Best tapestry loom for beginning weaver in Scandinavian tradition

Good morning! When I acquired my Glimakra 160-cm Standard a few years ago, my weaving friends told me that it would not be my only loom. I did not believe them. Certainly my husband didn't want to. However, now I find I've got a yen for tapestry. I did a bit of tapestry in classes at http://www.vavstuga.com and loved the feeling of "painting on the loom." I anticipate doing pillow covers and wall hangings, not rugs---I would want to use my Glimakra for that---and would prefer something that can stand independently. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Comments

Posted on Sat, 05/02/2015 - 13:22

Welcome to the beautiful world of tapestry!  Once you begin painting on the loom you will be immersed in so many options of ways to go.  If you want to begin simply, a frame loom of almost any type would work fine, from putting together a wooden artist stretcher frame and C-clamping it to a table or holding it in your lap.  That's about the simplest and quickest loom to get started with.  You might want to look at something to give tension adjustment and think about the Archie Brennan design for using copper pipe and threaded rods and nuts for smaller looms, and plumbing pipe or scaffolding for larger looms. Feet can be constructed with the pipe so the looms can stand.  Search online for Archie Brennan looms to see the diagrams he provides for constructing these.

For standing table top tapestry looms, there's Mirrix in different sizes. For standing floor looms for high warp tapestry available commercially, there's the Ashford tapestry loom, Fireside traditional tapestry loom or the cantilever tapestry loom, and Leclerc Gobelin style tapestry loom.  I'm not sure if the Glimakra high warp tapestry loom is made now... Joanne Hall can chime in about that.

I'm sure you've probably seen the Katherine Larson book, "Woven Coverlets of Norway," in which she describes the several tapestry traditions from pictorial to geometric.  You might also want to explore the American Tapestry Alliance website to see the multiple resources found there. The link to that is http://americantapestryalliance.org

About learning tapestry, there are several books available about technique and most are good.  Other learning opportunities include the Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei DVD set with about 16 hours of instruction included.  Also, take a look at Rebecca Mezoff's online tapestry course.

Whatever you choose as your loom and your approach to learning about tapestry, have a grand time!

Tommye

Posted on Sat, 05/02/2015 - 13:43

Tommye, thank you very much for your kind welcome and for sharing your thoughts! I do not know for sure, but I am guessing that I will want something somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, between a stretcher frame on the one hand and a Gobelin with all the bells and whistles on the other. I do like the look of the Glimakra "Freja" and the smaller Ashford.

Posted on Sat, 05/02/2015 - 17:23

I was thinking I might like to try tapestry also and several people on the website talked about certain tapestry looms.  So I started searching for a used one.  If you are looking for a Swedish type, check out www.glimakrausa.com and search the used equipment listings.  I believe I have seen an older upright tapestry loom for sale.  Also, Homestead Weavings website is a good spot to look also.

 

=^.^=

Posted on Sat, 05/02/2015 - 18:46

Tommye (and others), do you have an opinion about which loom best holds the high tension needed for tapestry?

Posted on Sat, 05/02/2015 - 19:03

All of the ones I mentioned hold good tension. Sometimes people put too much tension on warp for tapestry, needs to be firm but not so much that you could bounce a cat.

Posted on Sat, 05/02/2015 - 19:14

Thanks, that is helpful to know. I am also wondering about the Schacht tapestry loom, which (as you undoubtedly know) can be mounted on a floor stand. A Mirrix can too---but I think that that plus the Mirrix floor stand may be more than I want to spend.

Posted on Sat, 05/02/2015 - 20:49

Depends on how much tapestry you may be doing. In the long run, Mirrix will serve best, I think, if you're weaving a lot of tapestry. A standing loom like the Ashford tapestry loom would be a good option for standing high warp loom rather than the schacht with floor stand. Just my opinion.

Posted on Mon, 05/25/2015 - 10:55

I now have the Ashford and could not be more thrilled! Warped it up last night with help from my mom. As a rank beginner, I'm now wondering about what yarn to use---my stash does not thrill me. I love Borgs yarns and am wondering about either Tuna or Mattgarn? Also, do I really need bobbins at this point? I enjoy making butterflies.

Posted on Mon, 05/25/2015 - 16:43

Hi Anna,

What sett did you use?  The Mattgarn works very well singly at 8 epi.   I use this to teach the basics on table looms and floor looms.   I have also used Borgs Tuna yarn (6/2) at 8 epi with two strands.  Three strands also works for a tighter weave.  When I teach finer tapestry weaving at a sett of 10, we use the Borgs Faro yarn (6/1), three strands together.   All of these yarns come in many colors, Faro has 75 and Tuna has 105.  At 10 you can get more detail which is nice for the smaller tapestries.  And with three strands together, you can blend the colors.

Joanne

 

Posted on Mon, 05/25/2015 - 18:58

Great to hear from you---the big Glimakra Standard is still my pride and joy! As for the tapestry, we are talking VERY wide sett here, as I learn and experiment with less-than-stellar stash yarns at... 4 epi. However, I am thinking that for a real project, I would do 8 epi and use the Mattgarn. May I ignore bobbins and use butterflies instead for such a project, or will I really need bobbins?

Posted on Mon, 05/25/2015 - 23:55

Have fun with your 4 epi and use whatever you want for weft.  Just try a few things.  But then set up the loom again with more epi.   Don't spend a lot of time at 4 epi.  One can develop bad habits at this sett.

Or, after trying a few things at 4 epi, if you still have warp left, maybe you can just sett the warp closer.

Joanne