Tablet Weaving Techniques

In my previous post, I very briefly explained the history of tablet weaving. In today’s post, I will attempt to shed light on how tablet weaving works, and present some of the available techniques.

In regular weaving, we have two sets of threads going in two directions, up and down and side to side. These are called warp (up and down) and weft (left and right) threads.

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Illustration of warp and weft threads in regular tabby weave. Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weaving

Similarly, tablet weaving also utilizes warp and weft threads. The warping threads are set up during the set up phase, and you thread back and forth across the warp threads, between the shed, with your weft thread.

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Illustration of cards, and warp and weft threads in tablet weaving. Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weaving

Just as in harness looms, tablet weaving changes the color that is visible by turning the cards. These cards can have 2 to 8 threads threaded through each card, and by turning or flipping the cards, you also create twist.

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Twisting of cards. Copyright © 2003 Shelagh Lewins. (http://www.shelaghlewins.com/tablet_weaving/TW01/TW01.htm)

This accounts for the diagonal slants in tablet weaving, compared to horizontal and vertical lines in textiles weaving or inkle loom weaving. This also means that it is important to note how you thread the cards in the initial set up, and the two different threading methods are referred to as S threading, or Z threading.

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Threading of cards. Copyright © 2003 Shelagh Lewins. (http://www.shelaghlewins.com/tablet_weaving/TW01/TW01.htm)

Turning patterns for the cards can go from extremely simple Forwards 4, Backwards 4…to very complicated patterns where each card is turned or flipped a different direction in every turn. Some simple patterns include chevrons (or arrows) and diamonds…

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Chevron trim in wool that I wove for a friend.

…and Thor’s Hammers.

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Thor’s Hammer trim, woven by myself.

Another technique is referred to as Double-Face Weave, where two colors are used to create an inverted effect on either side of the belt or trim.

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Squire’s belt woven for a friend. Note the inverted red and white pattern.

Sometimes, you may only choose to thread 3 of the 4 holes on a regular weaving card, creating interesting swirling patterns.

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Woven by stolte. Image Source: https://stolte.wordpress.com/tag/tablet-weaving-experiment/

Another popular method of weaving is called pebble weave, and is frequently used to create a speckled look.

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Andean pebble weave. Image Source: http://www.weavolution.com/project/evelyn/andean-pebble-weave

As you can see, there is a lot that can achieved with tablet weaving. For beginners, I highly recommend Shelagh Laewins’ website; she has a very well written out section on “Getting Started”. I ended up borrowing some pictures from her website, because they were just so well-illustrated.

Yours in service,
Lady Mathilde Huldsdotter, AoA

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