On the Weaving of Images
Handloom weaving is the name given to the creation of tapestries at the loom.
It is reserved for hand weaving only.
The principle of tapestry weaving is to ensure that wefts (weaving yarns) of a particular colour are only inserted between the spanned warp yarns in those places where, according to the design, the corresponding patch of colour should appear.
On an upright loom, the warp yarn is spanned vertically, sometimes sloping slightly towards the back. In the plain weave, half of the warp yarns - which are drawn into two shafts and moved using two treadles - are raised alternately, so that the weaver has both hands free to insert the weft material as required by the design. The batten and reed comb (the comb) is flexibly mounted at two points on the rear of the loom frame.
Just as with knotting techniques, there is vast scope for detail work in weaving - with countless colours and myriad materials. The patterning is created by weaving in coloured wefts using small balls of yarn freehand, following a drawing (on card) mounted behind the warp yarn. One difficulty in weaving tapestries lies in the separation of two patches of colour, where these run in the direction of the warp, as this means that two neighbouring warp yarns remain unbound and will thus result in slits in the fabric. These slits either remain open or, if they are too long, must be stitched shut.
Creating a tapestry demands a great deal of imagination and fantasy from the weaver, as only around 40cm of the woven article is visible on the loom at any one time; the rest has been taken up onto the cloth roll.