The best holiday gifts are of time and love. The older I get, the more I believe it. Many of us still like to express our love with a thoughtful gift and if you need a present for someone dear (or for yourself) who is a tapestry weaver, here are my best ideas this year.*
Jim Hokett has retired. What? You didn’t know? I’m sorry to break it to you. But everyone eventually needs to stop working and Jim did his time doing something he loved tremendously in what was a second or third career. So where is one to get a little loom now?
There are so many loom options out there now, many made by small businesses with woodworkers who love what they do. Here are a few of the looms I’ve used. If you have other ideas, put them in the comments! I have some information about looms on my blog. Find FAQ and links HERE. Often people want small looms for Christmas presents and I offer a few ideas below. Just remember that the very best tapestry looms provide tension and a way to use various setts. For this reason I like looms like a home-made pipe loom or a Mirrix (which is a fancy pipe loom with a shedding device).
If you’re looking for a more substantial loom, take a look at this FAQ page.
If you want good tension, a shedding device, and the ability to weave at different setts, this loom may be for you. It is a very fancy pipe loom that provides more tension than you could ever need and comes in a huge array of sizes. Want something tiny and very portable? Get the Lani. Want something to weave larger tapestries on? Try the bigger looms. These looms are appropriate for all of my online classes, so if you’re looking at those, consider asking Santa for a Mirrix. (Hint: their 16 inch loom is their best seller for a reason.) https://www.mirrixlooms.com/
Purl and Loop
This woman-owned company makes wonderful little laser cut looms. I will be the first to admit that I do not like the solid back for tapestry. It really gets in the way of manipulating the wefts. But they say they are working on a backless one, so watch for it! In the meantime, one of these little looms is great for simple weaving. (HA! While I wasn’t looking they came out with that loom. See it HERE.) You can listen to a great podcast with the owner of the company at the GIST yarn podcast HERE.
Schacht Spindle Company
Schacht has a couple small looms that work like Hokett looms for tapestry. Their newest loom is the Easel Weaver.** This little loom comes in three sizes and has plastic pegs at about 6 epi. It is sturdy and portable. The other small loom they make with those same pegs is the Lilli Loom. It is slightly larger. Look at your local retailer to purchase.
Schacht also makes superb spinning equipment, so if you need a spinning wheel, my Ladybug is perfect for me… though a cherry Matchless would really be something. And of course they make multi-harness looms of all sizes.
Other great options (more information in my FAQ pages):
Magpie Woodworks Maggie Forks
I have loved the tapestry forks made by Magpie Woodworks for a decade now. The metal teeth work well and the superb woodworking feels great in my hands. I have a collection of all sizes—the ones they make now and ones they’ve made in the past. The little size fork is perfect for small loom weaving. The medium size is what I use for everything else except the tiniest work when I get out my mini. Magpie also makes wooden jigs for the Fringeless online class in case you need one!
Santa may not be able to get these to you in time this year, but it is worth the wait. Milissa Ellison Dewey makes the most lovely tapestry bobbins. I love her Skinny Minnie’s with metal tips for my small format four selvedge weaving. Find her at Bobbin Boy. I did a blog post about bobbins HERE which includes photos of Milissa’s work.
I’ve also gotten beautiful artful bobbins from Alexandra Iosub on Etsy.
What about a magazine subscription? Here are some of my favorites
A membership to your country’s tapestry organization and if your country doesn’t have one, consider the first one on the list.
I love yarn more than anything. There are so many options, so jump into a class and start asking questions about which yarns might be best for you. This blog post can get you started. What makes a good tapestry yarn?
I believe online education is a fantastic way to learn the basics of tapestry weaving, have constant support from a knowledgeable instructor (or two), and provide you the time to work through the learning without being rushed. Workshops are great, but they cost more for far less education. Get an overview on my website here: https://rebeccamezoff.com/online-learning/
These are the classes I’m currently offering.
Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry: a comprehensive tapestry techniques class
Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms: an introduction to tapestry weaving on small looms
Fringeless: Four Selvedge Warping with Sarah C Swett: learn how to make tapestries with no hems or fringe and get some great tapestry tips from both Sarah and Rebecca. Get an idea about this course from our recent free webinar HERE.
Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry: a deeper dive into techniques and how to manage color in tapestry. Recommended following Warp and Weft
I’ve read lots of books this year, but here are a few that would make some great choices for the holidays. Buy them through your local independent bookseller whenever possible.
Spider Woman’s Children by Linda Teller Pete and Barbara Teller Ornelas. Published by Thrums, photography by Joe Coca. Review on my blog HERE.
Hidden Tapestry: Jan Yoors, his two wives, and the war that made them one by Debra Dean. Review HERE.
Silk Weavers of Hill Tribe Laos: Textiles, Tradition, and Well-Being by Joshua Hirschstein and Maren Beck with photographs by Joe Coca. Also a Thrums book. Review HERE.
And one that I am about halfway through but feel confident in recommending if you’re interested in the history of tapestry. From Tapestry to Fiber Art: The Lausanne Biennials 1962-1995.
And last but certainly not least, a tapestry
Buying art is always a good investment. Who are your favorite tapestry artists? You could start by looking at the artist pages of the American Tapestry Alliance for ideas. And I always have a few for sale HERE.
Honestly, I know that unless your family or friend is also a weaver, they are not going to be reading this blog… so really this is for you. Let us know what your favorite tools are in the comments, and if you want to tell us what special weaving thing is coming your way this season, we’d love to offer our congratulations.
*Please note that I’m not affiliated with any of these companies though occasionally they will send me new products to try out.
**While I don’t think the easel feature is functional for actually weaving since it is not stable, if you want to prop your in-progress weaving up on the bookshelf and admire it between weaving sessions, it works great!