Finger Woven Belt and Garters





A few years ago, I learned how to finger weave so that I could make belts and garters for 17th century Native American costumes (http://fabricoftime.blogspot.com/2013/10/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none.html). I used this website, "Native American Finger Weaving in the Eastern Forests" (http://www.nativetech.org/finger/beltinstr.html), to learn the basic techniques. Last year, I conspired with a friend to make a surprise birthday present of a belt and garters for someone, so I once again tried my hand at finger weaving. There are some really beautiful examples of finger woven belts and garters at the Fort Pitt Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some day, I would like to be that good at finger weaving, but for now, here are photos of what I can achieve.


This set is warp-faced chevron weave made with 100% wool worsted weight yarn. The garters are 40 strands wide and the belt is 80 strands wide. I spent about 3 hours making each garter and perhaps 12 hours making the belt. I am a novice with this technique, so it took a l very long time, but it's very relaxing. Someone once said to me that weaving is cheaper than therapy (lolz) because it is so meditative. My projects were also quite portable, so I was able to take them anywhere with me. I pinned the pieces to a wooden dowel rod, which I then strapped around my knees to hold tension on the yarn while I wove with my hands. I only moved the red strands, so I created the diamond pattern by moving all of the red strands from the center to the outer edges and then all of the red strands from the outer edges back to the center. This approach created a somewhat wavy edge, but I blocked the finished pieces to make them as straight as possible. I'm sure there's a better way to create the pattern, but I don't know it yet. Because of the way I wove the strands, the piece is mostly warp-faced, but in the center of the red diamonds, both the warp and the weft are visible (what's it called, even weave?). To finish, I twisted the ends and tied a knot on each twist.

The belt and garters are intended for reenacting the French and Indian War era, so 1750's-1760's. My method is highly historically accurate, as is the wool fiber, but the dye is almost certainly a modern synthetic. I paid $18 for the yarn. It was certainly a good learning experience, but I think I will need to consult an expert if I want to get better. I want to learn how to add beads and create very even tension. Onward and upward!

 

Comments

  1. I am very impressed with your belt! I am also trying my hand at finger weaving but I am too impatient (aka ADD ;) ) so I only have about 12 inches done so far. And that's from starting roughly 6 months ago. I do the mountain man rendezvous but we get a lot of longhunters with the kind of garters you made, too. My last project was a Plains-style ribbon dress (for which I'm making the finger woven belt). If you want to check out my novicely novice amateur projects, check out rendezvouslearning.blogspot.com. I'm so glad to see someone else trying the same kind of project, too!

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  2. I've been trying to learn finger weaving. Are there any other books or websites you can share?

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