In 1868, three-ply commercial yarns were being produced by woolen mills around Germantown, Pennsylvania, and shipped to the Navajo reservation for use in weavings. By 1870, a four-ply yarn became the mainstay, which produced a very consistent even weave and came in a variety of bright aniline colors. These colorful, tight, well-composed Navajo textiles became known collectively as Germantown blankets. The majority of these Germantown weavings were composed of four-ply commercial wool yarn, which often used a cotton warp as their foundation, though the Ganado trading post owner John Lorenzo Hubbell discouraged the practice of cotton warps as they did not wear as well as those with a wool warp.
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