Proponents of the Arts & Crafts design movement found that the bold, geometric designs harmonized beautifully with their simple furniture and handmade accessories. By 1896, C.N. Cotton, a trader in Gallup, New Mexico had issued a catalogue in an effort to expand his market to eastern retailers. Other traders, most notably Lorenzo Hubble at Ganado, Arizona and J.B. Moore at Crystal, New Mexico, followed up with their own catalogues in the early years of the new century, focusing specifically on rugs. Navajo weaving had quickly gained a national audience.
There are many reasons for the popularity and high cost of Navajo rugs. This article provides all the details you need on Navajo rugs as well their origin, weaving patterns and methods. When you research native American history you'll find information about one tribe called the Navajo. This tribe began their economic life weaving rugs that were later known as Navajo rugs. These rugs were strongly associated with their culture and traditions. The Navajos initially began their weaving journey by using only a few pieces. However, they eventually expanded their unique designs across the country. They weaved them with their hand-knotted features and a vertical loom. These unique features made weaving more popular across the southwest.
After shearing, the wool can be cleaned, carded, then spun by hand. Even today Navajo weavers still don't use spinning machines. Instead, the wool is stretched on a spindle and twisted manually. The blanket then gets woven on the unique Navajo loom. It takes a lot to make a Navajo rug. It is not enough to raise the sheep; many weavers continue to do so. Wool must also be spun, cleaned and carded. The process of weaving a large rug may take more than a year. Remember that it can often take years for a weaver to become proficient in weaving Navajo rugs. Girls and boys learn as children and then get more difficult as they go. The quality of the yarn and weave, as well as its size and design, are important factors that influence the price of authentic Navajo rugs. Navajo rugs are woven with the same simple loom that the Navajo have used for 300 year. Because of this, the intricate, balanced designs speak volumes about the weaver's artistic skill and talent.
Most Navajo rugs are without fringe. 99.5% is what I mean by most. If the fringe is visible on the piece of furniture you're considering, inquire about the source. I don’t care if the seller thinks their sainted grandmother bought it from J. L. Hubbell. However, fringe means it isn’t Navajo. Navajo rugs can be warped using a continuous figure-8 technique, and the weaving covers the entire warp. The image at the left shows how a rug is made. The ends of a Navajo rug will show these loops if you pay attention to them.