Back from Guatemala...

This isn't entirely germane to knitting, (though I found plenty of cotton yarn in the markets, not much knitting; it was for ancient BACKLOOM weaving!) but I couldn't think of any other group of fine people who would so enjoy such rich fibre arts. Any-some-how, I just unpacked the ol' duffel bag from my trip (I missed y'all) and was struck again by this incredible Guatemalan 'huipil' from Patzun. I've washed and blocked it; I have no idea what to do with it; but as a piece of art alone it's worthy of respect--HANDspun, HANDdyed; HANDwoven on a very basic back loom then embroidered by a master hand! The woman who did this obviously loved life and her garden!

I wonder how a sweater done this way would look??? With bands of maroon intarsia with single threads carried between? Interestingly, the two woven halves of the huipil are also mirror images of each other. Every region has it's own style of weaving and sometimes embroidery; and every village has a different take on the regional style, plus every weaver and embroiderer makes individual decisions according to skill and what the huipil will be used for (every day, Sunday, Fiesta, etc).

Image icon Patzun huipil.JPG643.25 KB
Image icon market Colchetenago.JPG391.07 KB


that garment is beautiful! Guatemala has some extraordinary textiles. Very vibrant colors.

steve kadel's picture


all i know of love, is love is all there is

we put birds on things

Bill's picture

Very beautiful! I'd be tempted to frame it between two pieces of glass (not recommended by conservators) and put it on the wall to enjoy it. But I hope you'll pursue the idea of using it for knitting inspiration. The pattern and plain bands are definitely workable.

QueerJoe's picture

That is a stunningly beautiful piece of handiwork...I couldn't imagine putting so much effort into a piece that might not be as glorious as this one turned out.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

The inspiration of that gorgeous huipil should lead to some great experiments in knitting. Please keep us updated as to how it goes. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

TheKnittingMill's picture

Absolutely AMAZING! I'm with Bill, I'd definitely get it framed out and display it as the piece of beautiful art it is.


bobshome's picture

WOW- just earlier today I had a framer block and mount the skirt of a tutu. A simple process and looks beautiful. This huipil would be a treasure to look at every day. It's really beautiful thanks for showing us.

Tom Hart's picture

What an incredibly beautiful piece of work! What an inspiration. It's so amazing what people can get up to. That's a real prize.

Mnjack's picture

I just got back from Guatemala a few weeks ago. I love the textiles there and took lessons in weaving on the backstrap loom. However, security , at the airport, took my knitting away from me. That is the first time I have had a problem and I truly did not expect it there. I hope you had as good a time as I did, I love the Mayan areas. I spent most of my time around Lake Atitlan, since I had done a tour of the country last year.

Kilthoser's picture

I had read on here recently that security was snatching knitting needles, so I packed 'em in the checked luggage..and sure enough! they went through every single piece of carryon luggage of every single passenger before we got on the plane! We were all over the country: from Guatemala City, to Punto Barrios/Livingston, Huehuetenango and the remote villages up there, to Panajachel and Antigua. It was a LOOOT of driving, but incredible!

Body by God; shetland socks courtesy of Fred

"Body by God; shetland socks courtesy of Fred"