Starting and Ending A Tapestry

Having an aversion to fringes, I was at a bit of a loss about starting and ending a tapestry so the wefts would be secure after the tapestry was cut down.

Sure, I’d read about looping and such, but something Marilyn Rea-Menzies taught me have been extremely effective and weft-slippage is something I no longer worry about.

The first line of the hem consists of a double Greek soumak knot on each warp thread. Here’s an example of what I mean.
Knot 1:
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Knot 2:
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Here’s how you start it.

1. Pass the tail end of the weft thread under the first warp on the left side.
2. Pass the bobbin or tapestry needle under the same thread. Leave a loop.
3. Pass the bobbin/needle back through the loop and pull, keeping a finger on the knot to hold it tight.
4. Pass the weft around the thumb of your left hand to get it out of the way, then pass the bobbin/needle over and under the first warp and pull tightly to the right. Use your finger to help keep things tight.
5. Pass the weft over the next warp, then under, come up to the left of it, and pull right
6. On the same warp, pass the weft over, under to the left, and pull it out into the loop caused thereby, and tighten.
7. Go on to the third warp and continue this way until you reach the final warp on the right.

In between knots on each warp, make sure the weft is held taut. Also, make sure each knot is pulled tight. When you have finished a line of these double Greek soumak knots across the warps, you will have a secure baseline for your tapestry. In fact, to ensure your line is straight, insert a thin 1″ cardboard weft against which to hold the Greek soumak knots.

That line of double Greek soumak knots on each warp is how I start and finish a tapestry to secure the the weft at the beginning, before the hem is woven, and at the end, after the hem is done.

Finally, I start and end as follows:

1. A tight line of double Greek soumak knots on each warp to prevent weft slippage.
2. Weave .5” to 1” of hem. The bigger the tapestry, the closer the hem size comes to the 1” mark.
3. Weave two rows of continuous Greek soumak knots to mark the end of the hem and the beginning of the tapestry.

These two rows of soumak are different from the double Greek knots because there’s only one knot be warp going up and down.

The finished row should look like this: (<;<;<;;>;>;>;), depending on which side you begin.
4. The order of ending simply reverses the process: tapestry, soumak, hem, double Greek soumak knots.