The "Newbie"

Hello to all. Again this "Oldie" finds himself the quintessential "Newbie"! In an effort to weave a fabric with great detail for use in the design of small purses, and bags I believe this can be best achieved with Small Format Tapestries.Because of my very rural location I rely on learning things through books.I would like some suggestions that anyone might have for publications or even web sites focusing on technique, and especially fine detail.The tapestries of Kathe's, Lions Rest, After Glow, and the Kona's come to mind. Thanks, Frank.


Posted on Fri, 12/16/2011 - 22:24

... the artist pages there, Frank.  You might find others who's work you'd like to take a look at.  The link to the ATA website is

Kathe Todd-Hooker is definitely a great source for all things tapestry related.  Her own fine thread tapestries are amazing pieces.  Her books are wonderful sources of technical information about tapestry in general and the information can be used for any scale, whether tiny detail as in the sewing thread tapestries or larger epi.  

Kathe's book, Tapestry 101, has lots of information.


Posted on Fri, 12/16/2011 - 22:35

Thanks Tommye, Tapestry 101 will definitely find Santa's Xmas list!, Frankl

Posted on Fri, 12/16/2011 - 22:36

Hi frank, I would highly recommend Kathe Todd-Hooker's book Tapestry 101 it is self published by Fine Fiber Press . I've studyed with her and her instruction and books are superb. I can't see differences between small format technique and large format technique. Same thing. Just different weaving materials. Something that is very Helpful with kathe's book is a chart at the back of the book with a chart of warp sizes ,setts and suggested wefts . I know Kathe often weaves 20 epi with sewing thread ( maybe 4 strands at a time not sure) for weft. Not sure if you want to go that fine. Maybe some more tapestry weavers will weigh in.

Posted on Sat, 12/17/2011 - 03:14

Hi Cathie, "Tapestry 101" is now on my list as is "Line in Tapestry". Thanks, Frank.

Posted on Sat, 12/17/2011 - 04:48

I am new to the forum and this book may have been mentioned, I found Tapestry Handbook, The Next Generation by Carol K. Russell very useful. I have been tapestry weaving for about 3 years so am very new to the process.

Posted on Sat, 12/17/2011 - 07:27

Thanks Barb, I will check that one out. Frank

Posted on Sat, 12/17/2011 - 14:02

I'll echo the comment that the Russell book is helpful. I want to also mention that there are several others that have good technical information about tapestry, including those by Nancy Harvey, Kristen Glasbrook, and the several by Kathe Tood-Hooker.

Some of the "classics" also cover tapestry technique well: Peter Collingwood's The Techniques of Rug Weaving (available online at the digital weaving archive) and Mary Black's New Key to Weaving.

Nancy Harvey produced several videos about tapestry technique several years ago and those are still avalaible in DVD form (Yarn Barn, Lawrence, KS has them). Archie Brennan & Susan Maffei have just released a fabulous teaching tool in their 16 hour DVD series. You can see their website for more information about that. In my opinion, for anyone learning tapestry without the benefit of having a workshop/class to attend in person, the Archie/Susan DVD series is exceptional in depth of info presented.

Tapestry weaving is an extremely interesting subset of weaving in general. After all, it's only plain weave*. Yet it can be so challenging, so complex, so frustrating! As they say, ask me how I know!!. Happy exploration of the wonderful world of tapestry, Frank.


* while tapestry is most often defined as being a plain weave structure that uses discontinuous wefts there are exceptions to the structure--the work of Helene Hernmarck, for instance.

Posted on Sun, 12/18/2011 - 15:51

Thanks Tommye, I will check out the DVDs you've mentioned as well as review my copy by Peter Collingwood. Another adventure for a new year! Frank.

Posted on Sun, 12/18/2011 - 16:03

... those are extensive, Frank. Take a look at chapter 5. Weft-faced Rugs in Plain Weave, Part Two: Techniques in which the Weft does not run from Selvage to Selvage The section 3 is about tapestry techniques although the method of clasped wefts under meet and separate technique might be of interest. Eccentric wefts and wedge weave is addressed in this section, too. Then there's chapter 6 and Soumak and Weft Chaining techniques.

Another good way to develop skills and confidence in tapestry is through the American Tapestry Alliance's mentor programs. There are two, one called Helping Hands and it's directed to those who are just beginning their journey in learning about tapestry. The other one called Distance Learning is for those who are already weaving tapestry and would like to interact through email or other distance means with someone with more experience who will serve as their mentor. Both programs are available to members of American Tapestry Alliance for a small fee. You might want to check the website to learn more about it. I was the coordinator for the program for a few years and I've also served as a mentor in the past. I can say that from what I saw happening, it is a good program and can be a benefit for someone who doesn't have easy access to face-to-tace learning about the field of tapestry.

Good luck with your exploration and if you have specific questions please don't hesitate to send me a private email.