Yarn in Navajo Textiles
of raveled yarns
This is a 2ply S-twist raveled yarn made from a S-spun
factory yarn and one Z-spun factory yarn |
This is a 2ply Z -twist raveled yarn made from a Z-spun
factory yarn and a S-spun factory yarn
This is a 3ply S-twist raveled yarn made from an S-spun
factory yarn and two Z-Spun factory yarns.
refers to the group of plied yarns and the direction they are
twisted together i.e., S or Z. Spun
or spin refers to the individual yarns incorporated into the larger
group and the direction of spin i.e., S or Z.
yarns are samples of the labor intensive process the Navajo employed
to create the red yarns for their weavings-most common before 1880.
The process visually outlined above also illustrates the problem
of analyzing one red color. If there are several different
yarns present in a weaving then there are probably several different
dyes with the different yarns. Early dye analysis ignored
the yarn's details in favor of just testing "the red color"
and has frequently produced results that claim blends of Lac
and cochineal or there were confused
results because the testing could not separate or identify two dyes
present in one sample.
dye analysis methods are compared)
is significant because there probably was a yarn comprised of two
different flannels and then the smaller yarns are raveled out from
the flannel and made into a new red yarn, as we can see in the photo
above from two different bolt cloths or flannel. This one red yarn
had two smaller yarns containing different dyes when tested separately.
We have frequently found each different yarn to contain different
dyes. In the past this was not done and the dye analysis provided
have the opportunity to analyze and identify the variations and
clues left in the physical evidence as to what the weaver collected,
saved, or incorporated from different sources. Microscopic
analysis of the yarns is the only way to realize the opportunity
and follow up with hypotheses to direct the research into testing
different yarns found re-twisted together. A complete and
thorough examination is required and careful notation and mapping
on a drawing of the textile is how we build a report of where and
what was found. This kind of careful examination allows the
textile to be conceptually reconstructed and analyzed not just appraised
of its value. We can learn what went into the textile and
reveal the complex historical trade routes, fabrication processes,
and ethnological clues as the evidence builds. There is a
lot we can learn from studying the yarns, dyes, and fibers.