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Getting Started with Tapestry Weaving

Diagram of tapestry weavingTapestry weaving is a relatively simple method of creating fabric for rugs, cushion covers and decorative wall hangings. The technique will appeal to the artist as the yarns can be used to 'paint' a picture across the supporting warp.

A warp, which is the yarn on which the weaving will be suspended, is first wound onto a frame. The yarn which will be woven under and over the warp is called the weft (shown in the diagram as green). As the weft is woven, it is pushed down so that there are no gaps between each row of weaving and the warps threads are eventually covered. This is known as a weft-faced weave.

Featured below are instructions for getting started with tapestry weaving.  We have used the most basic equipment suitable for learning about the craft and offer a range of larger tapestry frames, tapestry beaters, forks and bobbins in the Tapestry Weaving section of the website.  There is also a large selection of books about tapestry and other weaving techniques available from the Book Shop, these will help you to explore and learn about the craft at leisure.

 

1) The tapestry frame lengths are an economical alternative to buying a dearer tapestry frame. They are sold in pairs (you will need two pairs!) which are pushed together to form a robust frame. This frame is composed of 2 x 35cm (14in) and 2 x 50cm (20in). A gentle tap with a hammer, and towel to protect the wood, helps to knock the joints into place. 

An economical Tapestry frame for the beginner

2) A cotton warp was wrapped around the frame 16 times.

Warping up the tapestry frame ready for weaving

3) A length of blue yarn was folded in half and looped over one edge of the frame. The yarn was wound onto the pointed bobbin which was used to weave over and under the warp threads to make the warp threads all the same height. The blue yarn was tied at the side of the frame to keep the warp threads in place.

The wrap threads are tied by a woven yarn to make them all the same height

4) The tapestry bobbin had a new colour wound onto it and the first row of weaving began by parting the warp threads with the point of the bobbin. The yarn on the bobbin is known in weaving as the 'weft'.

The weft yarn is woven under and over the warp yarn

5) The warp threads were lifted to allow the loaded bobbin to pass between the shed (space) that was made. The 200g Mixed Yarn bag offers a selection of colours and textures - ideal for the experimental beginner weaver.

The warp threads are lifted to allow the bobbin to pass

6) As the weft yarn was woven under and over the warp threads, the point of the bobbin was used to push (or beat) the yarn down so that the warp yarn no longer showed.

The point of the tapestry bobbin is used to pushed down the row of weaving

7) A yellow weft yarn was added, and the green was left in place ready to be picked up later.

The tapestry weaving starts to take shape

8) When the tapestry weaving is completed, the ends can be cut and tied onto a length of wooden dowel or threaded with beads. 

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