How to Do Cherokee Indian Finger Weaving

by Patti Richards Google
Use brightly-colored wool yarn for Cherokee finger weaving.

Use brightly-colored wool yarn for Cherokee finger weaving.

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Cherokee finger weaving is a craft done by Cherokee women. Before yarn was available, the Cherokee used the fibers of Indian hemp and mulberry roots. Cherokee finger weaving comes in both single and double-weave style. The single weave weaves the yarn over and under to produce a plaid or checked design. The double weave method is typically done on a loom. Cherokee finger weaving is used to make belts, sashes, and bookmarks and can be sewn together to make larger items like blankets. These instructions are for a sash.

Items you will need

  • 6 strands each of two different colors of wool yarn
  • 2 dowels, 6 inches long

Getting Started

Step 1

Cut 6 strands each of two different colors of yarn. Cut each strand at least 2 feet long.

Step 2

Lay out the strands in the order you will place them on the dowel. For a chevron pattern lay out 3 strands of color A, all six strands of color B and the remaining three strands of color A.

Step 3

Take the two dowels and line them up side by side and tie them together at one end with some extra yarn.

Step 4

Slide each strand of yarn half-way through the two dowel rods. Once each piece is in place and close enough to touch each other, tie the other end of the dowel rods together with some extra yarn.

Step 5

Gather up all the strands on one side of the dowel rod and tie them together in a bunch.

Step 6

Tie another piece of spare yarn around the bunch and then tie the other end of the yarn to a chair or pin the bunch to a pillow in your lap. This helps you to pull the yarn tightly to get a good weave.

Weaving

Step 1

Divide the strands into two sections. You should have three of each color on either side. You will weave the chevron pattern by weaving from the middle of the project to the outside edge.

Step 2

Pick up every other strand with your right hand, starting from the right-hand side.

Step 3

Pick up the first strand on the left side with your left hand. Pull this strand through, under the strands you are holding in your right hand and on top of the remaining right-hand strands. Drape the end of this strand over the dowel so as not to lose it.

Step 4

Pick up every other strand of yarn and hold it in your left hand, starting with the left-hand side.

Step 5

Pick up the first left-hand strand with your right hand and pull it through and under the strands you are holding in your left hand. Drape the end of that strand over the end of the dowel rod so as not to lose it. Check your work after these first two rows and notice the pattern. Continue weaving from either side until all the yarn is used.

Finishing the Sash

Step 1

Braid together three or four strands of the remaining yarn into groups when you've finished your sash and it is as long as you want it.

Step 2

Knot the braids at the end to hold in place.

Step 3

Trim any uneven edges at the ends of the braids for a nice, clean look.

Tips & Warnings

  • After each row, pull on each warp strand to adjust the tension of the weave. The warp strands are the vertical and the weft strands are the horizontal strands.
  • Begin Cherokee finger weaving with a small project like a sash or bookmark. This will help you master the technique before moving on to larger projects.

About the Author

Patti Richards has been a writer since 1990. She writes children’s books and articles on parenting, women's health and education. Her credits include San Diego Family Magazine, Metro Parent Magazine, Boys' Quest Magazine and many others. Richards has a Bachelor of Science in English/secondary education from Welch College.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images