Tapestry Weaving Basics

Tapestry Techniques

Jack Lenor Larsen describes tapestry as having “a pliable plane, with a forgiving surface which ages slowly and gracefully….it has far broader ranges of material, scale, pattern, and expression than any other medium.”

Tapestry is usually woven on upright tapestry looms, or on smaller frame looms. You can even weave tapestry on a cardboard box. To weave a tapestry, a cartoon is first drawn on a piece of paper. The cartoon can be pinned behind the warp threads. As the design is woven, the cartoon is repositioned with the movement of the warp.

Some of the more common tapestry techniques are illustrated below.

Tapestry Slit
Tapestry Slit


Slit In the Slit technique, each colour is woven back and forth, separately. This is generally used in small sections as a slit is created in the rug.

Tapestry Warp Interlock
Tapestry Warp Interlock


Warp Interlock Two colours can also meet by wrapping around the same warp thread. The Warp Interlock creates a jagged edge and is used in diagonal joins.

Tapestry Weft Interlock
Tapestry Weft Interlock


Weft Interlock In the Weft Interlock, the two adjoining colours wrap around each other between two warp threads. It is used on long vertical joins.

Tapestry - Diagonal
Tapestry – Diagonal


Diagonal Diagonal (or other) shapes are woven using a combination of interlocking techniques. The steepness of the diagonal determines when to change to the next colour.
Colour and shading in a tapestry is achieved by using multiple weft threads. By changing the amount or direction of twist in a group of threads, you can obtain different colour effects.

Tapestry

Tapestry Weaving Books
Small Loom & Freeform Weaving: Five Ways to Weave
Tapestry Handbook
Tapestry Weaving
Tapestry Weaving: A Comprehensive Study Guide


Tapestry Weaving (Search Press Classics)
Tapestry Weaving: Design and Technique
Contemporary International Tapestry
The Complete Book of Tapestry Weaving

EBAY Tapestry Looms
USED TAPESTRY LOOMS – UK
USED TAPESTRY LOOMS – US

Last Updated on April 26, 2021 by Paivi Suomi

By Paivi Suomi

I've had an interest in weaving, looms, yarns and textiles since I was a small child. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, do needlepoint at my mother's knee. My grandmother was a Saami from northern Norway. I am very interested in studying more about traditional Saami and Finnish style weaving and handicrafts. Paivi Suomi