What is fingerweaving?

Fingerweaving is actually a Native American art that was usually done to come up with sashes, belts, straps, and other things only through a weaving process that does not use looms. Unlike the loom-based weaving process, the weft and the warp strands are not separated because all of the strands play both roles.

Some particular patterns and combinations of different colors were originally limited to specific clans or societies only, while others were widely used by the general population. The patterns that were produced through fingerweaving methods were oftentimes chosen for various designs for leg bands, belts, capes, dresses, pants, sashes, gun straps, and even shirts. For some designs that were close to costumes, feathers and beads were interwoven into the clothes.

From the French voyagers

Back in the past, the French voyagers were regarded as fur traders in the Northern part of the United States of America and the Southern part of Canada. They adapted the patterns for creating sashes and belts in order to indicate which company they belonged to for identification.

The belts they created were actually the first weight belts so that they could add more support to their stomachs while carrying canoes or some packets of beaver pelts. These weight belts oftentimes weighed up to six hundred pounds.

The Spanish conquistadors

The Spanish conquistadors utilized sashes that have been fingerwoven to proclaim which particular command they are part of. Also, the sashes are tools for recording their conquests over the Native American race.

South American styles

Contrary to what many say about the similarities between South American and North American patterns and designs, they are actually much more different than similar. In fact, their differences from one another are far more observable. Moreover, patterns from the North were slightly modified with some additional weft strands.

Basic weaves

To date, the weave that is most commonly used is the diagonal weave. People and various manufacturers love this particular weave because it creates a wonderful series of parallel lines that run down the entire length of the weave in a diagonal direction. It does not matter if the seamstress starts weaving from the left side or the right side. The only thing the seamstress should pay very close attention to is maintaining the same direction. Even a minor change in direction can change the general look of the pattern.

Loom weaving

In loom weaving, the seamstress starts off with an even amount of warp strands, but making sure that there are no weft strands. The warp strands should be divided into two groups, a bottom row and the top row as well. The seamstress can start with the top left or the top right strand and run the strand from the top to the bottom or vice versa in keeping the strands in the very same order. Through this process, an interlocked row can be produced.

For the second line of the pattern, the new top right or top left warp strand should be tucked between the top and the bottom rows, which makes a new weft strand. The top and the bottom rows should be interlinked until the entire desired length is finished.


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