Weaving With Fringe
Fringe is in!
We’ve been getting requests from customers for information on how to add fringe to tapestries. While there may be other ways to do it, “fringe” in tapestry is typically created with rya knotting, which is a Swedish technique used to make pile-rugs as well wall-hangings.
I’ve never experimented with rya before, but thought I’d give it a try. The very basic technique was easier than I thought it would be, and fun to do.
Tapestry weaver Kathe Todd-Hooker (visit her blog here) has done some really neat tapestry pieces with rya, like this one of her dog Chene (Chene is as cute in person as in the tapestry):
Here’s another sampler by Kathe with rya on the edges:
Kathe’s book, “Shaped Tapestry” covers some rya techniques as they relate to tapestry (as well as many other techniques).
The basic idea of a rya knot is very simple, but looking online I found different methods to make them. One involved making loops and then cutting them. The one I used was a little more basic.
Here’s what I did: First I cut my thread into equal-sized pieces (this can be done by wrapping around your hand and cutting in one or two places). Sam was supervising here.
Next, I simply wrapped my thread around four warps (you could also do two or six), covering the front, and brought each end of the thread behind the warp and through the middle two warp threads back to the front. I used one piece of two-ply wool here, but you could use a bundle of one type of thread or a combination of different threads. It might be pretty to combine wool and silk here.
Then, I simply pulled and brought each little knot to the bottom of the piece. I wove a few rows straight across between my rows of knots.
And that’s it! You could do this with longer threads, shorter ones, on just one side, just in the middle, with more weaving in between… there are many options. Below I used double threads of thick wool, but you can see how it messed up my sett (the warp threads are being pulled apart) because they were too thick for the piece I had warped.
We want to know: Have you used rya in your tapestry? What technique did you use?