21 September 2011

Covet: Vintage Navajo Rug

I can't decide which of these vintage Navajo rugs I like most.  
Guess I'll have to get all three.
Available here.


Anonymous said...

The Navajo originally wove blankets which are wider than they are long. The Navajo rugs in your pictures are a later development dictated by white traders. There was no market for blankets in the East so the traders told the Navajo to weave in a longer than wider configuration. This change started somewhat before 1900. Another detail that characterizes the Navajo rug is the tassel at the four corners. The Navajo method of warping the looms eliminated fringed ends. Also, no two Navajo designs are ever alike with one exception. Beginning in the 1850's the Navajo wove a blanket with alternating stripes of brown, indigo and white wool with no borders or figures. These were called Ute Style blankets and supposedly were used in trade with the Ute Indians. There are maybe 30 of them in various museums and private collections in the United States. One of them sold at auction for $1,000,000. They are considered the earliest examples of completed Navajo weaving.

In the pictures you show, I believe the rug with the crosses is older than the rug with the red border and might be worth more money because of that.

Thank you for showing these Navajo rugs. Ann

W.E. said...

Dear Ann, you are a fountain of information and I am drinking until I am fit to burst! Wonderful information on the history of Navajo rugs...I have to admit that the example with crosses is my favorite!

Anonymous said...

You don't need to publish this, its just for your interest.

My introduction to Navajo rugs/blankets started at the Textile Museum in Washington DC. The strong graphic designs inspired me to weave one myself, the Ute style of brown, white and indigo blue stripes. A carpenter helped me build a Navajo loom in my living room using the ceiling rafters and floor joists to stretch the warp on. I sent away for the long staple wool, hired some one to wash and card it, bought a spinning wheel and set to work.

Here is the funny part. Natural indigo is sold in hard lumps that only disolve in fermented urine. I asked the men I work with to collect for me. Every other day I would drive by their houses and on the front porch would be a brown paper bag with a jar of it for me. It took awhile to collect 7 gallons. I put a big vat over the pilot light on my stove and the pilot light warmed it enough that it fermented. When you dip the white yarn in the dye nothing happens, you soak it for awhile and then remove it. As you hold up the yarn you can watch it begins to turn blue as the oxygen hits it. That is so rewarding. Several dips insure a good deep color.

The project I am doing is 7 feet wide and 5.5 feet tall. It really is quite beautiful. Try Googling Ute Style Navajo blanket and maybe you can find a picture of one. Thank you again for your post. Ann