Beginning Tapestry Weaving Techniques: Weaving Circular Shapes
Tapestry wall hangings are super trendy this year—and for good reason! They’re fun, quick, and creative, and the design possibilities are almost endless. Now it’s easy to get started with the Tapestry Weaving Starter Kit.
This exciting kit includes everything you need to immediately start creating gorgeous wall hangings and other beginning tapestry weaving projects:
- Schacht Spindle School Loom: A gorgeous maple tapestry loom the perfect size for wall hangings (15″ x 25.5″). The loom is easy to warp and includes two pickup sticks, a stick shuttle, a mini loom beater, and a weaving needle.
- Exclusive Brown Sheep Yarn Tapestry Yarn Sampler: 20 mini-skeins in a rainbow of colors.
- Handwoven, May/June 2012: This issue shows you how to seamlessly transition from color to color in your tapestries without creating unstable gaps in the fabric.
- DIY Woven Art by Rachel Denbow: This book is not only a treasure trove of beginning tapestry weaving techniques and tricks, but also contains 15 projects that will inspire you to put that new loom to good use!
Beginning Tapestry Weaving Technique: Weave Circular Shapes
Here’s a preview of just one of the many beginning tapestry weaving techniques you’ll learn in DIY Woven Art: weaving circular shapes. In general, weaving is a very linear endeavor, as you weave straight lines back and forth on a grid. But you can create the illusion of a round shape with some careful planning. Here’s how Rachel does it:
1. “Create a template, also called a cartoon, for your design to help guide your pattern as you weave. To create this design, place a dinner plate in the center of your paper and trace around it with a marker or pen. Be sure your outer edges are even so that your woven design is even.”
2. “Place your cartoon behind your loom. You can leave your cartoon behind your weaving for reference, but I prefer to trace my cartoon pattern onto my warp to help guide my curved lines. The marks on your warp should get covered with your weft yarn, so they won’t likely show, but keep the possibility of the marks showing in mind when you choose a color.”
3. “Creating the appearance of a smooth, circular arc on a gridded structure comes down to creating an optical illusion. It’s similar to pixelating your circle. Having a template helps you work around the restrictions of a warp and weft, but you’ll also need to do a little bit of counting. You’ll weave the outside of your design using a diagonal slit weave instead of interlocking your weft rows.”
4. For the specifics of creating the “Triple Scoop Wall Hanging” pictured at left, get the kit and follow Rachel’s step-by-step instructions. You’ll be decreasing the warps you weave in your background yarn on each side until you reach the side. Then you’ll weave a straight line for a number of rows. As Rachel says, “it’ll feel really noncircular, but trust the optical illusion and know that this straight line will do its job.” Then you’ll work backward to create the outline of the top of the curve.
5. “Filling in your circular shapes is the easy part now! You don’t have to build your foundation as much as fill in the blanks with a diagonal slit-weave technique.”
6. “Now that you know how to create rounded edges by increasing weft rows by 1 or 2 warps, you can include circles, ovals, half circles, wavy lines, crescent shapes, scallops, and more in your designs. You can also design cartoons for more intricate patterns.”
You’ll learn countless other beginning tapestry weaving techniques and stitches in DIY Woven Art, and with the Tapestry Weaving Starter Kit, you’ll have the equipment on hand to get creative right away.
P.S. Do you have a different way of weaving circular shapes on a tapestry loom? Comment and share your method!