Friday, October 7, 2011

a weaving lesson

Last Tuesday, I got to go up to a nearby village to take a very simple weaving lesson from the Weaver's Cooperative with whom our NGO works. Being tied into a backstrap loom and trying to weave a bracelet was definitely a new experience, as was learning a new skill from someone without actually talking with them (the women spoke mostly Quechua, not that my rusty Spanish is up to the task of a weaving lesson). The woman teaching me probably wove virtually all of the first bracelet for me - it was only early on in the second one that I finally caught on and managed to do it myself.

As you can see, most of the preparation was done by the weavers rather than us (the weaver determines the pattern when she sets up the loom), which means I can't unfortunately do this on my own, especially since I suspect this is the most difficult part. I had fun watching, though: 

They make it look so easy! 

I got so carried away taking photos that I don't actually have any of my own sad bracelet, which I'm OK with, because it's not very pretty - my friend's, above, is much nicer!  Still, it was really fun once I got into the rhythm of it, and since part of my volunteer work involves selling the handicrafts made by these women, I was especially happy that I finally got a glimpse of how it works - not to mention a newfound appreciation for the work that goes into it! I'd like to try doing this on my own someday, but I think I'll need well more than the heavily supervised hour and a half I've had so far. I'm thinking this might be helpful ...

Also, excitingly, there were women spinning yarn everywhere. 

So that's here! More soon, hopefully! In the meantime, because the month when you have next to no internet is the best time to do things like this, I've joined Twitter under @wayfaringknittr (there wasn't enough room for an extra e, which annoys me to no end, but, oh well), so, feel free to add me if you're around :) 


  1. I got so excited when I saw the title of your post today as I'm itching to learn how to weave. Now, I'm state-side so weaving for me is something done on the loom. Lo and behold, you showed us something so amazingly spectacular that I couldn't stop looking at your photos. Hope your next bracelet goes well. It looks like you're having a wonderful experience.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment - I'm having a pretty amazing time here, and hoping very much for the chance to get a little better at weaving while I'm here. From what I can tell, all you need for a backstrap loom is something sturdy, like a stick in the ground or a pole, to tie your loom around - the tension is created when you loop it around your own back and lean back. I definitely want to try it on my own and see if i can figure it out without someone doing all the hard part for me :)

  3. Mikka, that is fantastic! That would a dream to be there taking a weaving lesson. love that you are sharing your wonderful experiences with us!