Demonstrating how to make a simple loom is important to me because I want new weavers to work on a good, affordable loom with tension control. Tension control is key to making a good tapestry because 1) it allows you to warp up your loom with even tension. This means you are not trying to keep your tension both tight and even at the same time while you dress your loom. This way you can just focus on keeping your tension even and then tighten it when you are done. Even tension means your tapestry will be woven evenly, ie your weft won't pack more (or less) densely in some parts compared to others 2) Your warp thread should to be under very tight tension in order to pack your weft easily and densely 3) It is simply easier to weave with tight tension.
The loom I show you how to build in this video is a PVC version of the basic copper Archie Brennan-style tapestry loom, and the illustrations shown in it are a screenshot from his and Susan Maffei;s website. I used the copper version in school for my first tapestries. Our teacher Anthea Mallinson taught us how to pickup every second warp using our fingers, and with practice we gained finesse. It's a technique I really enjoy and still use in small sections of weaving. For my next DIY post, which will be the first of the ATA Tapestry Unlimited blog tour next Wednesday, I will show you how to warp up and weave on this loom using that finger picking technique. These will be great tools and skills to begin your venture into tapestry weaving.
PS I left in some Sammy sounds and footage because that is the beautiful/challenging reality of making DIY videos as a stay-at-home mom. Blurg.
Janna Maria Vallee is a tapestry weaver, longtime knitter, and 2013 graduate of Concordia University's Fibres and Material Practices program. In her art practice Janna combines textiles and socially engaged media. She founded VY in 2008.