Above: Native American Carding
Sheep's Wool to Prepare it for
Weaving a Blanket.
Ethnologists believe that the Navajo were influenced by the early Pueblo blanket
weavers, because of the obvious similarities between the Pueblo and the Navajo
methods and designs of their weaving products.
For both peoples woven objects were, first of all, supremely functional; blankets
might be used for wearing, sitting upon, or hanging across the entries of dwellings.
For both the Navajo and Zuni peoples weaving itself was a quiet act of faith-a link
to the past.
The Pueblos having given them the technique, the Navajos quickly established their
own style. In the Pueblo tradition it had generally been men who had done the
weaving; among the Navajos the task was usually taken up by women.
A Pueblo man would weave up from the bottom, invert the piece, and continue; a
Navajo woman would weave straight across, joining vertical sections along a
characteristic diagonal called the lazy line.
Navajo weavers also added the "spirit trail" or
"weaver's pathway"-a line running off the edge of the
piece that allowed the spirit of the weaver to escape
so that she could go on to another.
Classical Period Weaving
Weaving designs during the late classical period contained
a configuration of large central diamonds which many of us
associate with Navajo design.
A Fast Sell
A study done in 1973 by the Navajo Studies Department
of the Dine College Community College in Many Farms,
Arizona, undertook to determine the time involved in creating a Navajo rug or blanket,
from sheep shearing to marketing. The total was 345 hours. Out of these 345 hours, it
took 45 hours to shear the sheep and process the wool; 24 hours to spin the wool, 60
hours to prepare the dye and dye the wool, 215 hours to weave the item, and one hour to
sell it to tourists.
Navajo Indian Art-
Rug & Blanket Weaving
Traditional Weaving Patterns