Archive for the ‘weaving’ Category

Awesome Trip to Guatemala + Learn Backstrap Weaving

January 11, 2015

Want to learn how to weave on a backstrap loom?  Then it’s time for you to join one of our tours to Guatemala!  Our next tour will be in July and it is filling fast so visit our website to get an application soon.

Education and More is now accepting requests for dedicated tours for your group to go to Guatemala to learn backstrap weaving with our expert Mayan artisan weavers.  We have a limited number of dates available, so if your guild is interested please contact us.  These weaving tours are for 6-8 participants and you will learn all aspects of backstrap weaving the Guatemalan Mayan way.

Visit us at our website and learn more, then contact us for more information.






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The warp threads are next put on the backstrap loom while still wet

The warp threads are  put on the backstrap loom while still wet


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



Backstrap Weaving Essentials

April 28, 2014

Education And More carries a variety of backstrap weaving items in our online store and also in our Etsy store.   If you are a beginning weaver or wanting to learn the backstrap loom we have everything you need — 3 sizes of looms, several colors of backstrap belts, naturally dyed yarn, Mayan ikat yarns,  loom bags and typical Guatemalan handcarved drop spindles.

The yarn we sell is the typical yarn used by our Mayan artisans to produce the beautiful Fair Trade weavings in our webstore.  It has been naturally dyed by them using plants, barks, vegetables, fruits, etc.  The yarn is a very fine cotton yarn similar to 18/2 here in the States and produces extremely durable, long lasting  and exquisite textiles.


If you would like to have an example of a warped up backstrap loom to look at when you are learning to weave, then look at our decorative looms that are a perfect wall decoration as well as being a perfect sample of warping.


Ikat yarns are used frequently by our Mayan friends in their weavings to add a unique design element.  We have several colors of the ikat in our webstore also.  Be sure to look closely at the weavings in our store to see all the different ikat designed textiles we carry.t22c

One of our popular items is our loom bags.  The fabric for these duffel style bags is handwoven on a backstrap loom then sewn by the artisans and is a perfect bag for carrying your ‘work in progress’  or storing your loom!


We carry 3 sizes of backstrap looms — 8 inch, 12 inch, and the large is 18 inch.  They have been hand carved by a Mayan artisan who supports his family with sales of his handcarved looms.  He lives near the top of a volcanic mountain in the western highlands of Guatemala in a small village and carves the rustic looms for local sales as well as his sales to Education And More.  He receives a fair trade income  from E&M  for all the looms we purchase and it helps his family in so many ways.

Stop by and see  all our hand weaving accessories!






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


I love these towels!!

October 29, 2013

We recently received a customer comment about our beautiful kitchen towels and would like to share it with you.  Annie C. wrote, “I love these towels and am so glad I ordered them!  The first time I washed and dried them they were all wrinkly when I pulled them from the dryer but after I used them a while and they had been through the washer and dryer a few times  they came out really smooth with very few wrinkles and look great.  They are so soft and absorbent and they remind me of dish towels that my grandma used to use.  I love them and will be ordering some for gifts!  Thanks!”


The towels she is talking about are our kitchen towels made of 100% cotton yarns and handwoven on a foot pedal loom by our artisans. Many all cotton items are wrinkled the first few times they come out of the dryer but just wait — you’re gonna love them!  After a few times thru the washer and dryer the fibers seem to meld together and you have a super absorbent towel with few wrinkles right out of the dryer.  We have had such wonderful comments on them and they continue to be one of  our best sellers.

Check out our beautiful kitchen towels in our webstore!