On The Loom : A Modern Tapestry
by Fiber Artist Anita Meades and Michele Thymmons
Have you ever seen gorgeous weaving wall hangings and wondered the story behind them? Or wanted to purchase one of these gorgeous weaving designs but had no idea where to find one? Or perhaps you want to try your hand at creating your own? Keep reading for the story behind By Bella Designs, click below to find her weavings to include weaving wall hangings, available to purchase to hang as a beautiful art piece on your walls, and find resources for weaving loom kits and other equipment to make your own weavings. :)
2015 was the year I discovered the loom and instantly fell in love with weaving. I was heavily pregnant with my third child at the time and was actively searching for a new art form that would allow me to be creative from a comfortable seating position rather than hunched over my then beloved vintage harris sewing machine!
I remember reading an online article late one evening about the fiber artist Maryanne Moodie and I was totally transfixed by the images of woven art, the way texture, colour, and shape had created an extraordinary weaving design, an age old craft used and presented in such a refreshing and exciting way, one that I had never really taken note of previously. It was a moment of clarity for me, something clicked, I knew I had to explore this craft further and in fact I'm sure I asked my hubby (probably demanded!) to make me a weaving loom that very instant. I believe I had to wait about a day but a very simple loom was soon made from an off cut of MDF, a bunch of nails and hey presto!
I scoured the internet over the following months to find free resources to teach me the basics of weaving, for example what materials I would need, how to warp a loom, and the simplest weaving techniques suitable for a complete beginner. One resource that was of great help I found on youtube and it was a 5 weaving for beginners by Annabel Wrigley for Creative Bug. This mini series covered the making of a woven tapestry from start to finish including steps to build your own DIY weaving loom. Another useful site was The Weaving Loom - a modern weaver’s resource, a great catalogue of weaving techniques with free complimentary tutorials .
With a newborn and two very active children (aged 2 and 6 ) time to practice my new found hobby was limited but I would make use of every spare moment , even picking up my weaving loom in the middle of the night whilst nursing my youngest. Looking back I can't quite believe I actually did that but when the weaving bug gets you, it gets you!
It wasn't long before the importance of understanding fiber and the different types of yarn became as important as the weaving process itself. Knowing how a fiber would perform against another, the texture it offered, or the way it moved through the warp versa hanging as a decorative fringe. Great weaving design is one thing but if your execution is poor and the materials used inferior then the whole tapestry loses its appeal and quality. Only experimentation gained through handling different fibers can increase your knowledge in this area. Yes I've purchased plenty of yarn that has never made it into a tapestry simple because I’ve found it not to behave the way I like nor give the finish I want. This desire to find just the right yarn is still as important as it's ever been, just as the desire to discover and learn new weaving techniques and include those into my designs.
In early 2016 I made the decision (quite tentatively) to test the water and see if I could indeed sell any of my new creations and the immediate response was very positive, quite unexpected.
My first tapestry sold within 2 weeks of listing and I was beyond excited! Someone actually choose to buy my weaving art for their home. This first sale gave me a boost of confidence so I added a few more ready made tapestries to my Etsy store and within a few days those tapestries sold also. I quickly realized that there was a demand for my work and my weaving designs were of interest to many. I received lots of email requests asking for remakes of tapestries that I had previously sold and it wasn't long before inquiries asking after tapestries 3ft wide and 4ft wide were filling my inbox.
To someone still classing themselves as a novice this was rather overwhelming, the speed my now little artisan business was growing was both exciting but also daunting.
In the beginning, I did turn down a number of opportunities in the form of 4ft commissions, wholesale offers and even the chance to sell one of my weaving designs to a manufacturer for mass production. None of these were easy decisions to make but I realized early on that this little business was my own and which I wanted to make fit around myself and my family. That’s how its started out and that's still the case today, Weaving in the evenings is the norm whilst admin, ordering , packing, and promotion has to fit in during the day, and up till recently generally squeezed in during nap time (a familiar story to many I’m sure).
Selling on Etsy does offer International exposure and they have been supportive from early on, featuring my products in their lookbook and also at press events.
Instagram and other social media platforms are indeed powerful tools for self promotion but also to make connections and friendships with fellow makers.
I admit I have been fortunate, I think I arrived on the scene at the point in which fiber art was experiencing a renaissance with tapestries and macrame showcased as a must interior accessory. Having my own work recently featured in Grazia and Allegory Ridge magazine cemented the International buzz surrounding fiber art at present. However only hard work can keep you moving forward, it’s a busy weaving space other there, so be unique and most importantly be you.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I (Michele) will make a commission at no extra cost to you, should you click through and make a purchase.
Everyone learns and grows using different resources and different methods. As such I have included below a list of places to purchase weaving equipment worldwide. Some sites are not focused only on weaving but have equipment for other maker skills as well such as crochet, yarn dyeing, knitting, spinning, felting, and more. To learn more about weaving tools and supplies you should have for weaving, check out A Pretty Fix’s article: 8 Weaving Tools and Supplies Every Weaver Should Own to include weaving looms, shuttles, and more.
The Woolery has all types of yarn/fiber arts supplies. They have weaving looms, accessories, spinning wheels, fibers, spindles, and so much more! If you’re unsure of what you want to create, they also have more information on weaving loom selection and also provide a way to contact them so they may assist you in finding what you need.
George Weil has all types of weaving looms, tapestry frames (I have always wanted to learn to create a tapestry like those in the old Medieval Castles), fibers, shuttles, and more. Their weaving looms range from beginner weaving looms to huge floor weaving looms and everything in between. But they also have equipment for acrylic painting, calligraphy, drawing, dyeing, fabric painting, felting, gilding, glass painting, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, model making, oil painting, paper crafts, printing, screen printing, silk painting, silk paper making, spinning, and watercolor painting.
Handweavers in the UK has all types of weaving equipment as well as classes, fibers, books, magazines, and more. Some of their classes are more of the weaving techniques or weaving designs while others are for spinning, dyeing, tapestry weaving and more. You can also get a diploma from them on weaving :)
Halcyon Yarn in Maine carries a variety of floor, small, and table looms, as well as many other weaving equipment, yarns, fibers and more. Halcyon has something for every yarn based craft to include Kumihimo (a Japanese braiding art), crochet, tatting, felting, rug making, spinning, dyeing and more. They have a standard U.S. shipping ($7.95) and also Guild Rewards If your guild (weaving guild, yarn guild, etc) is a member of their rewards program the guild gets 5% back of every purchase made by guild members at the end of the year. Any guild can become a member if they go through the process and are approved.
Camilla Valley Farm has a number of weaving looms and fibers in a multitude of colors and thickness. They also have available the ability to customize your handloom with over a dozen options.
Gavglimakra in Sweden has multiple offices worldwide and a variety of equipment and accessories available. Their USA office allows US buyers to purchase Swedish looms, weaving equipment, and yarns without having to pay the overseas shipping costs.
Adelaide Walker in the UK has a variety of Ashford knitter looms, rigid heddle looms, pick up sticks, stick shuttles, reeds, and varident reeds.
The Weaving Works mostly carries weaving equipment, tools, and parts from Ashford, Glimakra, Harrisville, Leclerc, and Schacht. They also have a variety of traditional weaving yarns specifically from Maysville, Maurice Brassard, Harrisville and others.
Etsy has a number of shops that have weaving looms, equipment and even entire kits for you. The shops below are some of the ones that specialize in weaving loom kits and equipment.
WoolCoutureCompany in the UK, is an amazing DIY weaving, giant knitting blanket, Macrame and crochet Etsy Shop . Absolutely gorgeous pattern kits for weaving, knitting, crochet and much more! Weaving kits feature square and round looms. :)
craftboutiquenyc in New York, is an Etsy Shop that specializes in weaving looms and knitting. They have a gorgeous array of weaving loom kits and weaving supplies.
MysewingboxUK in the UK, has a number of weaving loom kits and individual weaving looms available for beginners and more in their Etsy Shop .
KalikoCo in Germany, is an Etsy Shop that creates gorgeous weaving loom kits (loving their yarn) and indiviual weaving looms as well.
Handiworkyourlove in Ukraine, is an Etsy Shop specializing in DIY weaving using all types of yarns sizes.
SilkDivine in Canada, has Sari Silk ribbons, weaving looms of all shapes and sizes, and weaving yarn. Beautiful Sari Silk ribbons can be found of a variety of vibrant colors in this Etsy Shop .
oneoftheflock in Missouri, is an Etsy Shop all about wool and wool crafts. They have wool felting, wool weaving loom kits and wool weaving yarn.
EndeavourToys in Colorado, creates weaving looms, easels, DIY doll houses, and other craft supplies in their Etsy Shop .
funemstudio is out of Belgium and has created an amazing Etsy Shop full of weaving supplies to include weaving loom kits of all sizes. They carry an abundant of colors and weights of roving and other weaving yarns as well.
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CandyandIke is an Etsy Shop in Utah all about weaving wall hangings. They carry lap weaving looms and weaving kits for all different sizes and weaving yarn as well as a variety of their own weaving art you can hang on your wall.
CosyJungle is a small Etsy Shop in France that has a number of beginner weaving kits as well as weaving wall hangings and woven key doors which are small woven beauties.
MegoWorkshop in Australia, is a vegan friendly, fiber arts Etsy Shop that has complete weaving loom kits as well as weaving looms, yarns, and punch needle starter kits.
wildwoven in the UK, has weaving kits and weaving supplies as well as weaving wall hangings in their Etsy Shop . Their shop includes woven pompoms and several yarns sizes to create different weaving designs and use in a variety of weaving techniques.
Thank you for joining us for this Maker Feature about weaving! If there are other weaving loom or weaving supplies recommendations I should add please let me know by commenting below or sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d also love to hear from you about what types of resources you want more information on as well as Makers you would like to nominate for a Maker Feature! Please email (email@example.com) or leave a comment on this article! Looking forward to hearing from you and have a great day!