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Weaving Basic Shapes in Tapestry

The meet-and-separate technique is just one beginner-friendly way to weave shapes in tapestry. Learn the basics from Tommye McClure Scanlin.

Tommye McClure Scanlin Feb 14, 2023 - 12 min read

Weaving Basic Shapes in Tapestry Primary Image

Tommye wove these samplers that use the meet-and-separate technique. While you are still learning the method, you might find it helpful to practice by weaving squares and rectangles rather than complex shapes. Photo credit: Tommye McClure Scanlin

Featured in Easy Weaving with Little Loom's Summer 2022, Tommye McClure Scanlin's first installment of her Tapestry Talk series covers the meet-and-separate technique, an easy and fun way to weave shapes in tapestry. Current Easy Weaving with Little Looms subscribers can log in below to access this full article by Tommye, including step-by-step photos for meet and separate.

We usually think of handwoven tapestry as weft-faced plain weave and a fabric in which wefts don’t necessarily travel from selvedge to selvedge. In fact, there are often multiple wefts running in each row or pick of a tapestry.

Let’s look at the vocabulary that describes handwoven tapestry, starting with the structure. As mentioned, it’s usually plain weave with each row of weft woven in an over-one/under-one alternation of warp ends. Tapestry is also typically weft-faced, meaning the weft completely covers and hides the warp ends. As with other weaving, the weft insertion into a selected shed (the opening created when some warp ends are raised or lowered) is called a pick. When two picks are used in alternate sheds, the plain-weave structure is formed. These are the basic components that create the many results possible in handwoven tapestry. Although the fabric structure is simple, there are myriad ways in which multiple discontinuous wefts can be woven within it. I’ll describe one of those methods here: meet and separate. In this method, multiple wefts in the same shed don’t overlap one another.

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Tommye McClure Scanlin is an accomplished tapestry artist, teacher, and the author of Tapestry Design Basics and Beyond. You can see more of her work at