Intro to Tapestry Class: Triangles and Random Geometrics

Moving right along in the Introduction to Tapestry class on CraftArtEdu, we’re ready to give triangles and random geometric patterns a try.


We started here with another row of black soumak knots to separate sections. This version is called doubled soumak, because you go over three warps (rather than two), and then back under two.

I used a tapestry bobbin for this, maneuvering it like a big needle.


After one final row of black weft, it was time to start the triangles. Following the general tapestry weaving rule, you need to build up the shapes that decrease in size before filling in the shapes that increase in size. (We’ll see what appears to be an exception to this rule in my next post.) That means we begin with the right-side-up triangles, then go back and make the upside down triangles that fill in the spaces.

Once again, we start by using yarn markers to mark where the bottom triangles will begin and end. But this time we wrap the markers around pairs of warps rather than just placing them between warps. The next step is to lay in the colors, all going in the same direction.


At this point you’ll hear Claudia say:

“Insert the green weft on the left of the left tail of the left weft marker, and weave it to the left selvedge.

Insert the purple weft heading from the right of the weft marker to the right tail of the first weft marker.

The right green weft starts at the right selvedge and ends at the right tail of the weft marker.”

What this means is that you don’t weave over either of the two sets of warps that you have marked off. You weave between the markers, not within them.

Next, we weave two full passes of each color before starting to decrease at the sides to form the triangles. Eventually, you’ll have three completed triangles.

I should mention here that the green triangles are actually half equilateral triangles; I originally made my first one as a complete triangle, which was incorrect.  Here’s my correct one.


Because I’m using a treadle, I found it easier to make each triangle individually, rather than building them all up at the same time.



In retrospect, my triangles look taller than Claudia’s, and so I may have made a mistake in sizing them. (So don’t panic if yours look smaller; as long as they’re even and relatively smooth on the edges, you should be OK.)

When you begin filling in the black, upside down triangles, you need to start the black wefts in the opposite direction that you started the green and purple wefts. Then just start filling in the negative spaces between triangles, gradually moving outward on the warps.


It was helpful here to remove the black marker yarns so I could better see what I was doing.
A quick note: In addition to starting in the opposite direction with these warps, you should make sure that you’re in the correct shed. This requires checking the pattern of hills and valleys in the first row of green and purple, and making sure you continue that pattern with the black.

By the way, I think I finally figured out what I was having trouble with when I was making the increases in the chevrons section. The key is to remember that the weft goes on in a zig-zag stair step, and that each warp needs to ultimately have two wefts wrapped around it before the next increase is made.


Random Geometric Patterns

Next up are random geometrics using five colors of weft. They need to go in opposite directions, and — because they’re random — we don’t need to use weft markers.


The next photo shows these colors after four completed passes. Notice that the wefts are still (correctly) going in opposite directions (hurray!). If they weren’t, that would probably mean that I was off by a pass somewhere; either one too many or one too few.


Now I began creating the random shapes. You do this by bringing the wefts over into the adjacent colors’ areas. It looks like I forgot to photograph this part in progress.

I took the next photo to show you a mistake I made, in case you run into the same trouble. It happened after I’d added a blue square of color on the right hand side of my weaving. Even though I had started the blue yarn in the opposite direction of the adjacent gold yarn, I still ended up in the wrong shed at the top. When I pulled up and separated the blue thread, I could see the problem. I had begun in the wrong shed. Take a look at the very first row of blue below.


The remedy was to unweave all of the blue and start again, this time with the correct shed open on the loom.


Finally, another small section of the tapestry completed!


We capped this section with another row of soumak knots. At this point I discovered that I’d run completely out of black yarn, possibly because my weaving is a little wider than it was supposed to be, or because I made my triangles too tall. So I grabbed a double strand of Orchidea wool yarn that I had on hand and substituted it in.

Next time, we’ll make the very last large section of the sampler, using freeform weaving and making a circle.

Chris Franchetti Michaels is a bestselling craft book author and designer. Visit her blog at


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