For a long time, I had wanted to learn to weave. However, I didn't have anyone who I knew that could teach me. My mom gave me some work by Mattie Drum, a fingerweaver from our community who had passed away years before. I studied the belts trying to figure out how she had made them but didn't have any luck. Then I came across a book, Finger Weaving: Indian Braiding by Alta Turner. I was able to follow the instructions although I noted several modifications for my own style as I went because every weaver has idiosyncrasies. The ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏓᏠᏍᏗ / igvyi adadlosdi / first belt I made was in turquoise, black, and white acrylic yarn in a chevron pattern that looks like a series of the letter V. I'm proud of this first weaving and still have it to this day. I've been told to always keep the first item you make so you can see how far you've come when you look back.
I remember setting a chair up in front of me and struggling to figure out how best to hold the yarn. In the beginning, remembering which strands went where was so challenging. It took me about a month to complete the belt and I felt like I had woven a mile of fabric. In reality it was only 2 inches wide and about 40 inches long. I made several four strand braids with the remaining yarn and attached tassels to their ends.
I am a much better weaver than when I made this belt in 2000. I have refined my technique and can produce a belt like this much more quickly. I am still proud of this belt because it has excellent tension and the few mistakes can only be found by experienced weavers. I'm glad this is where my journey began and that I am still able to weave.