The Traditional Single Thread Technique
Single Thread Wayuu Bags are at the pinnacle of the Wayuu Weaving Tradition. Going back some 400 years ago, during the times of Spanish colonization, the Wayuu did not know how to weave in crochet. They mostly used other hand-knotting techniques and looms. The Spanish nuns, that came to America to do missionary work, and taught the tribeswomen how to weave in crochet.
The Wayuu have a long cultural weaving tradition that dates from their ancient ancestors, the Arawaks — crocheting just helped further the evolution of Wayuu craftsmanship.
The artisans of the Wayuu tribe adapted the traditional crochet technique to make one of the essential items they need, mochila bags. They travel long distances through the desert in La Guajira. So each of the tribesmen and women owns one, and the colors and patterns reveal a personal story.
The way the artisan makes the bag reveals all about their temper and personality. A low-quality bag reveals the weakness of temperament.
The Crochet Technique
This technique consists of knitting yarn or wool with a short needle that can made of metal, plastic or wood. Crochet is the art of interlacing repeatedly using a needle and a type of fiber to create patterns making up a fabric. With the crochet technique, you can weave all kinds of garments and accessories. The Wayuu use this technique and others to make a large variety of products from apparel to home decor pieces.
Specifically, the Wayuu use their crochet needle to wrap the knot around a set of threads. Such threads make up all the colors in the Wayuu bag. The Wayuu crochet technique gives these purses extra sturdiness. On single thread bags, they do the process with one thread. On the other hand, the double thread technique requires for the artisan to loop another thread around their toes to weave a thicker stitch. While the latter method needs more material, it takes half the time to craft.
The process goes like this:
- The artisan dreams and gets inspired.
- Pick the colors and pattern.
- Make all the thread into balls to handle with ease.
- Start with a traditional slip Knot.
- Pick the color to start and wrap it around the other threads making a circle for the base.
- Finish by building up the Wayuu Pattern of your choice.
- *Each stitch is like a tiny rectangle.
- To make The Traditional Strap for the Wayuu bag, the artisans use a loom.
The Differences Between Single Thread Wayuu Bags and Double Thread Wayuu Bags
Single Thread Wayuu Bags
- Half the weight.
- Intricate, detailed patterns.
- It is considered to be premium by the Wayuu community.
- Much more time to craft.
- Premium finishes.
- Half as thick.
Double Thread Wayuu Bags
- Half the weight.
- Larger stitch, less detailed patterns.
- It is considered to be popular by the Wayuu community.
- Less time to make.
- Popular finishes.
To read more about Wayuu Bag Sizes, click here.
Quality Guide for Wayuu Bags
Note that any Wayuu bag, either single thread or double thread can be of low quality.
- Is it sturdy? Wayuu Bags can hold an empty dinner plate without melting.
- Is the pattern straight? Look at the lines of the design and note if they are regular.
- Is the pattern complete? Experts weave the full pattern all around the bag
- Does it have enough holes? The optimal amount of wholes is a pair number.
- Can you see the threads through the weaving? You shouldn’t be able to see that so easily.