Tapestry Weaving Process

Tapestry weaving, unlike floor loom weaving, makes use of a vertical loom. Rather than weaving full lines back and forth, weaving is done more in a patchwork fashion. It is traditionally done with the design on its side, and historically it is woven from the back.

I sometimes weave with the design on the side, which increases the structural integrity, but I never weave from the back. The piece on the loom is “Spring” from the Seasonal Quartet series, shown as I wove it on its side.

Sylvia Everett working on weaving at home

I place a cartoon of the design behind the loom and the weaving is done as a direct copy of the cartoon design. The cartoon may contain only the outlines, the colors, and other textures being improvised, or the entire scheme may be represented on the cartoon.

For the larger pieces Bill built me a loom of two-by-fours with several hundred nails on which the warp was strung. These pieces were generally hand picked, which means each string was picked up with my finger. Occasionally I rigged a more efficient system of opening the warp.

Woven tapestry underway on loom

For medium to smaller pieces I used an upright Mirex metal loom on my worktable, using a foot pedal to open the warp.

Traditionally, the ends of yarn are left hanging in the back, but I prefer to weave them in with a needle after the piece is completed.