Designed and woven by Rachel Simmons
Bold Moves Tapestry Rug
Designed and woven by Rachel Simmons
a captivating art form that has been practiced throughout human history. It is
an accessible craft that makers of all levels of expertise can enjoy. In this
beginner-friendly project, I'll present a design that not only yields a
beautiful item but also allows weavers to practice essential tapestry weaving
By using thicker wools and warps commonly used in rug weaving, this project can be completed at a faster pace compared to the intricate silks used in medieval wall hangings. While this project does not cover all tapestry weaving techniques, it teaches foundational skills that help serve as the groundwork for creating thread-based, weft-faced images.
For simplicity and ease, this design focuses on utilizing large blocks of color and a bold, graphic pattern. The color palette consists of only three colors, with no more than two colors used simultaneously. This approach ensures a straightforward and visually appealing finished rug that possesses durability and can withstand foot traffic.
Finished size: 19-1/2" x 24"
Weave structure: plain weave
Number of warp ends: 120 ends (each selvedge is doubled for a total of 122 ends)
Warp length: 60" continuous warp
Width on the loom: 20"
What You'll Need
12/4 Natural Linen Rug Warp, 100% Natural Unbleached Linen, Maurice Brassard, 204 yds plus extra for twining.
Jason Collingwood Rug Wool Yarn, 80% wool, 20% cotton, Brick (40 yds), Dune (200 yds), Midnight Blue (50 yds).
- 12/4 Natural Linen Rug Warp, 100% Natural Unbleached Linen, Maurice Brassard, 12 yds.
- painter's tape for securing weft
- quilter's thread for seaming
- original Tapestry Loom
- beater or comb
tapestry bobbins (optional)
- stick shuttle (optional)
- tapestry needle
- sewing needle
- Follow the warping instructions in the Tapestry Loom manual and the specs listed above. See warping notes below for tips!
Twine your warp to ensure even spacing.
Wind your shuttle(s). The tapestry weft is doubled for all colors.
- Weave 10 picks with warp thread. This will be the header of your rug.
See the Following a Weaving Schematic section in the notes below: decide which method you’d like to use and set up for it.
Pigtail your Dune yarn on the selvedge. Wrap the weft around the selvedge and pull the tail to the back of the weaving. This will ensure you do not have loose ends along the exterior selvedge edge and that your tails hang on the back side of your weaving.
3" in Dune. Ensure an even and firm beat after each pick. Pay
attention to your selvedges and if they are moving outward, lessen the number
of bubbles. If your selvedges are pulling inward, bubble more. Also make sure
that you are changing where your bubbles hit the fell on each pick.
- Pigtail the Midnight Blue weft.
Continue weaving following the design. As you are working, have the weft
threads meet and then separate, leaving a vertical slit in your weaving. These
will be sewn shut when finishing the rug.
- Change the end point of the blue as
shown in the design.
- Weave 3" in Dune.
- Pigtail the Brick weft. On each pick, travel one warp thread less with the Brick and one warp thread more with Dune. Continue decreasing the Brick in this fashion until the Brick stripe measures 1”.
- Weave 1" of Dune.
- Repeat steps 9 and 10 for the remaining brick stripes.
- Weave 3" in Dune.
- Weave 10 picks with your warp thread to finish the edge at the end of your rug.
- Use painters’ tape to secure weft at the fell of the fabric. This will hold your weaving in place while you remove your rug from the loom and twist the fringe one group at a time. The twining on the beginning edge of the rug will serve the same purpose.
- Cut your rug from the loom, making sure to leave at least four inches of warp on either end so you can create a small fringe.
Remove the twining or tape as you go. Twist groups of four threads and knot at about 1.5" to create a short fringe for your rug. Remember that the first and last warp threads are double—count these as one warp thread. Trim this fringe to an even 2" when you are finished.
- Turn your rug to the back side and
weave in any ends. Make sure to weave these on the back side of the rug so they
do not show or disrupt the appearance of the front of your rug.
- Sew shut the vertical slits with
quilting thread held double, using a mattress stitch or whipstitch. While slits,
especially small ones, can be left alone or used as a beautiful element in your
weaving, it helps the integrity of the rug to sew them shut in this project.
- Smile—you have a beautiful rug.
- I like to think of the continuous warp as making Ms and Ws on the warping bar. These Ms and Ws should alternate across the length of your warping bar.
- I like to have the thickness of two warp threads on the selvedge warps. To do this, you simply follow your established warping path but count the first two (and last two) threads as one warp end, grouping them together on your beam. For this project, it means you have 122 warp threads on the loom, but treat them as 120 warp ends.
- This project is warped at 6 epi. Using a pencil, you can lightly mark your loom across the tension bar or you can place a piece of painters’ tape on the bar and mark every sixth inch. This will help you organize your warp evenly across your loom and keep track of your warp ends as you weave.
Following a Weaving Schematic: There are several options for how you can follow a tapestry weaving schematic.
- Make the color changes as prescribed while you weave your rug. This means you will have to measure as you build up your pattern.
- Make small marks with a permanent marker on the warp threads. Since tapestry weaving is a weft-faced weaving technique, the warp threads will be entirely covered by your weft threads and none of your marks will show in the finished rug. This may result in a slightly longer rug than what I produced, as compression affects the threads as you beat the rug as you build.
- Draw a true-to-size cartoon you can slip behind your weaving.
Larochette, Jean, et al. Anatomy of a Tapestry: Techniques, Materials, Care. Schiffer Publishing, 2020.
Mezoff, Rebecca. The Art of Tapestry Weaving: A Complete Guide to Mastering the Techniques for Making Images with Yarn. Storey Publishing, 2020.
Patrick, Jane. Explore Tapestry Weave Along. https://schachtspindle.com/products/explore-tapestry-weave-along