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Experiments in tablet weaving

I've been playing a bit more with tablet weaving. Here's a good "how to" description. Basic tablet weaving is not too hard to do. I am using a loom designed for tablet weaving. I selected this loom instead of others (such as inkle looms) for the ability to untwist the threads in the midst of weaving.

Here are some examples showing both sides of the band. This was done with yarn that's about half as thick as typical knitting yarn.


I created these designs with the help of some free tablet/card weaving software.

Here's a pattern I call "fishes."

The threading:

And the order of tablet turning, which once the pattern gets going is 4 Back 8 Forward until things get really twisted. Then 8 Back and 4 Forward.

I decided to move on to more advanced tablet weaving. The GTT software included some Anglo Saxon patterns that involve first turning all the odd numbered cards forward, do your pick (i.e. weave a thread across), then turn all the evens and do another pick. I managed to get the pattern to come out, but not without first making a number of mistakes.

This is how it should look:

However, it turns out that it is necessary to turn one of the cards with the other group, otherwise you end up with a loose selvage, like this.

This is not a pattern that looks right reversed. (I tried turning the cards backwards and it was interesting but not a reverse of the pattern as I expected.) So, when I would get a build up of twists I would have to release the back threads to untwist the yarns. Using the recommendations in one book, I kept my odd cards and even cards separated while weaving. Often when I release the warp to untwist the threads, warp yarn would become loose and end up between the wrong set of cards, resulting in errors in the pattern, such as this example.

This weave pattern results in a narrower and thicker band than would normally be created using the same amount of cards in a weave that involves turning every card with every pick. 

Finally, unlike when all cards are turned at once, if I made a mistake it was excruciating to try to figure out what I had done wrong and correct it. As a result at most I only had about 4 error-free inches at a time. (Partly because I would be watching TV or talking with family while I weave, and thus distracted.) If I were to try this pattern again I would no doubt do better as I have a better idea how problems are introduced, but it is not a pattern I look forward to weaving again. By comparison, it was relatively quick and easy to weave a couple of yards of the fish pattern. Based on this experience I would recommend using the old-fashioned belt and doorknob approach with the addition of fish swivels for an Anglo-Saxon type of pattern so that it is not necessary to untwist the threads as you go. Or maybe try using 8-hole cards! And avoid distractions, especially at first.



Blue Christian fishes

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February 2008