Posted by: lavernewaddington | January 4, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – A New Year and a New E-Book!

Happy New Year to all of you! I usually let December 31st slip on by but this time it was a little different because it marked the finish of my latest e-book on the eye-pattern tubular band and other decorative finishing techniques. It really did feel like a big finish and, as the fireworks boomed outside (we tend to only have the noisy ones here and not so many of the pretties), I almost felt as if they were cheering for me. I guess the end-of-year means something different for each and every one of us. This is what it meant to me at that very moment, and on and off until 2am! There are no official public displays of fireworks. People buy them in the market and let them off in their back yards. It can go on all night!

So….about the e-book. You may know this pretty eye-pattern tubular band by its Quechua name, ñawi awapa. I have seen it woven in various places across the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. Because I know of at least one other local name that is used for it, I decided to simply call it the eye-pattern band in my book.

Weaving the eye-pattern tubular band in the central Bolivian highlands.

I have been happily applying it to my small woven pieces ever since I learned it. The novelty of seeing those little eyes appearing along the band never wears off! Used as an edging, it is the perfect finish to my woven pieces. In the highlands it is used for both decorative and practical reasons as it protects the edges of the fabric which are often the first parts to wear out.

Here’s my latest finished project using a simple two-color eye-pattern band as the edging on my Andean Pebble Weave wrist-cuff .

The tubular  band is woven and sewn simultaneously to the perimeter of the cuff using the weft as the sewing thread.

When I was learning to weave a coca-leaf bag with my teachers in Bolivia in 1997, I realized that removing the cloth from the loom did not mean the end of the project. It actually signaled the beginning of a whole new process that involved embellishing the piece with various decorative finishes. I saw that the eye pattern has different levels of complexity in different regions and that the methods used to create it can also vary. These kinds of similarities and differences have always fascinated me.

And, I have since learned that the eye-pattern tubular band is fun to weave on its own rather than purely as an edging. It makes lovely necklaces on which to hang pendants, sweet bracelets and bangles, and can be used in a variety of ways in accessories….fobs for keys and tools, lanyards, eye-glass holders, shoe laces, straps and drawstrings…. From my own experiments, I show you how to create straight, curved and spiraled versions of the tubular bands. They all have their particular charm!

One of the many fun things about this pattern is that you can make it as subdued or as lively as you like. I am generally limited to using only two colors at once in a pattern when I do most of my basic pick-up weaving techniques. The eye-pattern band allows you to use up to five or even more colors in the pattern. My favorite combination is usually with only three but you can make them as colorful as you like!


The traditional way to weave these tubular bands is by having the narrow warp attached to the weaver’s waist or belt with a piece of string. String heddles are not used at all and so the weaver’s body is simply suspending the warp. The weaver is not required to move the body back and forth to add or relax tension on the warp to help operate the heddles.

You should at least be familiar with weaving terminology…warp, weft, beat, shed etc…before you approach this.

Because heddles are not used at all to create the sheds, the warp can be easily set up and woven using an inkle loom or any other loom or frame that allows you to adjust tension for take-up. Full instructions on how to set up and weave the independent band on an inkle loom are included in both versions of the e-book.

Here I am weaving one on my tiny Ashford Inklette.

My e-book is available in two versions. One contains the instructions for weaving the eye-pattern band as an independent tube and then goes on to show how to weave and sew it simultaneously as an edging along the two sides of a project, or around corners, covering all edges.

I used a two-color eye-pattern tubular band to dress up a simple pouch that I made with commercial cotton fabric. The cross-knit-loop stitch decorates the mouth of the pouch.

Other decorative sewn finishing techniques such as the coil stitch, pictured below, are included with dozens of step-by-step photos as well as drawings.

The other version of the e-book is for those who only want to weave the band as an independent tube, perhaps for using it in jewelry and accessories, and aren’t interested in the sewing techniques. Both books provide ideas, instructions and suggestions for finishing the bands and for using them in such projects.

There are links to both versions in each one’s product description on the Taproot Video page.

And, let me tell you about something new for my e-books……

Both e-books include access to supplemental video clips. These are not stand-alone tutorials. They were designed to allow you to see “in action’’ some of the processes. The techniques are thoroughly explained in the books using over 140 photos, drawings and diagrams and so the videos really are optional supplemental material. With these additional materials I hope to be able to cater to a greater variety of learning styles. I had a lot of fun making those video clips and I am thrilled with them! Links to the videos are provided in the ebooks where they can be viewed and/or downloaded, if you like. They are better viewed after you have read each tutorial. Little video camera symbols in the book will let you know when there is a related video clip to be viewed.

For my left-handed weaving friends, I have included instructions in the Appendix on how to adapt the weaving technique to suit. You will notice that I said for my left-handed weaving friends. I am sorry, but for the sewing techniques in the book, I have left it up to you to adapt.  My left-handed students have always been so awesomely good at doing that in my classes!

I will leave you with this picture of me with one of my teachers, Maxima, spending a tranquil afternoon together. I weave as Maxima sews a decorative edging to a small pouch. The pouch on which she taught me to weave and sew a tubular band, lies on the ground between us. This was on my birthday back in 2011….a lovely way to spend it.

So, I hope that you will enjoy the e-book and I look forward to seeing what you create using it!

I wish you all the best for 2019!

(Hair update, for those who are interested…. I now have a blunt-edged chin-length hair cut with a good five months of grey growth!).







  1. I just bought this one. Congratulations, Laverne for another wonderful book!

    • Thanks so much, Julie. I know you will put it to very good use.

  2. Congratulations! For both the books and the natural hair colour. Will order the book in the morning.
    All the best for the new year!

    • Jim, you are always so supportive. Thank you so much. I know you will love the technique in this book. You can embellish things that you have already woven. And thanks for cheering me on with the grey-hair transition!

  3. Congratulations with your new e-book.
    Not much weaving around my place because of severe shoulderproblems.I really miss it but full time work and weaving together is to much right now.
    You will look great with gray hair. It will bee so much healthier for your hair and for youself. I am going from natural blond to some ashy colour but i decide to leave it like that because i hate the chemicals involved with colouring. At 60 it is just a natural proces that i decide to accept.

  4. Congratulations, Laverne, on your new book! I bought it last night. It is an excellent work, an important work, and it provides much needed and valuable information. Your book is thorough, well-laid-out, comprehensive, and aesthetically pleasing.

    Thank you so much for transmitting and preserving the traditional knowledge of the women artists of the Andean highlands… and making it available to the whole world. (Your hair is also beautiful!)

    What a wonderful gift at the start of 2019!

    Many thanks and best wishes to you.

    • Thank you so much, David, for this very first review 🙂

  5. Is in my basket !… Case to follow! ❤

  6. Wow, this year the Three Kings brought me what I wanted even before I asked them! Tubular bands 🙂

  7. Greetings LaVerne! Congratulations on the new book. How do I purchase it? Also, I just watched you backstrap DVD. It is so clear, helpful and well done. Thank you. I was in your adornment class at Redstone Glen. Happy New Year!

    • Hi Graceanne. It’s great to hear from you. I’m glad you enjoyed the dvd. The book is an e-book which you download as a pdf. There are also supplemental video clips that you will be able to view after you purchase the e-book. There are links in the ebook to the videos.

  8. Hi Laverne, I have bought your book on Eye pattern bands and congratulate you on a superb production. Do you have a publication on using an inkle loom for pebble weave bands? I am not able to sit with a backstrap for any length of time.

    • Thank you, Lin. My third book is on Complementary-warp Pick-up. Complementary-warp is the name of the category of structures into which pebble weave falls. So, in that book you will find instructions for the inkle loom that you enable you to weave pebble weave and all the other complementary-warp structures that are commonly used in South American weaving. Many of the pattern charts that are included in this book are pebble weave.

      A more advanced technique uses additional sets of string heddles but they aren’t essential. They are added to make the process a little faster but that very much depends on the kind of loom you have. Sometimes, they are not worth the bother if your loom doesn’t have enough room for them.

      You will be able to weave all the pebble weave patterns in all my books using the method I teach in the Complementary-warp Pick-up book.

      • Many thanks Laverne. I will do that.

  9. Thanks for putting together such a clear instruction book for eye pattern tubular bands. I first saw these facinating bands in Puno in 1999 and just thought that they were a variation on sling braids. I later stumbled across Cahlander’s book on sling braiding and found out that the eye bands were in fact a different technique and got her other book on tubular edging. While I was able to figure out sling braiding from her descriptions, I was never able to decipher her instructions for the tubular weaving, even after many attempts over many years. Fast forward to your book; over one evening, I was finally able to produce a respectable eye pattern band! Thank you for making this knowledge available to the masses.

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