You’ve seeing these adorable woven wall-hangings on Instagram and Pinterest and you’re ready to take the plung e to learn how to make your own woven art. Maybe you take a class on a basic frame loom or you make your own loom from a picture frame and follow some instructions you find online. Now, you’re ready to take this craft to the next level. What’s first? A high-quality loom! You’ve heard of Mirrix Looms, but they’re tapestry looms… is tapestry the type of weaving you’re interested in? What exactly IS tapestry?
Imagine a woven scarf or a blanket. It might be one color, stripes or a pattern, but usually it doesn’t depict an image or a varying design. Tapestry, however, does. A tapestry might represent a realistic image, a complex design or even an abstract picture.
Generally tapestry has discontinuous wefts. This mean the weft (again, these are the threads that go across the loom) do not go from selvedge (edge) to selvedge (edge).
So is the type of weaving you want to do tapestry? If it is weft-faced and pictorial, it probably falls somewhere on the tapestry spectrum. What does this mean?
1.) You can use, and benefit from, a dedicated tapestry loom like a Mirrix. Great tension, a shedding device and accessory options are just a few reasons why. Check out this blog post for a few more reasons.
2.) You can weave using tapestry techniques. Stripes and fringe are fun, but there are so many more amazing tapestry techniques. Pick and Pick is a great example. Learn how to create these fun vertical stripes here.
Want to learn more about weaving? Click here to get a FREE weaving consultation!
When you are a beginner at anything, it can be a struggle to decide how much of an investment you want to make in that pastime. I remember when I first starting doing yoga I was hesitant to spend $60 on a nice mat. What if I only used it once? Was a $15 mat just as good? Should I just rent one at my studio instead? I’m sure most fledgling tapestry weavers have this same problem. Should a beginner invest in a Mirrix? Won’t those wooden frame looms work just fine?
The answer is different for everyone. Some people decide to get an inexpensive loom to test the waters and then upgrade later on. Others want to start with the best from the beginning. Either way, you probably want to upgrade to a professional-quality loom once you know that tapestry weaving is for you (and we’re pretty sure it is)!
Here are ten reasons why a Mirrix is a big upgrade from a basic wooden frame loom:
Tapestry weaving needs very tight, even tension. This is difficult to get on a basic frame loom. On a Mirrix, you will have perfect tension every time and you can adjust it as you go.
2.) The Mirrix Shedding Device
The Mirrix shedding device makes weaving faster and easier. Instead of weaving each weft over and under the warp threads, the shedding device lifts half of your warp threads so you can easily bring your weft through. Click here to learn more about the Mirrix shedding device.
Check out the video below to compare weaving with and without a shedding device.
Heddles attach your shedding device (which raises and lowers warp threads) to your warp. We sell pre-made Texsolv heddles, but you can also make your own. You can learn more about heddles and the Mirrix shedding device here.
The concept of putting on heddles is fairly straightforward, but there are a lot of chances to make mistakes when putting them on. It is important to pay attention to what you are doing and keep checking to make sure you aren’t making mistakes, as one mistake can make it so your shedding device does not work properly.
Heddles go on every-other warp thread on the top of your shedding device and then the shedding device is flipped over and heddles are put on the warp threads that do not have heddles (again, going on every other heddle.)
Below we’ve gone over some common mistakes people make when putting on heddles.
This is probably the most common mistake made by beginners, but one that is easy to prevent. Make sure you do not skip a warp thread that needs a heddle and then go back and put a heddle on out of order. This will cause your heddles to cross.
Heddle on Two Warp Threads
This is an easy one to do if you aren’t paying close attention. It is a good idea to go back and check periodically when you are putting heddles on to make sure you haven’t accidentally put one heddle around two warp threads. If you do, it will get your heddle placement out of order. For example, if you were supposed to put heddles on warps 1, 3, 5, etc. and you put them on 1, 3 and 4, you will put the next one on warp 6, the even warps, which will be the same as what the other side is doing. It’s very easy to make this mistake, so look carefully at each heddle/warp thread before you move on to the next.
Heddle on the Wrong Warp Thread
Sometimes when putting on heddles, you accidentally skip one and continue putting your heddles on incorrect warp threads. This will cause you to have two heddles (top and bottom) on the same warp thread (just like putting one heddle on two warp threads will do.) You may also simply miss putting a heddle on a warp thread, but continue putting your heddles on correctly. Either way, you will need to go back and fix the mistake.
We see this a lot when people are having trouble getting their shedding device to work. You’ve made sure your heddles are put on correctly, but why are you having trouble getting a good shed? The answer is usually that the heddles are tangled or crossing one another. They need to be facing all in the same direction and not rubbing up against each other. When they are tangled, they can prevent you from getting a good shed.
This is how heddles should look when they are organized. See how all the tails are on the side of the bar facing you? That is where they should be!
The lesson here is simple: Be careful. Don’t try to watch television or have a conversation when you’re putting on your heddles. Concentrate, and check often that you’re doing everything right. If you do that, you won’t have any problems and won’t have to go back and troubleshoot!
Start thinking (How about next to your bed? Maybe over your desk?) because we are now offering a free ebook detailing how to make this beautiful and simple piece!
In this ebook you will learn:
- How to set-up and warp a Mirrix Loom for tapestry weaving
- The techniques needed to make an adorable heart tapestry
- How to finish a small tapestry piece
Use your own materials or get the kit here (for only $18)
Still need a loom? Consider our Heart Tapestry Loom Starter Package or click below for a free loom recommendation!