Tapestry weaving

Posted by Agnes Iley , Monday, July 23, 2012 8:09 AM


After doing the previous exercises I was ready to start weaving with yarn. I was really curious what textures could be created, this time not through the use of strange or unusual materials but by varying the weft. In the run up to this exercise I got incredibly lucky, I found a large Glimakra tapestry loom on the internet, including a bag full of bobbins and a book and it only cost me about 20 pounds! Setting up a warp without instructions was an interesting experience!

In my first sample I wanted to see how I could utilize the slits that appear when doing straight colour changes to create a more 3 dimensional piece. So I twisted the thin purple rectangles before weaving the wider part at the top of them. I think this creates nice dimensional effect.


This made me think a little more about colour changes, all weaving I have ever done or seen tells you to go up and down in the same colour so that you end up with your colour on the right side of the work. But what if I changed colour at every turn? I do like the subtlety of the arrow in this sample, I reversed colours halfway through which obviously didn’t affect the arrow, but did change the background.


Looking at the backside of my previous sample, gave me another idea for texture. Changing colour at every turn made long threads at the back of the arrow. (Of course this could have been eliminated by using two more weft threads, but I didn’t think it would be a problem on a small sample like this.) So I did another sample with the same technique, but did one stripe by changing colour at every turn and did the next one in mirror image, still changing the colour at every turn, but with the backside to the front. It wasn’t easy to coordinate my hands and brain for this one! But I think this could give a really nice texture to a piece.


For my final sample I wanted to try and create a more “open” weave. I did this by twisting the warp thread in between the weft.


I did run into a problem here, I clearly couldn’t keep the tension right and the piece started to pull in a lot. Some research taught me that when using an open weave technique like this, suspenders are used to keep the work at the right width. But I do like the effect and I guess the whole reason to make samples is to learn about these things….

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