What is a Tapestry?

A tapestry is an ancient form of textile art that was originally produced by hand-weaving to create different images. Finished pieces would be used as wall hangings made out of wool, cotton or silk. It was seen as the grandest and most expensive way to create figurative images but in the 16th century people started to explore other ways to create more affordable tapestries using stitching rather than weaving. This is when the meaning of tapestry started to get a double meaning but ultimately the finished product is a piece of textile art.

Today, tapestries are still produced using weaving and stitching. Tapestries in the form of stitching are made with a needle and thread onto an open weave fabric called interlock canvas, and tapestry wool or cotton. A single type of stitch such as cross stitch, tent stitch or basket weave stitch are used to cover the entire design making a sturdy piece of fabric perfect for finishing into cushions or wall hangings.

 

 

What is the difference between Tapestry and Needlepoint?

If things weren’t confusing enough, there is also the term needlepoint. Needlepoint and tapestry are very similar. They use the same open weave base fabric but use different stitching techniques to finish the design. Needlepoint is more decorative and can use a variety of stitches and a wider range of threads in one design to create texture and surface interest. 

Is tapestry different to cross stitch?

Traditional cross stitch projects are smaller scale pieces using a finer, even weave fabric and finer yarns. The finished designs are a lot smaller and don’t cover the entire fabric but the stitching technique is the same as you would use if you were using cross stitch to make a tapestry.

Is it difficult to make a tapestry?

Once you have learnt the stitching technique it’s so easy! The actions become repetitive which make it a very meditative  and relaxing craft. 

How long will it take?

Nobody knows! It depends how often you do it and how much you do at any one time. You might dip in and out of it and just do it once a week. It really doesn’t matter how long it takes because it’s about enjoying the process. It could take 2 months or 2 years, there's no rush. The investment is making time for yourself and doing something you enjoy.