We often find a bit of food in every ball of yarn we receive back from our spinners. Tradition says, this is the food you will eat in your afterlife, you need to do this so you don't go hungry.
Spindles always belong in pairs, you count them in pairs, you borrow them in pairs, they belong together in even numbers. The saying goes, that if you separate one out by itself, you will be very lonely after you die. No one will be there to accompany you after death.
After two strings are spun together and you pull the yarn off from the drop spindle, there is a little hole in the yarn that was made from the spindle. It is said that you need to speak a mantra into the hole so that when you die you can hear that saying repeated back to you.
Often our kids are playing around the strings when we are working. Many times they have been scolded and warned to not play around the strings. Tradition says that no adults or kids should jump over the strings that are being warped or woven. If you do, whenever you weave, you will never have enough string to finish your weaving. You will end up borrowing string from your enemy to finish.
To warp a loom, the first step is to find a flat area where you can drive three wooden stakes into the ground. These stakes are then used to prepare the string (or the warp) that you will put onto the loom. Once you are finished warping, and you pull the stakes out, much care is taken by our local friends to fill in each hole that was made from the three stakes. Otherwise, it is said that when you die your spirit will run into one of those holes and won't ever be able to get out.
Often a weaving job is finished late in the day. However, tradition says that you can’t cut your cloth off from the loom once the sun has already started to go down, you need to wait till the next morning. If you do cut it off, the saying goes, that for each string you cut you receive the bad merit like that of killing one life. So for many of our weaving projects this would mean having the sin debt of taking 300-500 lives!
When you take two separate strings and wrap them together, which is the first step to make two-ply yarn, if it ends up that the strings are the same length, which would be a very rare occurrence, the locals say that when your mother dies you will never see her again.
In Tibetan culture, if the weaver dies, the heddles (the part of the loom that you put your strings through so they can move up and down) from their loom need to be cut up or burned because they say that the spirit of the weaver will get lost in it and never find its way out. This is why you won't find heddles for sale, they all make their own and won't ever lose track of them.
Every once in a while we need to move a loom to a different location. However, most men won’t help us move a loom with their trucks because in their mind a loom is a dirty thing, it is a place where a woman has been, and because of that, it is unclean. There is still much degradation of women in this culture.
If you start a weaving project and you don't work on it for a long time, many people will begin to remind you that you need to finish it before the end of the year. If you drag it out past the new year, the saying is that you will hang yourself to death in a horrible act of suicide.