Elise VanWinkle, Chief Pattern, Navajo Handwoven, 22.5 in x 20.5 in
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|Widest Point on Bracelet Band||n/a|
|One of a Kind||TRUE|
|Rug Dye Type||Aniline Dye (commercial wool)|
|Rug Navajo Pattern||Chief|
|Rug Time Period||Modern (Post 1950)|
The main Navajo weaving technique is classified as weft-faced tapestry. In this method discontinuous horizontal wefts go over and under vertical warps, completely concealing the warp threads.
Warp and weft are important because their coarseness or fineness, along with the skill of a weaver, determine the tightness of a weave. “Tightness” is what differentiates a loosely woven throw, a quality floor rug or museum tapestry. Tightness is defined by the number of weft threads per linear inch. The higher the weft counts, the tighter, finer and more expensive Navajo textiles will be.
You’ll find the lowest weft counts in coarsely woven Gallup Throws, approximately 12-16 threads per inch and the highest, 80-120, in superior Two Grey Hills/Toadlena weaves. The vast majority of Navajo textiles fall somewhere in between. These mid-range weavings have average counts of 30-60 wefts per inch. Textiles in this group are considered well woven, reasonably tight and ably crafted for long lasting wear and beauty.
To determine the weft count of a textile, place a ruler parallel to a vertical warp. With the aid of a magnifying glass count the number of weft threads in one inch. (Double that number to take into account the corresponding wefts on the back face.) Repeat this process in a number of areas since weft counts may vary with the different yarns in a pattern. Average the counts when you’re through. This gives you a good assessment of your piece.
Be aware that the tighter a weaver pounds down the wefts with her comb, and the finer her wool is spun, the higher the weft count will be. Keep in mind too, that the ratio between warp and weft is also important, with the finest textiles having both high warp and weft counts.