JergaA part of the Rio Grande weaving tradition that goes back to Spanish Colonial times is called jerga. Historically, jerga was woven as a utilitarian fabric, used as a tarp, or carrier, or for wrapping things up. It was strictly a wool textile. Someone with wealth might demonstrate that by putting jerga down as a floor covering. It was woven in long strips and cut and seamed to make a piece of fabric of the desired size. And many of the jergas that survived to the present are very large. The Spanish Colonial jergas were woven on simple four harness looms made of raw lumber like these.
During the twentieth century jerga became something very different than what it had been in Spanish Colonial times. It became a two harness, weft-faced rag rug. The rags were cut up to make the weft, and, at least in our little part of the tradition, was spun on a malacate (spindle) to make it strong. And, as a weft-faced weave, it would protect the warp, the structural part of the fabric. I'm not aware of other rag rug traditions that spin the rags, or make a weft-faced rag rug, although it is likely to be done elsewhere too. But most rag rugs, including the ones we sell here, are more like a balanced weave, with warp threads exposed on the surface.