Navajo stories have many common themes on how we use our native plants. My dad and I often hiked the mesas around our home to identify and discuss the names and uses of the local plants.
In my language there is no one word for dyeing. In the Navajo language I explain dyeing as a coloring process. I use specific adjectives to describe the colors a particular plant could yield. For example, ii’soti means I am making it yellow. Iishichii’ says I am making it reddish.
I purchase fleece from various wool growers on the reservation. The process of sorting and washing the fleece is a monumental task. I often spend several days skirting and washing fleece that I will use.
Carding wool prepared by two wooden boards with fine metal teeth. The carding sorts out the wool and aligns the fiber in a parallel alignment.
Spinning on a lap spindle is still done by hand. My sister, Berdina, is an excellent spinner and she spins a lot of my yarn. The proper spinning process is very important to achieve evenness, uniformity and strength in the yarn.