The type of loom does not determine the type of fabric. It is true that the waist loom is more convenient for narrow goods and the blanket loom for broad ones, but subject to limitations of width any weave could be used on any of them. The *hing which decides weave is not how the shed is opened but which threads compose the shed. I f several selections of threads are made, this means several heddles, differently attached. (See page 43 for further explanation of "heddles.")
The pueblos must have experimented a good deal with heddles and often they changed the weave when they were part way through a garment. One who looks for the first time at a woman's blanket dress, for instance, might not realize that it has two distinct weaves, and neither of them simple. The same is true of kilts and shawls and breechcloths. Even when they are in plain color, they may have an elaborate weave.
The plain weave has the minimum of sheds-two. They are controlled by two heddles or a heddle and a shed stick, raising alternate warps, so that the weft crosses over one under one. A burlap sack shows a coarse version of this.
When the warp and wefts are of equal thickness and combined loosely enough so that both of them show in the finished product, the weave looks like a basket. (111-15) This is a frequent pattern with cotton materials, since cotton is not elastic and it would be hard to crowd or stretch either warp or weft so as to hide the other. That was one reason for the frequent use of such a weave in the pueblos. The other was that the evenly spaced threads, which resemble those of coarse canvas, made the best basis for embroidery. The threads, as counted by modern embroiderers, are 24 to the inch.
Woman's large white cotton shawl, the Hopi "wedding robe." (See Plate 111-16)
White shawls of any size to be embroidered.
Plate 111-15. Close-up of plain weave.
Plate 111-16. Hopi wedding shawl in basket weave.
Borders of woman's woolen blanket dress if to be embroidered. Man's white cotton kilt.
Man's shirt (wool or cotton) if to be embroidered. (Plate 111-41) Plain portion of man's patterned sash.
Whole white sash done by some pueblos in imitation of the Hopi braided sash.
Small woolen blankets for boys and babies.
The plain weave is sometimes spoken of as blanket if the weft is heavier than the warp and so crowded together that the warp does not show. This is a good weave with wool, where the weft may be soft and fluffy and the warp fine-spun and tight. It is a usual one with Navaho and pueblo blankets, where the colored weft carries the whole pattern and the warp is invisible. The warp may even be of cotton thread or string.
Woolen blankets, for bedding and men's wear, usually were white with plain stripes of blue, brown, or black running the short way of the blanket. Zuni made them all black. Woolen blankets were once made by every pueblo except Tiwa. Now only Hopi and Santo Domingo make them in heavy rug form, for the tourist trade. (Plate 111-17)