weaver on the backstrap loom and floor looms — called a foot pedal loom by the artisans — and she has taught her daughters to weave on both looms too.


Vicenta’s family and her whole community are Kakchiquel Mayans and very typical of the wonderfully warm and friendly people we meet in the western highlands of Guatemala.  Many of these rural families don’t understand the importance of education, however, Vicenta and her husband are different in that they are adamant about their children attending school. Thanks to a sponsor in our Education Program their oldest daughter, Laura,  is able to go on to career school to become a bilingual secretary.  It is very difficult for families to afford schooling after grade school and junior high school so we are very appreciative of all our sponsors and the help it brings to the families!


On our recent trip to Guatemala Victor and Vicenta’s home was one of the homes that our mission team repaired with the help of our local friends, Joe and Carlos.  Her kitchen was an adobe structure with a low ceiling, earthquake damage and a stove that did not vent so all the smoke stayed in the kitchen.  Victor and Vicenta decided to remove the old structure and had sufficient money to build new walls and the mission team did the floor, roof, new stove and new electrical wiring.





The family is so happy with their new kitchen. We are really happy to see the progress this family has made through the years because of their hard work and  determination along with the Fair Trade wages they receive from Education And More  for all the products they make.

Vicenta cooking in her new kitchen!

Vicenta cooking in her new kitchen!

If you are interested in traveling to Guatemala on a mission trip to help repair homes or teach VBS be sure to check our website for new 2015 tours that will be listed soon.  We will be working in this village next year and helping several more of the artisan families by repairing their homes.

Some of the handcrafts that Vicenta and her group have made are shown here. See all of our Fair Trade handcrafts in our webstore and in our Etsy store. 

Kitchen Towels

Kitchen Towels


Scarf / Shoulder Wrap

Scarf / Shoulder Wrap


Tablecloth and napkins

Tablecloth and napkins


Beautiful scarves and shawls

Beautiful scarves and shawls



Warping The Loom

April 10, 2014

For non weavers it seems a difficult and daunting tsak to get the yarn from the skeins onto the looms, known as ‘warping the loom’ in weaving lingo.   I am sure the job is similar with weavers around the world but here I will show you how our artisans in Guatemala warp their looms.



If the yarn is in skeins the weaver winds it onto spools.  These are homemade spools and the winder you can see is made from a bicycle wheel and is done for warping the foot pedal looms.

The process is a little different for the backstrap loom but the yarn still needs to be warped and the transferred to the loom. Typically they just lay the yarn on the yarn winder also called a swift and put the yarn on the warping board from there.

Yarn is typically  transferred from the swift to the warping board for a backstrap loom.

Yarn is typically transferred from the swift to the warping board for a backstrap loom.


It is incredible to me that weavers can plan the weaving and get the yarn on the huge warping board/ wheels in the needed pattern for the large floor looms. Below is the urdidor / warping wheel used for the foot pedal loom by our artisans.




After the yarn has been warped it is transferred to the loom and the weaving begins.

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Putting the warp on the backstrap loom

Putting the warp on the backstrap loom





Hand weaving is very labor intensive but produces beautiful textiles that will last for years.  Our artisans produce several weights of cloth on their  floor looms and backstrap looms-  from fine dress weight cloth to heavy upholstery weight textiles.

We have a wide assortment of their weavings in our online  webstore here

and also in our Etsy shop here.


Weaving Looms in Guatemala

March 30, 2014

Weaving on large floor looms, known by our artisans in the rural areas  of Guatemala as foot pedal looms, has typically been done by men.   Mayan women didn’t usually do either, weaving on foot pedal looms or sewing on sewing machines. The women however have used the backstrap loom  to weave all the cloth needs of their families.   This has been changing in recent years and now women are accomplished seamstresses on sewing machines and master weavers on the large looms.  Education And More works with three artisan groups of women that weave on various size foot pedal looms and electric sewing machines.

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Some of our groups use the extremely large looms — nearly 6 feet long and 4-5 feet wide.  They usually weave fabric not wider than about 36 inches.  Another of our groups uses a smaller floor loom that is about 4-5 feet long and  about 4 feet wide and then another group has several small looms that are about 3 feet long and 2 feet wide that they can use to weave belts and other narrow items.


Of course all our artisan groups still use the backstrap loom and teach it to their daughters when the girls are about 7 years old.

It is interesting to see the looms in action and even more interesting to see them warp up or get the yarn ready to put on the loom.  Part 2 of this post will show how they get the yarn ready. If you would like to purchase any  of the handwoven items from our artisans please check out our Etsy shop or our webstore at Education And More







Be sure to stop by and the all the beautiful woven items by the master weavers — the women of our artisan groups!  Fair Trade table runners, napkins, placemats, towels, purses, bags, totes, scarves, wraps and so much more.  Plus, see our selection of weaving supplies and tools such as backstrap looms, battens, weaving swords, hand dyed yarn, loom totes and bags and spindles.


Education And More store on Etsy


Our website online store at Education And More


Traditional Dress Still Worn

November 7, 2012

The traditional Mayan woman’s dress is still being worn in Guatemala — especially in the rural areas even though the younger women, especially in the larger towns, are sporting western wear of jeans and shirt.

The Mayan clothing for the women – a huipil and corte – is both colorful and meaningful.  The pattern on the huipil (blouse) signifies which village  the wearer is from and she usually wears it when she is away from home.  The corte (skirt) also can indicate the village but it is not as distinct today in its meaning because many of the cortes are simply fabric that is purchased and cut into the length needed for a skirt.  The lady above is living in San Juan La Laguna but the huipil she is wearing is not typical of San Juan La Laguna – so perhaps she was born in another village.

These ladies were in a parade and in their finest traje (dress/outfit)

This little lady also wears the traditional dress.

Grandma’s skirt and blouse are thread bare and has probably been worn everyday for years.

Even the tiniest little girls get their own huipil — woven by Mom.

This huipil is a heavily brocaded with distinct patterns that is typical of Santa Catarina. The brocading is done while weaving the piece.

Every week a ‘yard sale’ takes place in Panajachel where they sell used huipils and cortes.  Tourists buy them as a souvenir and some locals buy them to recycle them into purses or other handcrafts to sell to the tourists.

The traditional huipil is giving way to the modern rayon fabric of a purchased huipil.  They are very inexpensive in comparison to the yarn and time needed to weave the fabric for a  huipil on a backstrap loom.

This huipil has birds embroidered all over it and was a gorgeous example of Mayan huipil!

Some huipils are just a plain weaving with a strip of embroidery to join woven pieces together.

This huipil is from San Juan La Laguna but is an older design style.  The newer style is a burgundy with small white stripes but still sports the heavily embroidered neckline.

We hope you have enjoyed a look at the women of Guatemala and their beautiful clothing!

Shoulder Wraps / Neck Scarves

June 27, 2012

Have you seen our new neck scarves?  We now have them online in our webstore and this shipment included some beautiful new designs and colors!


Most of our neck scarves have been woven on backstrap looms which in the skilled hands of the artisans turns out beautifully woven textiles.

This little girl is the daughter of one of the artisans that we help in Guatemala and  these artisans  hand weave the neck scarves shown above.  By purchasing the products  they weave, you are helping the artisans support their families.

Check out all the unique handcrafts at Education And More web store.