“Only wearing hemp cloth that avoid losing ancestors.”
“Those who cannot make hemp white do not have a good heart.”
– Ancient Hmong proverb –
Hemp plant and hemp weaving has been an indispensable part of Hmong culture. Symbolically hemp represents various aspects of life for the Hmong. Because it is well known for its strength, it symbolizes the strength of a young couple when their lives are intertwined. On her wedding day the bride receives gifts of hemp clothes, hemp skirts, and hemp aprons as a type of dowry. These gifts given by her mother and sisters are interpreted as a message of continuous family support for their daughter and goodwill towards the family of her husband. For the Hmong, a woman with many beautiful hemp clothes means that she is well off and has the support of many sibling in her life. Hemp also has a spiritual association. Each person sets aside a special set of clothing for their burial. The reason for this is that they believe the hemp fiber can guide their souls in the afterlife search to find their ancestors.
Normally it takes 6 months from cultivation until weaving and requires a great deal of patience.
Step 1: Cultivate the hemp plant (in March)
Step 2: Harvest the hemp plant (in June after 70-75 days of cultivation).
Step 3: Strip the outer bark
Step 4: Pound the hemp fiber
Step 5: Twist the hemp fiber
Step 6: Spin the hemp yarn
Step 7: Wind the hemp yarn
Step 8: Boil the hemp yarn to make it white
Step 9: Wash and dry the hemp yarn
Step 10: Burnish hemp yarn
Step 11: Spin the hemp yarn before weaving
Step 12: Weave the hemp yarn