Navajo Rug Weaver

How to Weave a Rug: The Wool


The skills and philosophies of weaving are taught to Navajo girls by their mothers, grandmothers, and other older women. The fine details of weaving are seldom taught to non-Navajos (since some feel that would dilute the value of their weaving). In this section, we will discuss some of the basics of how Navajo rugs and baskets are created.

1. Wool needs to be collected by shearing the sheep. The wool from two to three sheep are needed to make a 3 x 5 foot rug. The wool will then be washed.

2. The wool fibers need to be straightened to remove tangles. This process is called 'carding', which is something like combing hair.

3. Next is the very long process of spinning the wool on a spindle. The fibers need to be spun two to three times in order to produce a yarn that is fine enough to be used for making a rug.


4. The fibers are then dyed, either with commercial dyes or plant-based dyes (as shown in image).

(click on the image to zoom in)