Weaving Little Squares
Many of the products created by Mayamam Weavers are the result of a collaboration between our U.S. based designer and the members of the cooperative in Cajolá, Guatemala. Whether it be a new product conceived by the designer with alterations or additions proposed by the seamstresses or a color combination dreamed up by the weavers inspiring a newly designed product, much of what we sell is quite literally the product of many creative minds put together. Our Cuadritos line of textiles is the perfect example of that.
A few years ago, our designer asked the backstrap weavers to weave something 16" x 16" in whatever design they wanted using whatever kinds of yarns that they wanted to—pretty open ended! One of the weavers wove her fabric in what we now call the Cuadritos weave, which is the Spanish word for “little squares.” She chose a broad color palette filled with pops of brilliance from colors like peacock blue, apricot and magenta yarns toned down by cinnamon, eggplant, maroon and a little rust. After a couple of minor modifications, we had our beautiful Jeweltone colorway.
Next, we asked the foot loom weavers if they could take this square and interpret it on the foot loom, and thus our Cuadritos weave was born. It is a marvelous fabric, sturdy with a dynamic surface. (A big bonus to this fabric is that you can throw it in the washer and the dryer and it comes out not needing any ironing).
Although the weave itself is not that complicated, the warping and setup are very time consuming. This is true for the foot loom as well as the backstrap loom. It is in the actual weaving where it is clear that the foot loom weaver can weave more yards in a day than the backstrap weaver. In practice, she can weave about twice as much! Because of this, the cost of the Cuadritos table linens becomes much more affordable than if it were woven on a backstrap loom.
The original colorway, Jeweltones is still the color we sell the most of, but the other colorways follow close behind. When we wanted to introduce a new Cuadritos, we asked the foot loom weavers to interpret the weave using a variety of blues. After a tiny amount of tweaking by our U.S. based designer, our Blue Moon Cuadritos went into production.
Although we are fond of collaborating with the weavers and appreciate the vivid colorways of the Guatemalan tradition, we have some customers that also admire neutral tones. Since champagnes and grays would not come easily from the weavers’ palettes, our designer selected and assembled a combination of champagne, pearl gray, and mustard yarns. Our Champagne Cuadritos really sets a beautiful formal table and holds it’s own no matter what the holiday – from New Year’s to Thanksgiving.
Any guess as to what the next Cuadritos will be? We are excited to share that the next colorway in the works is black and white! Only recently has black and white as a colorway has found a niche in Guatemala amidst all the colors. Fashion makes its mark all over the world!
If you're looking for something a little smaller, some of our jewelry rolls are also made using the Cuadritos fabrics.