Lifestyle

How to Weave a Dreamy Wall Hanging for your Home

Image: The Woolmark Company / Liz Ham

Inspired by The Woolmark Company's #thedreamweavingproject, our head of sustainable fashion and textiles Charlotte Turner goes over the basics of creating a woven wall hanging for your home with her three favourite techniques from their complete guide. 

 

Tapestry weaving is everywhere at the moment and a perfect activity to do at home – mindful and soothing, with the added bonus of creating something beautiful for the walls. It is also the perfect opportunity to use up any wool leftovers from knitting projects as well as scrap fabric strips you have lying around, making it a very resourceful weekend project too.

The design of a wall weaving (or tapestry to be precise) can be as structured or organic as you like, as long as it follows one fundamental rule – it should have a warp and a weft. The warp is a strong non-stretching yarn that runs up and down without moving, whilst the weft is woven through from left to right (and back again) and can be made from an infinite number of materials, meaning the possibilities for colour and texture are endless. You can weave it through in straight lines, or create different shapes and textures using different weaving and stitch techniques. 

Images: The Woolmark Company / Liz Ham

For a whole world of inspiration for weaving your own wall tapestry, The Dreamweaving Project makes for essential viewing. Created by The Woolmark Company with Australian artist Natalie Miller, it offers videos and step-by-step instructions for a whole host of different techniques.

I chose three key styles from the ones shared by Natalie to create a mini ‘series’ of two wall hangings, each with exactly the same materials but different ways of weaving. The following simple steps outline how to go about getting started on one of your own, using the three techniques I chose; once you have perfected these, head over to #thedreamweavingproject tapestry weaving guide to learn some more! 

 

Image: The Woolmark Company / Liz Ham

 

Step One: Gather your tools

Loom – you can use a pre-made wooden loom which are available in a multitude of sizes, or you can easily make your own using cardboard you likely have at home – there are many tutorials online. I found a vintage loom in a charity shop complete with a started project, so to be resourceful I removed the existing weft but reused the warp yarn.

Weaving shuttle – not essential but this is a tool that can be used to easily pass your weft yarn through the warp – but if you don’t have one you can use a large needle or your fingers.

Weaving comb – not essential but this can help to ‘beat down’ the weft yarn to create a tighter weave.

Large needle – to sew in the loose ends of your warp after it is cut off the loom.

Scissors

Images: The vintage charity shop loom with existing project / My own tapestry using the rya knot, tabby weave, and soumak knot techniques

Step Two: Gather your materials

Warp – you can use a strong cotton tapestry warp thread, twine, or any strong non-stretching yarn. You only need one type of warp yarn.

Weft – the world is your oyster and you can use almost anything you want here from wool yarn (this is a perfect opportunity to use those knitting leftovers), to wool roving (which creates the ‘cloud effect’), ribbon or fabric strips. Because of the nature of weaving, you can use short pieces and just weave in the ends. The examples here have been made with wool yarn which creates a beautiful soft texture.

Step Three: Warp the loom 

Step Four: Create a row of ‘half hitch knots’ at the base to hold everything secure

Images: Using the same materials but different techniques can create a complimentary ‘series’ of wall hangings 

Step Five: Add tassles if you would like these at the base

These are called ‘Rya knots’ and you can make them as long or short as you want.

Step Six: Start weaving!

A few fun techniques are outlined below and you can find photos and instructions for on The Dreamweaving Project's guide to making a tapestry.

  • ‘Tabby weaving’ is the most basic weaving technique which is a simple over-under method to pass the weft yarn from side to side. You can go the whole way across or use this technique to create different shapes and patterns.
  • ‘Soumak knots’ create a wave-like effect, and if you pass two rows in opposite directions you’ll get a braid effect. 
  • ‘Cut pile carpet effect’ can be achieved by making mini rya knots then cutting close to the base.

Images: The Woolmark Company / Liz Ham

Step Seven: Finish your wall hanging

A row of double half hitch knots will hold your weaving secure so you can cut your weaving off the loom. There are a few ways to do this – you can cut the top warp loops then the bottom ones, weaving in the bottom ones and using the top to tie your hanging to a rod or stick. Alternatively, you can cut and weave in the bottom loops, but keep the top loops whole and run a rod or stick through for hanging.

Step Eight: Hang up and admire! 

 

Read Charlotte Turner's thought piece about the mental health benefits of making

Learn how to care for your woollen clothing

Spend a day in the life of a Tazmanian wool grower.

How to Weave a Dreamy Wall Hanging for your Home