The red in this serape-style Navajo blanket is made from what is commonly called bayeta cloth. The Navajo weaver would unwind the threads from a commercial wool flannel and then reweave them on the loom with other dyed and spun yarns. The use of the vibrant red yarn added value to the blanket and gave a heightened sense of color impact, playing the bright red against the blue and white. The design elements are a terraced and step design, often referring to cloud and mountain forms, and the crosses are generally interpreted as winds or the four directions.
This brightly colored blanket has the terraced and step design referring to land forms and elements in nature, often referred to as Terrace-step design. These blankets were worn wrapped around the shoulders and fixed with a pin in the front. Highly desirable by collectors and other Pueblo peoples they were and still are one of the most traded items from the Navajo. Bayeta means the unraveled yarns, the source for red yarns, not the cloth. The weaver would have unraveled Spanish cloth to obtain this. Third phase chief blanket. Notes from Joe Ben Wheat 5/5/1980 Late classic terraced design with crosses. Orange is late raveled and plied (You can usually tell the ply of the yarn by what is used in the tassels) Saltillo elements with a typical Navajo layout. 1980-1880.