A direct result of my recent HGTV obsession, I have been (not-so) casually planning the decor in my future dream home. Throughout this process, I have stumbled many times upon woven tapestries such as this one from Urban Outfitters.
They are exquisite, but expensive. I had been searching for one cheap enough to pull the trigger on for months. That is, until I came across this simple tutorial on Pinterest to make on my own.
Now, I am a knitter–but only of infinity scarves, so my knowledge is very limited. At first, I thought these tapestries were carefully knitted objects, not woven. I have never tried weaving, but I was acutely aware of one advantage I had from the get-go: lots and lots of leftover yarn. However, as a frequent visitor to Michael’s crafts, I also am unable to pass up the opportunity to add to my already overflowing yarn collection. So, yarn in hand, I set off to find the other necessary supplies as denoted by the tutorial to make the tapestry of my home decor dreams.
-Yarn (I ended up buying the blue and copper to go with the dark grey and taupe that I already had)
-Wooden Dowel (I had to saw mine to be the right length later)
-Metallic Paint and paintbrush
-Loom (I bought a knitting loom kit, and had to improvise so that the pegs would be closer together. If I were to do this over I would keep this in mind from the start)
-Tool to remove weaving from pegs
Tie the cotton string around one peg, then wrap it around the peg directly below it, snaking up and down while moving across the loom. Tie when you reach the other side, making sure it is taught but not too tight.
To make the tassles at the bottom, fold an 8(ish) inch piece of yarn in half. Feed it into the two far-left cross-strings with the tail ends facing left, then tuck the tail ends under the cross string towards the right, pulling tight. Pull your finished tassle down to the bottom, under the peg. Repeat for every two strings, or each peg, until you have a tassle below each peg.
Now that you’re ready to start weaving, start by doing a few rows at the very bottom, right above your newly created tassles. Starting from the back of the loom, weave your threaded needle over one of the cross strings, then under the next, repeating across the whole row. Pull the yarn through, leaving a few inches out the back, and weave back the opposite direction, making sure that the strings you went over before you now weave under, and vise versa. Do a few rows and then use your fingers to push the rows down so they nicely line up.
After creating a nice base, plan what designs you want to add. I chose to do a series of triangles. Repeat the over-under weaving, excluding one cross-string on each side every few rows to taper upwards. Continue pushing the yarn down as you go so you have an accurate image.
This proved slightly difficult with my metallic yarn since it was so thin–I ended up doing a few rows of each length before moving upwards so it was taller and fuller. Once you have created all the shapes you want, pick your base yarn color and begin to fill in around the shapes. You can always start a new piece of yarn in the middle, as long as you start from the back. Remember to keep pushing the rows down as you go so you don’t leave holes or have a loose weave. I discovered, too late, that I had pulled some rows too tight, which warped my final product. Try to pull the yarn through so it’s taught, but not so tight that it distorts the straight edges of your tapestry.
When you have filled in your whole tapestry, turn the loom over and tie the loose ends in the back, either to each other or to themselves.
Use the tool to remove the cotton string loops one-by-one, transferring them onto the wooden dowel. Since my loom was a bit wonky and uneven, I wrapped every other loop around the dowel twice. It looks a little messy, but worked well enough.
Take the masking tape and wrap around the ends of the dowel, leaving about an inch of both tips exposed. Make sure they are even, and then paint the ends with the metallic paint. I did a double coat to really make the copper pop. Let it dry.
Now, these are not totally necessary, but I loved how they added to the finished product on the Pinterest tutorial. To make a tassle, first cut a length of yarn that, when folded in half, is approximately the length you want your tassle to hang from the wooden dowel. Tie this piece at the bottom, making it into a loop. Take the same kind of yarn and fold it over itself multiple times, making a long bunch of yarn about 8 inches long.
Fold the bunch in half and place it halfway through the loop you made originally, so it hangs over the knot in the loop. Take a third piece of yarn and tie around the bunch, about 1/2 inch to an inch down from the top. Tie the top loop as close to the bunch as you can, and then cut the bottom off of the entire tassle with a pair of scissors. Voila! I made 4 of these, but an odd number would look great as well. I liked incorporating my accent colors in the tassles as well as in the triangle designs, and I like the variation of length of the tassles as well.
Once your paint is dry, remove the masking tape and hang the tassles on either side of the tapestry. Take the cotton string that we used for the weaving itself and tie a loop on one end of the dowel, outside of the tassles so that they stay on. Pretend that you are hanging the tapestry by this string, measuring how long it should be for it to hang the way you want. Once you have that measured, tie the other side of the string on the opposite end of the dowel, making sure the tassles are again inside of the loop so they don’t just slide off. Cut the excess strings and there you have it! A unique wall decoration to hang where you please and add a homemade touch to your dream home.
Good luck and happy weaving!