For those interested in creating miniature tapestries, you don’t need buy a large lap or tabletop loom or build your own; simply get yourself a potholder loom for around ten bucks and start weaving.
– Potholder loom (I recommend the Wool Novelty metal loom; it’s more durable than cheap plastic looms and will last you forever)
– Large tapestry needle
– Wide-toothed comb to use as a beater. (Tapestry beaters are expensive – just find yourself a small comb with wide, evenly spaced teeth. Look for a comb with no large ends, like mine has, as those can get in the way.)
– Thin cotton yarn/twine, single or two-ply wool yarn of your chosen color
– Thin scraps of fabric or roving
– Dowel rod or stick for hanging
1. Wind your warp. Warp thread acts as the blank canvas for your weaving and will barely be seen once the tapestry is done. Use a thin, strong cotton yarn or twine for your warp thread.
2. Knot the thread at the top lefthand corner of the loom, then wind it vertically up and down across all pegs, being careful to keep tension even as you go; the warp should be wound tightly but not too tightly, with a bit of give.
3. Knot the warp end at the bottom righthand corner. Ignore the loom pegs on the left and right sides, as you will only be using two sides of the pegs to create your tapestry.
4. Start weaving! The weft is the horizontal thread and the body of your tapestry. To do a standard tabby (plain) weave, attach the yarn to your needle, begin at the top of your weaving and wind the thread into the warp, alternating over and under between each warp thread.
5. When you reach the end of the row, start on the next row underneath, this time alternating over and under on the opposite warp thread. Make sure to leave enough give so the yarn doesn’t pull the weaving inward into an hourglass shape, which will happen if the yarn is too tightly woven.
6. Use your wide toothed comb to beat/squish the yarn upwards so you see very little of the warp. Weave the yarn ends into the tapestry, allowing the very end of the yarn to poke out the back where it won’t be seen.
Don’t limit yourself to just wool yarn–weave in bits of roving, fabric scraps, cotton cord, and all sorts of odds and ends to add a more interesting texture to your tapestry.
7. Finish the tapestry with fringe. Cut strings of yarn around 20 inches long, group them together depending on how thick you want the fringe to be and attach to the warp (see photos). To complete the tapestry, carefully pull the weaving off the loom, slide your dowel rod/stick through the warp loop ends at the top of the weaving and hang.
Potholder looms are generally 7 x 7 inches and can create tapestries up to 6 x 6 inches in size – or tinier if you weave a smaller warp. Happy weaving!
Lauren (Sew Contributor)
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