Uncle Bobs Tips: Rug Guide

Native American Rugs

History and Background

Like many of the ancient societies weaving always held a prominent place in Native American culture. Native Americans began weaving way back in history and continue to weave their unique pieces of art today. They come in a variety of different designs- but all can be easily recognized as Native American designs. The designs range from simple vertical patterns to more complicated horizontal motifs to even more complicated motifs of terraced triangles and other such shapes. Most of Native American Art is symmetrically balanced. The most famous Native Indian weaving is the Navajo weaving.

Throughout history Native Indian weaving has adopted many shapes and forms. As a matter of fact the different items which were woven at different times reflect the different time periods in the Navajo history

Before the 1860s, Blankets was the key word in this classic period. The Native American Indians wove blankets from Spanish Churro wool which were intended to be worn. They also wove other articles of clothing. Some of the woven products were kept for themselves while others were sold to the people of Spain and India

Starting from the 1860s the Navajos began rapidly switching from blanket weaving to rug weaving. Churro Sheep had been mostly wiped out and therefore had to be replaced with new weaving materials. These included commercially spun wool yarn, machine spun plied cotton, and native Mexican sheep wool. The rugs during this period tended to be course and ostentatiously and brightly colored.

By 1890, Navajo weaving began concentrating most heavily on rugs. At this time rugs were primarily woven for export to people of Anglo regions. Consequently, Navajos began weaving rugs which were stronger, suitable for foot traffic and more similar to the rugs that Anglos were used to.

Today, people use Native American rugs as a piece of traditional art.

How To

How are Native American Rugs made? Navajo weavers often start out with unprocessed raw materials and see their projects to completion. The process is a long and hard one which can take up to several months to finish.

-Navajos start with an upright loom. The exact width and height of the new rug is decided and the loom is adjusted accordingly.

-Wool is prepared for the rug. First it is washed then spun. If necessary the spun wool is later died from the extract of local plants and vegetables.

-Native Indians do not draw their designs in advance. Rather they weave from their heart transforming the emotions of their heart into the woven material. They sometimes design a break in the pattern to allow a break in their thoughts.


Native Indian Rugs can be used as floor coverings or as wall hanging decorations.

Care instructions


Vacuum rugs regularly

Clean stains with dry cleaning fluid

It is recommended to have them cleaned professionally by companies experienced in this area

Spray with commercial spray to ward off spiders and moths - the most dangerous enemies of Native American rugs.

Do Not

Shake rugs out as it can cause fiber to loosen.

Use water to clean as it can cause dies to run.

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