The author spent four summers (1930–33) living and working among the Navajo, during which time she learned the principles of weaving. In this book she takes readers through the same process, introducing the careful details, the personalities she encountered, and the materials and methods of weaving in the Navajo style.
The spinning of the yarn, the dyes, the equipment, the weaving processes, the designs and colors, even the tensions and textures of the final product are all part of weaving a Navajo blanket. The author guides readers through each step, from choosing the wool through carding and spinning warp and weft yarns, building and setting up a loom, creating a design, and carrying out the actual weaving. Although the emphasis is on typical blanket weaving, the author also covers the related arts of saddleblanket weaving, warp weaving, scalloped edge weaving, double-faced weaving, and sandpainting tapestries. She also comments on history, patterns, symbolism, the effect of the market, and other matters that affect the Navajo weaving style. In five appendixes she reviews the implements and materials of weaving, Navajo materials for natural dyes, weaving terms, and simple lessons in learning to weave a Navajo blanket. Nearly 100 photographs and line drawings illustrate the processes and finished work.
Crafters, whether they want to start from scratch or gradually add Navajo elements to their other weaving skills, will learn from this book the authentic steps of Navajo weaving. Collectors, ethnologists, and others will learn more about materials, techniques, and related matters that will help them in judging, appraising, and enjoying the processes that go into weaving a Navajo blanket.