We had great fun making this fish at an experimental tapestry weaving workshop. You can use any flexible materials to weave, so exploring the craft doesn’t have to be expensive. For this project we used lengths of left over yarns and wool tops, the technique would work equally well with ribbons, laces, string or strips of plastic carrier bag.
You will need a flexible twig approximately 75cm long. Bend the twig to create the fish shape ‘frame’, overlapping the ends into a ‘v’. Bind the ends together where they cross over using your warp yarn (we used a cotton warp yarn).
Take the warp yarn from edge to edge, knotting it in place as you go, leaving a 1cm space in between each. This is quite fiddly and will need a little patience!
When the whole of the fish is strung, weave your slub yarn* around the ‘frame’ and in between each of the wrap threads to cover the loop of the fish shape. Now you are ready to begin the fun and relaxing ry weaving.
* wool tops work equally well, they can be twisted before weaving through the warp and become slightly felted as they are worked.
Secure your yarn to the frame near the first warp thread (don’t worry about ends, these can be tucked in later) and begin to weave under the first and over the next. When you get to the end, take the yarn around the last warp thread and begin weaving back again ensuring that the yarn goes under where it previously went over.
Push each line of weaving up tight against the previous to hide the warp and ensure there are no holes. Continue until all of the warp has been covered. The weaving will get tight near the bottom and you will have to push the threads through with your fingers. Finish off at the base of the tail by tightly wrapping yarn around it.
To create the tail, we used a contrasting yarn. The cotton yarn can be dyed readily with Procion MX dyes, or for a ‘quick fix’ use Jacquard Dye-na-flow.
The yarn was twisted around the tail in a figure of 8 until it was completely covered.
Finally, a tuft of fine dyed wool top was pushed through the centre of the fish to create it’s fluffy fin!