Quiet Friday: Philippine Textiles

You may remember that I recently returned from a visit to The Philippines. It may not surprise you that I am always on the lookout for interesting textiles, and especially handwoven fabrics. I don’t mean to do that; it just happens… Well, when I met sweet Beth at the Sunday market, I felt like I hit the jackpot! Beth and I had a common language – Handweaving! (She speaks fine English, too, of course; but you know what I mean.)

I tried to gather a few pictures of textiles that you would enjoy seeing.

If you don’t have time to look at all the textile pictures today, at least scroll down and see my little granddaughter carrying her big umbrella on the way to the market. Umbrellas are always in season in Metropolitan Manila. For the rain in the rainy season (our visit), and for shielding your skin from the sun all the rest of the time. (You can always come back later and finish looking at the rest of the pictures. Smile.)

Tie-dye scarf found in Makati, Philippines.
I am wearing a cotton tie-dye scarf I found in a Makati store. We learned interesting World War II history on our day trip to Corregidor Island.
Painted metal gate in Makati, Philippines - would be great tapestry design!
Interesting painted metal gate in Makati. I instantly saw it as a potential tapestry design.
Filipino and American handweavers meet at market in Makati.
Found a fellow handweaver at the Sunday market. Beth has ten looms in her workshop in Vigan, where she and other weavers produce beautiful cloth, mostly from cotton thread. 40/1 cotton is Beth’s most used fiber.


Textile unique to The Philippines. By handweaver Beth.
Beth identified this weave pattern as the most unique to The Philippines. I am sorry I failed to write down the Tagalog name for this and the weaves in the following pictures when Beth told me what they were.
Filipino Overshot, at Makati market.
Beth is a third-generation weaver. She has woven this pattern for many years, but just learned four years ago that it is called “Overshot” in English.
HandWoven Wonders by Beth's Loomweaving, at Makati market
HandWoven Wonders by Beth’s Loomweaving. Stunning turquoise cotton table runner is two yards long.
Tiny ikat woven coin purses from The Philippines.
Ayala Museum has fascinating displays depicting various aspects of Philippine culture and history, including a display of 1800’s handwoven and embroidered clothing (picture-taking not allowed). I found these ikat woven coin purses in the museum gift shop. The woven plaid zipper pouch is from another market vendor.
Mannequin with handwoven skirt at Manila Airport shop.
Mannequin in airport shop is dressed in a pleated handwoven skirt. The sash above the skirt is adorned with a shaped “rose,” formed from a handwoven wide band. (Click photo to enlarge)
"Ribbon rose" made from wide handwoven band to embellish sash on skirt. Manila Airport shop.
Wide handwoven band is gathered and stitched to form a “ribbon rose” that embellishes the sash.
Colorful handwovens at Manila airport shop.
Neatly folded piles of colorful handwoven items at a shop in the Manila airport. You didn’t expect me to come home empty-handed, did you?
Vibrant colorful table runner from Manila.
Vibrant multi-colored cloth with intricate design. Perfect for a Christmas table runner.
Reverse side of colorful cloth from Manila.
Notice the long thread floats and knots on the reverse side of the red cloth.
Cheerful colorful striped cloth from Manila.
Cheerful colorful stripes!
Colorful striped cloth from Manila.
Detail of the warp-faced weave of the colorful striped cloth.

May you step into a joyful journey.

Happy Weaving,


Tension! Who Needs It?

A warp that has not been properly wound on at the start will be full of problems every inch of the way, compromising the quality of the finished cloth. One thing that helps ensure an evenly wound warp is tension. I lay warp chains on the floor in front of the loom, weighted down with bricks and walking weights. The weights provide resistance for winding the warp over the back beam onto the warp beam, giving tight and even tension. People need tension, too.

Glmakra Ideal with striped cottolin warp for classic Swedish towels.
Looking toward the warp beam at the back of the loom, from under the tightly wound Cottolin warp.

Given a choice, I would like no tension, thank you. Just give me some slack. Do you know that the tension you and I would rather avoid could be the very thing that makes us shine?

Tension is uncomfortable, stretches our limits, and can bring out the worst in us. It tests us. But testing has positive results. Our maker knows that. His testing of our hearts reveals our true identity by confirming our deeply held convictions. Any loose or broken threads hidden in the warp become apparent, so they can be repaired or replaced. And we are made ready for the rest of the weaving.

May you find gold and silver threads shining in your warp as you become refined through testing.

Your friend,

Have you ever been refined through tension?

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I’m Weaving on a Jet Plane

Steve and I just returned from visiting our son, daughter-in-law, and our adorable three-year-old granddaughter in The Philippines. So, I was away from my floor looms for a couple weeks! But thanks to my husband, I have a miniature tapestry loom that works perfectly for travel. About the size of an iPad, it is small enough that I can weave on the go, even on an airplane.

Hand-built miniature tapestry loom, size of an iPad, for travel.
Hand-built small frame tapestry loom, designed with offset brass nails to hold the warp, with tensioning device at the top.

Why not take along knitting, crochet, or tatting, you ask? I agree, that would be sensible; but I am a weaver, and I would rather weave.

Weaving small tapestry while on airplane.
With cartoon in place under the warp, and thread selection collected in a small pouch, and thread cutter to hang around my neck, I have everything I need to weave on the airplane. Oh, and a small book light for weaving in the middle of the night. Haha!

Your creator has a meaningful role for you that is perfectly suited for your skills. Wouldn’t it be silly for me to try to use this frame loom to swing at a tennis ball, or strum it like a guitar? Steve made this loom specifically for me to weave small tapestries. This simple frame works beautifully for that purpose, giving credit to its maker. When we find that satisfying role that allows us to practice using our gifts to their best advantage, it reflects well on our maker.

Young family

May you find a way to do what you do best.

From my home to yours,

Being Woven for Life

This little tapestry is a simple representation of a silver-haired lady wearing a pink blouse and turquoise-rimmed glasses. Hmm…, could be me! The imperfections in the weaving might also represent my own shortcomings. The good news is that there is more to life than my physical existence. (Click here to see the beginning of this little tapestry weaving.)

Little Lady miniature tapestry.
One-inch-wide self-portrait tapestry. Cotton seine twine for warp, embroidery floss for weft.

By taking care of our physical bodies, we promote health and well-being; and we gain necessary strength to face what comes. In the same way, I want to take care of my inner person. Taking in nourishment for my soul, exercising my faith, and finding the creator’s rest. That’s life.

May you get the most out of life.

Being woven,

Choose Your Lining

In choosing a fabric to line these linen bags I am making, I find that the color of the lining makes a difference in the outcome. Different lining colors change how the linen looks. I decided on a blue satin lining that is similar in shade to the blue of the linen warp. Other colors seem to compete with the iridescence of the handwoven cloth. Once again, what is on the inside matters, and influences what is seen on the outside. The same can be said for people, right?

Creating bags with handwoven linen, with beads woven in.
Linen fabric with beads woven in, ready to be made into satin-lined bags. Small striped sample from the end of the warp will be made into a small clutch purse.

Faith in the master weaver is the lining that shows through the fabric of one’s life. A stance of faith creates an inner calm that carries you through every storm and every celebration. It is the color that shines through.

May you calmly face your next challenge.

Peace to you,