The Art of Hand Weaving

Hand weaving is accomplished by interlacing the threads of the weft and the warp on a loom.

A weaver at the loom showing the warp of the Mayatex saddle blanket.

The warp (synthetic) is the thread that composes the skeleton of the weaving and cannot be cut without the blanket unraveling. It is the part that is manipulated by the loom with the use of a harness.

The weft (wool), on the other hand, composes the body of the weaving and can be trimmed without the integrity of the weaving being affected. In hand weaving, the weft thread is carried by a bobbin that can hold enough thread to produce only a few inches of vertical length before expending its supply of thread.

This “bobbin end” must then be overlapped with another “bobbin end” and the process of weaving can continue until desired length is achieved.

Thick saddle blankets can have as many as 4 plys of yarn twisted together to form one strand of yarn. When these “bobbin-ends” pop up, due to washing or friction against the horse, the world may appear to be coming to an end! However, these may be trimmed off or tucked back under the warp thread.

Felted yarn (single ply) generally produces less hysteria because there is only one strand that will pop up. Felted yarns are generally thicker and more costly and are used primarily for the more expensive custom woven saddle blankets.