Weaving Tools

Sheep shearing

Sheep shearing. Public domain.

Navajo weavers today use basic tools very similar to those used by 19th century weavers.

  • Steel shears: for shearing wool fleece from the sheep.
  • Hand carders: for combing and cleaning sheep’s wool before spinning.
  • Spindle: for spinning wool into yarn.
  • Weaving batten: for separating foundation (warp) yarns and maintaining a space (shed) through which pattern (weft) yarn is inserted.
  • Weaving combs: pointed end for positioning weft yarns between warp yarns, and comb for packing weft yarns into place.
tools to sheer


Designs on Navajo baskets like these probably provided the inspiration for early blanket motifs. Weavers incorporated the opposing terraced (stepped) triangles into blanket weaving during the Classic (1800-1865) and Late Classic (1865-1880) periods. Crosses in several forms appear after about 1860.

sheering sheep

Sheep shearing. Public domain.