When you walk into a family home in Teotitlan, you will feel like you have walked back in time, perhaps 200 years or more. The weaving families live in simple adobe and brick houses and continue to employ the same weaving methods and attention to detail as they did during colonial times. There are usually at least four large treadle looms, the same type brought by the Spaniards so long ago. Each loom will have a different work on it, with various family members devoting hours each day to the long process.
The treadle loom separates the different warp threads by the use of foot pedals, which makes it faster to send the shuttle through them carrying the weft fibers. Many of the families also card their own raw wool, after a thorough washing, by using two carding paddles with metal teeth. This separates, stretches, and softens the fibers. The wool is then spun into yarn using the spinning wheel or hand spindle. Either way the thread must be smooth (without lumps) and durable.
In addition to seeing a room full of looms when you walk into a Teotitlan home, you will also see hanging skeins of yarn in shades of every imaginable color. Many of the families in Teotitlan are completely devoted to using only natural dyes which are concocted from a large variety of plant, animal and mineral sources. These dyes produce colors and shades that are more subtle than the chemical or aniline dyes. Natural dyes are prepared very carefully and laboriously, not only in respect to variety and subtlety of the colors, but also how well the mordant or fixer, usually lime juice, is mixed in.
Some families in Teotitlan prefer the more vivid colors produced by chemical, or aniline, dyes. Many artisans will use a combination of dyes, depending on the desired effect. Either way the result is something that will please the buyer for years and years to come.