Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tapestry Looms: What do you use?

I get many inquiries about tapestry looms. I usually reply that I actually weave very little on "tapestry looms" and instead use a floor loom for my weaving. So I feel like I am not the person to make recommendations for large tapestry looms. So help me out! I would love to hear from all of you about which tapestry looms you use.

I have one large high warp tapestry loom that used to be my grandmothers. It is this Leclerc and it doesn't have a shedding mechanism (I learned to make leashes from the Archie Brennan-Susan Martin Maffei videos. Great videos by the way!).
I have only woven one piece on it, Cherry Lake. Since the piece is 8 x 13 inches, you might wonder why I used a 60 inch loom instead of my Mirrix. The answer is that the loom was there and warped and since the wedding tapestry became THIS, I had the warp ready to weave something else... (and I was weaving Imagine on my Mirrix.)
So the only true tapestry loom that I feel really qualified to recommend is the Mirrix.
I use them for teaching workshops and for doing the samplers I make to demonstrate while filming for my online workshops. And now I rent them to students when they come to my studio to take a workshop.

I have written before HERE about my Harrisville rug loom which is my preferred loom for weaving tapestry. If you want to know my opinion about the use of floor looms for weaving tapestry, I'm certainly up to that!

What I am really interested in knowing from all of you is, what high warp tapestry looms do you use and why?

Leave a comment below. And leave me some contact information or email me HERE. I'd love to post photos of all of your looms in a follow-up blog post. (I promise I'll email you... I just don't want to type my email address here for all the spam-bots to find. If you already have it--like if you get my newsletter--email me those photos!) Thanks tapestry lovers!


  1. Hi Rebecca,
    I use several different looms including floor looms but for vertical tapestry looms I have the Cantilever Loom from Fireside Looms and the large Ashford tapestry loom. For smaller looms I've built 2 Archie Brennan Copper Looms and I too have a Mirrix. My Fireside Loom is wonderful with a worm gear which I also have on my big Varpapuu floor loom. I think the worm gear is great for tapestry but you already know that with your wonderful loom. The large Ashford surprised me. I got it for a steal used and I have to say it is a great loom. I love the circular warping feature it has and it holds very good tension with the tension screws. I also enjoy using leashes more than I thought I would. I did put a Mirrix spring set on top of the loom for warp spacing which has worked out well. For me the Fireside Loom is outstanding it has all the features you could want in a high warp loom. The Ashford requires leashes but for the price it is a very good loom. The fact that you can adjust the angle of your weaving on that loom is a great feature for comfort when weaving. Next on my list is a 48" Black Pipe Loom following Archie Brennan's Plans with some alterations that I want to make to it. I've purchased the parts now I'm just waiting for Spring so I can put it together and paint it outside. I'll be posting some pics of the loom build on my blog when it takes place.
    I enjoy your blog.
    Happy Weaving

  2. I have a 45" leclerc Tissart from the 1960's. I love it! I have woven on frame looms before but didn't like the limitations for tension, and warp spacing not to mention shed changing. I wove for 15 years on a floor loom. I tried to use it for tapestry but it hurts my back, and I couldn't see very much of my piece at a time. Warping the Tissart is a breeze as it stands just at my height and i'm so used to warping the horizontal loom but this way, gravity is my friend!

  3. I use an upright Shannock, which has the only fault in it 'fixed' by my husband building me a reed holder for it. Love it, and I also enjoy using my Mirrix for small pieces and samplers.

  4. Hi - I use an upright Glimakra Tapestry Loom (no longer manufactured) which they no longer make but Joanne Hall, of Glimakra USA, has been really helpful in providing a copy of the original instructions.Things I like about it are the tensioning, the angle at which I weave and the fact that it has a relatively small 'footprint'. Things I struggle with are how to use the knobs at the top effectively in a small tapestry, setting up leashes and getting an even tension on the warps when using the warp beam. I have sent you a photo separately.

  5. I use my Mirrix Zach or Big Sister loom. I love the tensioning device. I have a small house, so the small foot print works well.

  6. I am new to tapestry weaving. I started with a Mirrix Big Sister, and have since acquired a Hokett hand loom and a Mirrix Lani. I love the simplicity of warping all three.

  7. I have an 80" Glimakra Tapestry loom that I have no idea how to warp and got it in trade for a Mighty Wolf I didn't use. I just could not resist the opportunity. It looks great in the dining room though! I do my weaving on the Nilus II 45" because my tapestry work is in rug form and I'm used to horizontal surface weaving. My guess is someday I'll "re home" the Glimakra and keep chugging along on the Nilus. I love the Nilus.

  8. Trish at Tangled ThreadsMarch 9, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Hi Rebecca and others. I have one of the 24" Shannock looms that Susan Gangsei was selling. I also have a 19" custom made loom that has the same construction style as the Mirrix. These are the two I use most often. I also have a 60" Leclerc Tissart (purchased used, of course) but have only used it for two small pieces so far. It is way too much loom for me right now. I don't like the cog wheel for the brake and tension and plan to modify it by changing it to a worm gear if I decide to weave something else on it again. I have space for it in my studio and do not plan to get rid of it as of the present, even though I am not using it. I used to often do an overnight for work so purchased a Mirrix Little Guy that I carried in my overnight bag and wove a number of small projects on it. As I am no longer doing the overnights, I have not used it in a year or so.

  9. Can someone recommend a tutorial for weaving on a floor loom? I have used my floor loom for towels, shawls, etc but am unsure how to warp for a wall hanging. Thanks!

    1. If you want to weave tapestry, I address this in my Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry course. If you want to weave other things, this site is about tapestry weaving! There are literally TONS of people who teach floor loom weaving. Try Liz Gipson, anyone at Handwoven, Robyn Spady... just google weaving!


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