Monday, June 30, 2008


I bought a huipil made in Nahuala, and it has lots and lots of cats woven into it. I've seen similar ones with birds and lions. The animal designs really are my favorites!

So far I've made some notecards out of the cat fabric. You can see them here!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Unique Randa

The randa of a huipil, corte, or tzute is the embroidery that joins two pieces of fabric together. Usually it's done in flowers, lines, triangles, or even in the shape of jugs. But this week I found one that was done in the shape of spiders! Pretty cool.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Piece of Your Child's History

I've had several adoptive moms recently write asking for a huipil from the Guatemalan village in which their child was born. I'm more than happy to do this; just leave a comment with contact info, and I will do my best to locate a nice example at an affordable price (almost always under $50).

I can also search for cortes (skirts), children's huipiles, pantalones (if yours is a village in which the men and boys wear traditional pants), or fajas (belts).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Newest Creations

I haven't done a post about my own creations for awhile, so here are some of the things I've recently made. All can be found in my Etsy shop!
Mayan Horse and Birds (L) and a Huipil Mosaic (R)

Lady in the Flowers SOLD (L) and Summer in the City (R)

Two new sets of notecards

In the Desert Looking Up (L) and In the Desert Looking Down (R), mixed media watercolor mosaics

A Huipil Mosaic (L)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More from Santiago Atitlan

Santiago Atitlan has very beautiful textiles, as you saw in a previous post. The first photo here is a huipil decorated in Mayan glyphs (I recognize parts of the calendar) instead of the typical birds and flowers. The second is a huipil in process, with the shapes to be embroidered here drawn out in pencil. The third is a pair of men's ornate pantalones, which are a length somewhere between what we would call shorts and capris.

Friday, June 20, 2008

San Juan Atitan Morral

This bags is called a morral and is carried like a messenger bag across the body. Morrales are made by men out of wool. I bought this (used) one because I liked that it had a name woven into it. This is either the name of the man who made it or the man for whom it was made (or both!). The front says "Diego Jacinto M." and the back says "DGM".

The strap is hand-woven as well, with an interesting adjustment mechanism. Attached to the bag is a loop, and the strap is tied to the loop at the desired length. The strap ends in two braids.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Notecard Giveaway Winner!

Fuzzandfuzzlet is the winner of the notecard giveaway! Congrats!

If you liked the cards in this giveaway, here is a link to all the notecard sets in my Etsy shop. Any of you who entered the contest can have 10% off any notecard purchase in June. Simply let me know which you want (leave a comment here, or send me an Etsy convo), and I will lower the price for you.

Thanks for entering!

More Girls' Aprons For Sale

I found a couple more very cute aprons - in great condition - for your little ones. They are $12.50 each plus $2 shipping. If interested, just leave a comment with a way to reach you.
#1: Approximately 12 3/4" long

#2: Approximately 12" long SOLD

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Updated Colors

Here is the updated list of colors for the background fleece of the name pieces. I've got plenty of red and blue, for those who requested it previously!

Update: I have dark green too!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Items Shipped!

If you placed an order in recent weeks, your items shipped from Maryland today. Thanks again for your business!

Orders placed between now and 6/25 will ship the week of 6/30.


Huipiles from Coban are usually white with colorful embroidery around the collar. Sometimes the base is a commercially-made blouse (out of eyelet, for example), but sometimes it is one of these spectacular white-on-white woven pieces. If you enlarge the photo below, you'll see that it's a lovely, gauzy huipil with similar motifs as huipiles made in other areas, but in all white.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Notecard Giveaway!

I'm giving away a set of three 5" X 7" cards with envelopes. The decorations were cut from used huipiles, and each says "alegria" and "happiness". I used thin red marker for decoration and applied fray-check to the fabric to reduce the possibility of fraying. Blank inside, so they're good for any occasion.

I use cards/envelopes that are acid-free, archival safe, and 100% recycled!

To win this set of 3 notecards, all you have to do is leave a comment here! I will pick a number at random at 6:00pm on Wednesday, June 18, and the person who leaves that comment # wins! Make sure you leave contact info such as an email address or blog link.

Friday, June 13, 2008

San Mateo Ixtatan

The huipiles from San Mateo Ixtatan, in the department of Huehuetenango, are known for bright colors and large star patterns. Beautiful!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Yart" Sale

I'm participating in the 1st annual Etsy "yart sale" (art + yard sale = yart sale). To see some great handmade items on sale, just go to and put "yart sale" into the search box along with any other search terms you want to use. Sale is on from June 11-20.

I've created a separate section in my Etsy shop for my yart sale items. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan

The huipiles from San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan are some of my recent favorites. The huipiles there are very similar to those in Colotenango, but they include a wide, hand-embroidered square collar that is not present in Colotenango's. The design features small, tight diamond and box designs. The randa - embroidery that joins two pieces of fabric - also has a unique design to it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Yolanda, Embroidery Artist

I wrote my second article for Rayela's Fiber Focus blog. This one is based on an interview I did with my friend, Yolanda, a young woman from Patzun. Article reproduced below!


Huipiles are the traditional, hand-woven blouses worn by women in Guatemala, and the designs vary by village. Those made in Patzun feature red or burgundy fabric with thin stripes. They are different from many other Guatemalan huipiles because the adornments are embroidered onto the fabric instead of being woven into it. Yolanda Rodriguez Yos, a 22-year-old woman from Patzun, estimates that 90% of women in her hometown wear traje (traditional Mayan dress). The remaining women work in the capital and wear ropa americana much of the time.

Yolanda's mother taught her second eldest daughter to embroider when she was 12 years old. This is a common age for girls to learn, although daughters of wealthier families may not learn until they are 15 or 20 years old. These wealthier girls do not need to embroider to help the family earn money.

The women of Yolanda's family, however, embroidered huipiles to sell at the Sunday market in Patzun. Yolanda believes that about 85% of women in Patzun know how to embroider. For families like hers, it is too expensive to purchase completed huipiles, so they purchase fabric from local weavers and create and embroider the huipiles themselves. The Rodriguez Yos family purchases its fabric from an aunt, who weaves but does not embroider.

As a young teenager, Yolanda would go to school until noon, come home and eat lunch, then work on embroidery from 1:00-6:00pm. After a break for dinner, she would embroider again from 7:00pm-midnight. Her mother would have one huipil made by Yolanda; one by her older sister, Erika; and one by herself to take to the market each Sunday. Each would sell for about 175Q, 110Q of which was materials (70Q for woven fabric and 45 for thread). That left a whopping 65Q (less than US$9) for 70 hours of work! And most of that money had to be re-invested in fabric and thread for the next huipil.

Yolanda's sister, Erica, began embroidering at age eight and never liked it. Yolanda laughs that Erica's huipiles would feature about four flowers, whereas the average one has about 20. Yolanda and her mother frequently had to finish Erika's huipiles to get them ready to sell. Yolanda enjoyed using her imagination to design flowers and choose colors, which remain her favorite aspects of embroidery. (Sewing the randa, or piece that joins the two pieces of woven fabric, is the part she likes the least.)

For Christmas, each girl would receive fabric and thread in order to make a huipil for herself.

Yolanda is particularly efficient in her embroidery, in that it takes her one week to do what it takes many women two to four weeks to do. Instead of layering two colors on top of each other, making the embroidery very thick, she interconnects the different colors, making only one layer of thread. This saves not only time, but also money spent on thread. And she prefers the finished look to that of the thicker embroidery.

The basic steps for creating a huipil from Patzun, if one is starting with cloth already made:
  1. Sew two panels of fabric together. This embroidery can be done in patterns of triangles, jugs, straight lines, or knots in the form of flowers.
  2. Choose the shape of the collar opening shape: round, square, diamond, or star.
  3. Divide the fabric into visual quadrants. With pen, draw flowers, leaves, and buds. (Some women, like Yolanda, prefer to draw and then embroider one quadrant at a time.) Be very careful when drawing the circle around the collar to make sure you're not going lopsided. The design should be the same in all four quadrants, but the colors can be different on the front and back. This is the step in which the embroiderer can use the most creativity and imagination, selecting a combinations of colors and designing the flowers. Keep in mind the question of purpose: Is the huipil for a wedding or fiesta or for everyday use? This will help determine the formality of the design.
  4. Design sleeve adornments, if they will be used. Some people prefer large flowers here, some small, some none at all. Yolanda's mother is of the belief that there should be very little adornment on the sleeves, if any. Large flowers are too extravagant, the equivalent of wearing too much jewelry or makeup.
  5. Complete embroidery.
  6. Sew sides of huipil.
Yolanda has made about 200 huipiles in her life (10 are ones she wears even today) but hasn't done much embroidery in the last three years. Between her studies at a local university, her English classes, and her job as a housekeeper, she hasn't had any extra time for sewing. However, she would like to do more in the future, and plans to teach her future daughters because it's a valuable skill for Guatemalan women to have.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


I've given one of the huipil woman pictures to Adoption Under One Roof to use as a giveaway to their readers. If you would like to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on their post with an answer to the following question:

"How has fostering and/or adopting children changed your life?"

Giveaway on Adoption Under One Roof

Good luck!

Friday, June 6, 2008

San Andres Xecul

San Andres Xecul is a village in the department of Totonoicapan that features beautiful animals embroidered on the collars of its huipiles. You can find everything from birds to farm animals to woodland creatures to jungle animals.

Here are two in-progress and one complete.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Product! Notecards

I've begun making sets of 5X7 blank notecards/envelopes made from (you guessed it!) pieces of huipiles. Check them out! $15.75 for a set of four (plus $1.75 shipping). If you want to make a special order, just leave a comment. The card sets below are available for sale in my etsy shop!

A Few New Things

Other things I've made in the last several days:
"Yolanda" doll (L) and Huipil Square with Embroidery (R)

For sale in my etsy shop!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Museo Ixchel: Part II

Here are more photos from Museo Ixchel in Guatemala City, this time featuring some finished products.

Here you can see the outcome of different types of weaving techniques, which produce (L-R) single-sided pieces with clean backs, single-sided pieces with threads on the backs, and double-sided pieces.

Various cortes (L) and wedding veil featuring ceremonial weaving from Patzun (R)

Market scene featuring women from Tamahu (L) and San Antonio Aguas Calientes (R):

Monday, June 2, 2008

Museo Ixchel: Part I

My friend and I went to the Museo Ixchel in Guatemala City on Saturday morning. This museum is dedicated to Guatemalan textiles - history, technique, materials, etc. I really enjoyed it! Here are some of the photos I took of the "tools of the weaving trade".

Museo Ixchel, on the campus of Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala City. It was a really lovely campus.

Men weave large pieces of cloth -- such as those made for bedspreads and cortes (skirts) -- on the foot loom. Here you can see details of the threads, including the ones dyed in the ikat/jaspe method (tie-dying!). The weavers know how to use these threads to come out with designs in the finished cloth.

A small loom used for making cintas (ribbons) for the hair

Designs are sketched on cloth with pencil before being sewn.

Embroidering details by hand (here, a huipil is stretched over a collander)

Embroidering details using a sewing machine

For Part II, I'll show some of the output of these processes!