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#655013 - 01/10/11 07:36 AM Creek and Cherokee Sashes  
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,100
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jane - Native American  Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,100
Southeast Georgia
Spent most of the afternoon researching Men's Sashes. I have to complete one for my husband within 2 weeks.

These seem to be fairly universal among the First Peoples. As with all items, they are not just decorative, but utilitarian. They are made with leather, tradecloth, fibers and yarn and can be beaded, fringed and adorned with other things. Sashes for women are generally 2 to 3 inches in width. A man's sash can range from 4 to 10 inches wide.

The sash I'm attempting will be finger woven. I had no idea how widespread fingerweaving was among the First Peoples, and found references from Canada down to Florida.

Martha Berry is a talented Cherokee artist. Her beaded sashes can be viewed at berrybeadworks.com (not a link) No time for sewing and beading, and we'll be attending a Creek Stomp dance. Sue Robishaw's website has photos of her work, which includes a finger woven sash for a Muskogee Creek Straight Dancer. manytracks.com (add the www)

While I love the chevron pattern in Sue's work, one look at the instructions confirms this is not for a beginner. I'll be learning the diagonal stripe pattern, and starting out with some scraps. Based on the instructions at Nativetech.com, I'll need 140 strands of yarn, each 10 ft, for a 4" wide sash to fit my husband.

Apparently there are at least 2 ways to tackle a finger woven sash. Start at one end and work your way to the other. Using this method, by the time I'm close to finishing, it will be hanging from a curtain rod! These have to be woven very tightly, and I'd probably rip the curtains down pulling on the yarn.

The other method is to start in the middle, weaving to one end and then the other. This method works for the chevron pattern. I wonder how it will work with the diagonal stripe pattern. With so many strands, I'm hoping working two 5ft sections will be easier than wrangling 140 strips of yarn 10 ft long. Either way, I'm thinking clothespins! I can ball up each strand and secure it with a clothespin. This may also provide enough weight to keep the yarn straight. I'm hoping I have enough clothespins and wondering what our ancestors would have used.

Last edited by lcp012586; 01/10/11 07:42 AM.

Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
NativeAmericanForum
Avatar: Feather Dance Bustle - Men's Regalia
#655281 - 01/11/11 03:58 AM Re: Creek and Cherokee Sashes [Re: Jane - Native American]  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 17,644
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity
Phyllis Doyle Burns  Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 17,644
Reno, NV
I love the look of finger woven belts and sashes. This is something I have never attempted, but I think I would like it. NativeTech has finger weaving instructions: At this link

And some history/info at: This link

There are so many things I would love to learn how to do and this is one of them. I have promised myself though to finish all projects I have going this year before I start on something new. So - I will see how you do with your experience. I look forward to a pic if possible.


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain
#656429 - 01/16/11 07:36 AM Re: Creek and Cherokee Sashes [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 17,644
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity
Phyllis Doyle Burns  Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 17,644
Reno, NV
lcp, here is an article from Native Times I thought you might enjoy reading. It is about fingerweaving.

Wisey Narcomey about fingerweaving


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain
#658969 - 01/28/11 06:12 AM Re: Creek and Cherokee Sashes [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 17,644
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity
Phyllis Doyle Burns  Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 17,644
Reno, NV
lcp, have you tried attaching your finger weaving to the back of a chair or table leg while you work on it? I used to do that when working with macrame and it worked very well. I put something heavy in the chair to weight it down.

I read in the powwow thread that you found out one of the sashes at the event you attended was crocheted. Is that double crochet and were beads woven in with it? That seems like it would be a lot easier. You could work in a design with different color threads.

Last edited by Phyllis, Native American; 01/28/11 06:16 AM.

Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain
#659023 - 01/28/11 12:54 PM Re: Creek and Cherokee Sashes [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]  
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,100
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jane - Native American  Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,100
Southeast Georgia
Thanks for the suggestions. Some of the websites did recommend attaching the yarn to one chair and weaving as you sit in another. I first need to transfer the yarn strands to a "bigger" stick (broom handle). With such a wide project, working across a table top might be easier. If that is not comfortable, the ladies agreed I should try working with it hanging vertically. I have the feeling this might get moved around a few times before I find the right, comfortable spot.

The sash my husband borrowed was a tight single crochet in red and gray stripes. The yarn felt like acrylic and easily stretched. Other than fringe on each end, it wasn't adorned.

From the information I have gathered, I don't think there is a "standard" for sash construction, other than widths appropriate for men and women. There's probably "wiggle room" for that as well. Traditionally they were woven from plant fibers and later wool. Men can wear them across the shoulder or around the waist. But I have only seen women wearing them at the waist. Fingerweaving is probably the historical method, but the ladies also had what they called "inke" looms. These can be used for finger and card weaving. They have a frame construction, with 6 to 8 thick dowels sticking out from the side. The long strands of yarn are secured and wrapped around the dowels. The 2 looms I saw were about 3 ft long, less than 2 ft high and including the dowels, about 2 ft deep. I looked at those looms for almost an hour and still couldn't figure out how the yarn was wrapped around the dowels. However, wrapping each strand of my fingerweaving around a card (piece of cardboard with slots) might work better than the clothespin idea.

Sashes are basically utilitarian, used as ropes and pull straps. One website described how they were coated, stiffened with beeswax, and could be formed to make a drinking cup. That is too smart. Beeswax was used to seal baskets for food and water, why not sashes too. As with all Native American crafts, they have beauty in their construction and design, even if made only for pulling logs or carrying firewood.

We have been invited to return for another Stomp, but will probably wait for warmer weather. Depending on my fingerweaving progress, I may go ahead and crochet a sash in a similar striped pattern, now that I know it's OK. I have plenty of yarn and it won't take long. Once the woven sash is complete, I can gift the crocheted one, or leave it with the group in Lake City as a "loaner" for other visitors.

The ingenuity of our ancestors always amazes me. The beautiful, multi-purpose items they made for daily use, we lovingly recreate and are treasured pieces of our regalia. For so many of us, they are just a part of our pow-wow outfit. However, if things were to change, we would be fortunate to not only have these useful items, but also know how to make more.


Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
NativeAmericanForum
Avatar: Feather Dance Bustle - Men's Regalia
#659093 - 01/28/11 06:57 PM Re: Creek and Cherokee Sashes [Re: Jane - Native American]  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 17,644
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity
Phyllis Doyle Burns  Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 17,644
Reno, NV
It is so wonderful that the ingenuity and creativity of the ancestors is still carried on today.

I remember when I was a young teenager, my brother-in-law showed me how to finger crochet. He only knew how to do it with one strand of yarn. I would sit for hours doing it and never figured out how to add to the single strand. I always pulled out the stitches of my one long strand to start over the next time. It kept me busy in idle times.

Making a sash and leaving it for a "loaner" is a great idea. The history (provenance) that loaner would pick up would be so interesting.

Sounds like you had such a great time at the Stomp. Relating all the issues of fingerweaving with the other ladies was so fun to read. I imagine they all had similar experiences like yours so were able to laugh with you on the trials and tribulations. How fun it is to share these kinds of stories with others who experienced the same issues. I love reading your posts on things like this.


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain

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