Posts Tagged ‘backstrap loom’

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

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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

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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

 

Mission Trip To Help Children in Guatemala

May 30, 2013

 

Come join us this fall to help children in Guatemala!  We will be working at a small school in the rural highlands.  Watch the video for more photos of this beautiful country and the warm and friendly people!

 

Visit our website for more information on the trip!

 

Fair Trade Benefits Our Artisans

May 20, 2012

Juan and his family are extremely poor.

They live in a small, poor village on one of the mountains near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Juan and his wife are illiterate but he has a skill that gives him a little income to help his family– he carves backstrap looms by hand.  Backstrap looms are used by most of the Mayan women to weave all types of fabric for household use and to also make clothing.  However, backstrap looms last a long time so Juan’s sales are not great because women don’t need to replace them very often.

Juan and his wife have 13 children and they live in a one room home with a dirt floor kitchen attached.

We have talked with Juan and his wife about their needs and the first thing they mentioned was a new house or repairs to their present house.  The second thing they talked of was needing sufficient food for their children. The third item was help with sending their children to school.

Our work with the artisans not only gives them dignity in their work and in receiving a fair wage for that work but with the profits that we have from selling their products we return it to Guatemala to help better the lives of the artisans and their families.

Juan is a humble man – he doesn’t want handouts but really wants to work. With his carving work  and the extra benefits through our Fair Trade work, we are hoping to help  Juan and his family.

We would like to thank all our customers that have bought Juan’s backstrap looms!  Every sale helps him and his family earn money to be able to live a little better!

If you would like to help support our project for Educational Support of our artisan families please donate to our Educational Support Fund or sponsor one of Juan’s children to attend school.

If you would like to order one of Juan’s handcarved looms check out our webstore or order any one of our other Fair Trade products to help another artisan!