Vietnamese backstrap weaving

I went to visit with two Vietnamese backstrap weavers here in North Carolina where I am staying with Lisa (Virag). I was lucky to get in contact with Betsy Renfrew who is working with the weavers in the Vietnamese community in Greensboro before I Ieft Bolivia for this trip and she extended an invitation. We spent this afternoon with two weavers and saw their textiles and will go to the home of one of them tomorrow to see her warping and setting up to weave.

I will blog in much more detail about this eventually but here is a sneak preview. They dressed me up in one of their traditional skirts woven on the backstrap loom for a photo. The bag on my shoulder was also woven by them. I have many more photos of the ladies, their textiles, their looms and tools...all coming soon on my blog.



What a wonderful experience! Is it possible to post a close up of the hemline motifs on that skirt? They are very universal, appearing nearly everywhere that does traditional warp-faced weaving. I have seen very similar motifs on Uzbek bands and rugs.

That bag looks gorgeous too! Its good to see the old skills are not totally dying out and can be passed on to others.


such beautiful weavings! and I am really looking forward to the updates.  I love these classic design motifs and am very curious about the history behind them.


Today Lisa, Maurice and I returned to the home of one of the Montagnard weavers, Ju Nie, and she showed us the entire warping process and I got to weave on her loom. Friday the 13th? Who cares? It was my birthday and I got to spend it in such a cool way!!




Following on from my trip to the US and the visit with the two Vietnamese hilltribe weavers, I studied the technique on one of the textiles I bought from them and have reproduced some of the designs and made two zippered purses form the piece. These weavers use cross knit looping as a joining and decorative stitch and so I lined one of the bags with this.

A view of the cross knit looping...

There are many pictures of the weavers, their textiles, looms and tools and the whole story on my BLOG today.


I went on from there to use another typical color combination from the Vietnamese ladies' textiles to make a cell phone case and edged that with cross knit looping too. I am not sure if I should also line the flap with the yellow edging.

More pics and details on my blog.



A couple of things I blogged about today...

  • the lettering that the Montagnard weavers use on straps for bags they have nicknamed "bible bags".
  • the way the Montagnard weavers wind their string heddles as they warp