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Gran Canaria

Native Culture

Spinning

Looms

The kind of loom used on the island is the “horizontal” cube-shaped loom. The frame is made up of beams, usually heart wood, that fit together horizontally and vertically.

The weaving technique consists of inter-weaving two sets of threads, with the first set (warp) laid out in such a manner so that the second set (weft) passes through them, forming the cloth.

Nowadays, the raw materials used are strips of cloth for rugs and wool for blankets and carpets. In the past, cotton, sisal, linen and silk were used.

Woollen cloth is made as follows: once the sheep has been shorn, the white wool is separated from the black, it is washed and left to dry in the sun, then it is combed (to prevent it from becoming tangled), leaving it ready to be spun. For this, a wooden bobbin is used and a distaff (a simple cane that is split in two at one end) where the wool is placed. From there, it goes to the bobbin almost spun. It is then skeined with a reel, it is washed in cold water (this time with soap), wound into a ball and used to prepare the warp and to thread the loom.

Traditionally, the best weavers were from Ingenio, Telde, Santa Lucia, San Nicolas, Valsequillo, San Mataeo, Teror, Moya and Galdar

Open work

Open work consists of unpicking a piece of cloth and making figures with the open spaces and the threads that are unpicked. You have to place the piece of cloth on a table or in a frame to stretch it out tight.

This is done in the following manner: the cloth is cut and unpicked with a needle, casting off or festooning the cloth to prevent it from unravelling. Having finished this phase, known as laying out (the most difficult part), the embroidery or weaving phase starts, which is sometimes done by a team.

This open work can form all kinds of whimsical patterns, very often the exclusive design of the weaver, who creates them with enviable mastery, beauty and skill.

Apart from open work, there is also lace work and embroidery, which is the art of decorating cloth by sewing a pattern or design onto it.

Traditionally, weaving and sewing was done in Ingenio, Agüimes, Telde, Valleseco and La Aldea de San Nicolás.