Posted by: lavernewaddington | December 7, 2009

Backstrap Weaving – an introduction


My name is Laverne Waddington and I have been learning the traditional weaving techniques of South America since 1995.

I wove the above piece on my backstrap loom as a wall hanging for a friend of mine in Utah. The designs are typical of the Guarani people of lowland Bolivia where I live. A snake skin design adorns the outer bands while the center is made up of stars. Each star has a slightly different inner pattern some of which are my own.  This piece has been woven in pebble weave -a complementary warp technique which I learned in Huancayo, Peru with my very first indigenous weaving teacher.

my first teacher in Peru.

Margarita –  my first teacher in Peru

I plan to frequently contribute to this blog with stories of my experiences learning to weave and live here in South America as well as with details of my current projects and aspirations.

Santa Cruz-my home in Bolivia

I hope you will learn something here about the simple joy of backstrap weaving and maybe even be inspired to try it yourself.

weaving the Guarani design piece

At my loom weaving the above Guarani- design piece.


  1. Hello Laverne! 🙂

    • Hi Dianne and welcome! Thanks for visiting-hope you will drop by often.

  2. Hi Laverne! I really like everything you write…. I am one of your faithful followers. I have learned so much from you and I know I have so much more to learn still….

    • Thanks Laura. Hope you can learn lots here too 🙂

  3. Hello Laverne,
    I have used a rigid heddle with my backstrap loom for years, in fact I first became interested in your site because you taught me how to use the traditional methods in a way that is very easy to follow. I am really excited about the shorter heddle segment link since I have search for these for years and have only found them in a store once. Good luck with your new blog. Looking forward to seeing more of your backstrap weaving ideas!

    • Hi Terry,
      Do you have any of your rigid heddle woven things around? It would be great if you posted some in the Weavolution group some time. We have a thread devoted just to balanced weaves. Yes, that link is very cool-it was kindly provided by a couple of Weavolution members. Stay tuned for posts on traditional methods…..

  4. Hi Laverne. Like everything I’ve seen you post, the contents of your blog are inspiring and beautifully presented.

    I’m back from Cuba now and had a wonderful time. I will write you when I get caught up with a few things.

    I’ll be telling my friends to visit your blog if they haven’t already done so!! Thank you!!


    • Thank YOU Bonnie! Welcome back and I’m looking forward to hearing about Cuba.

  5. Laverne,

    I am a student at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. I am currently doing two independent studies, one in natural dying and the other being backstrap weaving! I intend to do some traveling and studying in some South American areas. It has been hard for me to locate very many local backstrap weavers and was incredibly excited to hear about what you were doing. I am addicted to my backstrap loom but have only set up two tabby warps. I want to learn as much as I can about this craft to keep it alive. Sorry this is so much, I’m just so excited to hear about what you are doing.



  6. Hi Laverne..
    I have a request. Is it possible to get research materials on the history of backstrap loom? Looking forward to your kind help.
    All the best and regards !!

    • A google search is the best thing I can suggest at this time. Broudy’s “The Book of Looms” is helpful.

  7. I found you! I met you at Convergence and tried weaving for the first time. (I’m the girl with the dreads 🙂 I made a sash today at home and am enjoying the process very much. I’ll be back often for more information. I hope this finds you well!

    • Hi Dawn! So glad you have checked out my blog and even happier that you have already been weaving since you got home. There is a lot of stuff here on the blog and tutorials as you get more experience and want to try some patterning techniques. Thanks for visiting and keep in touch. Send me photos some time of your projects. I would love to see how you are getting on.

  8. What a coincidence, as I too learned to weave in Huancayo. I learned from Tino Leoncio, who is a master weaver. However, I just learned very basic weaving. But it was fun and I came home and bought a rigid heddle loom. It’s really great to read your blog and immerse myself again in the wonderful cultures.

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