Native American Finger Weaving Instructions

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Native American finger weaving has been important to the early North American people for generations and is still practiced today. Finger weaving was used by the Navajo and other tribes to make intricately designed blankets, rugs, belts, and sashes. They were originally made from strings of bark, hemp, and other strong plant fibers and dyed or painted for decoration.

Things You'll Need

  • Stick
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Cut six 16" strands of string, yarn, or plant fibers.

  • Make a clove hitch knot with your first strand. To do this, double the strand over about 3" to form an untied loop. Fold the doubled end around a sturdy stick or knitting needle, and pull both ends through the loop tightly. Repeat this step with the remaining strands.

  • Tie the small ends of your strands together to keep them out of your weaving.

  • Lay your stick on the floor and straighten the strands. Just below your stick, weave a smaller seventh strand through the long ends of the original six strands once left-to-right and back again right-to-left. Tie the ends of your seventh strand just tight enough around the other six strands so that you can still separate them. This is to keep the weaving from unraveling once it is removed from the stick. Straighten the strands again as they were.

  • Take your right-most strand (Strand 1) and weave it through the other five in an over-under-over pattern. Try to make your weave at the top near the stick. If you accidentally make your weave too loose or too far down, hold the other five strands down and pull Strand 1 to pull the weaving to the top, closer to the stick.

  • Lay Strand 1 parallel to the left-most strand. It has now become Strand 6. Repeat Step 5 with your new Strand 1 (the strand that is now the right-most strand), and continue until you are about 3" from the end of your strands.

  • Cut another small strand, and weave it through the six strands as you did in the beginning. Tie tie the ends together tightly to keep the ends from unraveling.

  • Remove the stick from the top loops. You can trim, but do not cut off the loose ends, as they will be used to tie the necklace around the wearer's neck. Your weaving is now finished, and you can decorate your necklace with paints or dyes.

Tips & Warnings

  • When learning to weave, it's easier to use two different colored strings in an alternating pattern so that you can keep track of where you are in your weaving.
  • Weave tightly to make your necklace longer and thinner, while loose weaving creates a bolder pattern. Try one of each style.
  • If you are using plant material, make sure it is not poisonous or a kind of plant you are allergic to.

References

  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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