Tablet Weaving Tips & Tricks – Part 1

Through the short years, I’ve been tablet weaving I’ve learned a lot of little things that would have made life earlier from the start had I known these things. This will be a multi-part series. As I gather a whole new slew of tips and tricks, I’ll add another posting in the series.

Warping

– Each book, each site, each weaver, has different ideas on how the S and Z are supposed to be set up. It’s mostly trial, error, and intuition.
– No matter how long you’ve been weaving, you will continue to mess up S and Z.
– If the pattern you’ve warped for is not appearing, look at the back, the majority of the time it’s hiding back there.
– One thing most books, sites, or people will tell you is even if you warp your cards with A and B on top, many patterns come to fruition only if you start weaving with D and A on top. If things are not working out, and the pattern isn’t hiding on the back, try altering where you start your turning cycle.
– When warping an inkle-style loom, make sure the tension peg isn’t all the way to the end. After warping the loom, pull the tension bar to make sure it’s exactly the tension you want. If you don’t give yourself space to tighten, you will struggle to start weaving.

Fibers

– When starting out on your tablet weaving path, always choose the easiest thread/yarn to work with.
– The thread really should have some stretch to it when tablet weaving. That way it can be stretched to a tension that works best for each weaver.
– The thread should also be rather slippery so that if a mistake is made, it’s easier to unweave what has already been done.
– Crochet cotton is stretchy, slippery, has some good colors, and is not expensive. It’s the best thread to start with.
– If available, bamboo can be wonderful to weave with and can be found with the crochet cotton in some locations, but it has a lot more stretch so the tension post should be moved accordingly.

Avoid weaving with
– DMC (embroidery floss) as it doesn’t stretch at all.
– Linen that’s not blended with something else, again, it doesn’t stretch at all.
– Wool as it’s sticky and can sometimes be impossible to unweave.

Wool
– Wool can turn into a sticky mess if unprepared for the sticky properties it possesses.
– Warping your loom with wool that has an S-twist (the actual wool, not the direction through the cards, or the angle of the cards), then the weft should be Z-twist, or vice/versa.
– To avoid struggling the weft through the warp, weave with cotton, silk, or bamboo. It makes it easier to unweave if both directions are not wool.
– If you must weave with wool and it’s sticking together and causing issues, spraying it with either leave-in conditioner or powdered milk reconstituted with water (milk from the fridge won’t work).

Those are some of the best tips and tricks that I’ve learned, though I am sure I’ll come up with many more as I continue to learn and grow as a weaver.

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6 Hole Threaded In Tablet Weaving!

I purchased a tablet weaving book that had been on my short list since I started weaving. (Tablet Weaving Magic: Patterns from Oriental Countries and 25 Patterns in Plain Tablet Weave) I was making an Amazon order and added it on a whim. As it was from out of the country it took well over a month to get here, so I’d almost forgotten that I was expecting it in the mail. When it appeared I was so thrilled with the double face patterns that I was in awe looking through the book. So much greatness, and when I found that at the end there were a bunch of threaded-in patterns back there, and a number of them were for six holed cards.

Now, I have had some very thin six holed cards for almost a year, but hadn’t really seen any patterns or anything that made me feel the need to use them. The patterns in the back of this book did just that! I got the cards (which are basically quilters template paper that Aloysius [mundanely known as Stacy] used the paper drill to make holes in for me, so they’re barely thicker than printer paper, not as thick as oak tag) out and warped Loomer according to how I thought this author was referring to S and Z. For the first time in a long time, I was right. (Can’t say the same about the band I just warped on Walter, which I had to flip completely on the loom, and the most recent band on Betty).

I took Loomer to Crown Tourney (Nov. 2016) but forgot the book with the pattern. I knew I was supposed to turn about 13 times, but I wasn’t sure it was 13 times, and my hands were quite frozen, so I really didn’t do more than a couple turns that day. But when I got home and warmed up, I went to town and learned just how much fun it was to develop a longer pattern in a simple full pack turn pattern. I think it was thirteen turns in each direction, and the pattern jumped right out and proved that six holed cards are a great thing. I’m so excited to try other six-hole patterns, and then start designing my own. Now I have to figure out how to create threaded-in patterns in GTT!

I had been worried that because the band is six threads thick, compared to the four thread thickness of bands made with four-holed cards, but this band came off soft as butter, and very pliable.

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EDIT: This band went to Birka with me and while it garnered a lot of attention, it didn’t end up being sold but rather traded for 12 yards of a beautiful plaid silk. I’ll share a picture of the silk the next time I pull out fabric for garb making. Honestly, I’m very happy with the trade, and while I have no idea what to make with the plaid, I have a serious need to make another band of the same pattern, if not the same colors.

3/1 Twill of Doom!

Yes, DOOM!

I feel as though each new tablet weaving technique I want to learn causes me more angst than it should, but each time I venture into something new, that angst is back. I felt it when I tried anything beyond 4X4, including this specific pattern that’s in both the orange book and Fox Noses, which requires both forward and back turning with each row. It was the bane of my weaving existence even until just recently, but I’ve gotten over that mental hurdle and it’s working for me. (I’ll address this in another posting.) I went through it, in a big way, with double-faced tablet weaving, but I got past it as well – and rather quickly. (This is another posting, but not this one.) But I’ve been able to, through work, get past the issues I’ve had with those techniques.

3/1 Broken Twill is scary! Not just mildly scary, but really, really scary! First thing I did was to buy what I call ‘The Big Floppy Book’ but in reality, it’s Claudia Wollny’s Die Fabelhafte Welt der brettchengewebten Stola und Manipel zu St. Donat, Arlon. Now, I knew the book had great patterns, I didn’t realize until I got the book that it was a technique that I hadn’t even heard of until that point. So I drooled over the book for a year, but it didn’t teach the technique. Further, all the patterns in the book were really wide, and I was not finding anything online that made sense and taught me how to learn this technique. So I found out that John Mularkey’s Double Face DVD is actually a two DVD set, and the second DVD has 3/1. Woohoo! Then Claudia came out with another book, Der Lilienhain. This book has very narrow patterns and really inspired me to jump in and go at 3/1.

I sat down with Mularky’s DVD, Claudia’s Der Lilienhain, Walter (one of my looms) warped and ready, and my beloved Stacy sitting beside me. It took a lot of jumping back and forth between the book, the DVD, what was on my loom, and telling Stacy that while I know he’s trying to be helpful, he’s telling me the exact opposite of what I really need to do. I know he’s trying to be helpful, but when I’m frustrated, it’s hard being told how to weave by someone who’s never done it. It’s the engineer in him.

Anyway, I have played with 3/1 a bit, and each time I try again, even the next day, I have to start all over again. So, my plan is to warp Loomer (my favorite loom) with very contrasting brights and really get on it this week. The plan is to take it to Crown Tourney and show the basics to my weaving circle. We don’t get to gather often, but when we do, we try to better our weaving and help each other in any way we can. I’m hoping to be able to inspire them with the basics and show them that while it’s complicated, it’s a crackable nut. We are all on different levels and enjoy different aspects of tablet weaving, so it’s great to help each other in any way possible.

I will write more and show pictures as I learn and conquer 3/1 Broken Twill!

So Much The Busy Summer!

The past two weeks I’ve walked into my Wednesday Nomadic Guild of Scripturients gathering with the intention of writing, and posting, about my weaving progress, yet each week something happens and I’m too distracted to get something written and posted here. The thing is that I actually have a lot of little things to post about!

Most people go to family gatherings at amusement parks to eat tons of fattening foods and ride rides until you feel ill, but not me! As the Fun Foods part of Funtown/Splashtown USA has been run by family since I was 14 years old (next summer will be our 30th year!), it’s not something that I find exciting, so I brought my loom, thread, and a pattern. My father cordoned off one of the birthday areas for us, and those of us not riding rides just hung out and talked about what happened over the past two years. My family has seen me post pictures of my finished bands, but hadn’t really seen the process. One cousin thought I was doing small bracelets, not pieces that are 9-30 feet long. So I warped up my loom and showed them all what I was doing. It was a new pattern for me, but I have to admit that I really like how it came out. Next time I use that pattern I plan to use something other than crochet cotton, as I would like the threads to melt together better and give me a less open pattern.

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From there I jumped right into another pattern. It’s one I’d seen for a long time on Pinterest, but didn’t think it would work out, or look anywhere near as good as it looked, but as soon as I started weaving, I fell in LOVE! I think this will be one I weave a lot of, as long as people actually buy it! I love how the threads really melt together on this one, unlike the previous band.

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And I also took some from the huge box of thread I got at Panteria, and wove my favorite nested Thor’s Hammer pattern in cotton and wool. The wool was a beast, as it was only the very thin dark brown, and it locked onto itself with every turn.

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So while that’s all good, this month wasn’t all success. I put together a band I had been wanting to play with for a while, but I wasn’t thinking things through as I chose my threads, and the red is too thick. So while the flowers look good, the red pops through the black between the flowers, and I don’t like that. Everyone else seems to like the band, but I’m my harshest critic.

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But I also had a couple of huge technique jumps this month, and those really excited me. Turns out that in-period (I need to find out when and where for my research), dressed were laced up using very fine tablet weaving that’s woven into a very narrow tube. My first attempt at this was with very fine cotton, using only six cards. Three of the cards were threaded rust (all four holes, S threading), the other three in off-white (all four holes, S threading). The cards vary to form stripes, and I’m only passing the shuttle through from the right. I beat the threads down hard, then pull the weft through tightly, using my fingers to roll the newly woven portion tightly to make sure none of the weft is showing. It’s working really well, and I’ll be posting more and pics as I progress with this. I only have about four inches finished so far.

I managed to get in the groove with Applesies And Fox Noses. I understand why some people really like the book, but I’m still not sold. More to come on this.

Lastly, I sat down with Walter (I’ll be doing a posting on my looms soon, as friends who only see the finished results have no clue what I’m weaving on), and warped him for GNEW and teaching. After GNEW I sat down with Claudia’s newest book (I’ll be reviewing a lot of books soon, so more on that soon), my loom ready in front of me, John Malarky’s DVD playing on the TV, and Stacy next to me telling me that it needed to be done one way, not the way they were telling me to do it. He really needs to do some tablet weaving so I can point and laugh. He’s very supportive, just doesn’t get it. Anyway, I was surrounded by knowledge and a determined mindset, and I figured out the basics of 3/1 twill! I’ve not really played with it much, but I get the basics of it, and I’m not at all afraid to jump in and play with it now. I knew that once I finally grasped the basic idea behind it, I’d laugh at myself for thinking it was so big and scary, like double-faced. Well, I’m not to that point yet, but I know I’ll be there fairly soon, so I will keep plugging away at it.

Sorry about all the rambling, and I have a lot to write about. I will try to get something up each and every Wednesday between now and NaNoWriMo! That is my goal, between all my weaving.

KB

GNEW XXX

But, if the rumors I’ve heard about why S&M War was changed didn’t actually cause the change in the name, then it would have been S&M XXX, and that right there is the type of thing that makes the SCA that much more fun.

Anyway, it was one of the most interesting GNEWs I’ve attended, and that’s just the weather! GNEW is normally the hottest weekend of the summer – unless you’re attending Pennsic – until this year where it was cooler and rainier than I remember seeing it. I do recall other rainy GNEWs, but not THIS cold and rainy. Luckily we got our new (three days to be built) tent. We LOVE it, and I was finally warm at night. I’m cold every night at GNEW every year, even when it’s extremely hot during the day, but this cold GNEW I was warmer than ever, and finally have a tent that truly suits me!

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Some of the best parts of the weekend were hanging out with old friends, meeting new friends, teaching new and continuing tablet weaving. But the most shocking part was at Court. I normally don’t sit through all of Court, if any of it, but I knew a good friend had been working on something, so I thought there might be an AoA coming at some point, so it’s good to start going. There wasn’t a bunch of friends there, and Stacy hadn’t told me to dress nicely, so I wasn’t at all prepared when they called my name in Court. Even worse was that they mispronounced my name, so I completely missed it the first time they called me. I handed over Dragon and headed up. They were cool that I couldn’t kneel down for them, and they didn’t know who I was, or what I’d done, but they’d been told about me and I was inducted into the Order of The Silver Brooch. I was so shocked that I thought I was going to throw up on the King. At one point my friend Peter thought I was going to pass out and was ready to rush up and catch me. I made it through without keeping over, and Nero was amazingly welcoming – both up there and as we broke down camp the next morning.

I’m officially a Lady, though not sure how I feel about THAT! Just kidding! I was bowled over by the whole thing, and need to hug Adrienne the next time I see her!

This means I need to figure out how to weave the Silver Brooch, which I haven’t taken off the medal but a couple times since I got it, but tonight it’s going into my kit for events.

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And here is my absolutely beautiful scroll!

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I can’t wait to get my device passed so I can get it all filled in.

GNEW XXX Classes & Descriptions

Great Northeastern War is creeping up on us very quickly. I have tons of sewing that needs to be done for minimum seven people, myself included, but I see very little of it actually happening because my pain has been running between 5-9 constantly for the past 3-4 days. The other thing I need to get done is as much weaving as possible. I sold a lot of my bands at Birka. Actually, Freya at Thor’s Hammer sold a majority of my stock for me. I had enough money to cover the event for us – at least event fee, food and gas, but not hotel costs – had I not bought a loom. Actually, it’s not just any loom, it’s a Pennsic cherry loom (explain more about that later) from Egill’s Woodstuff. If you’re interested in the maker of my loom, check out his work on Etsy at Egill’s Woodstuff He does beautiful work that’s more than worth the money.

I was low on bands after Birka, but then we went to Panteria (first time ever) to help Thor’s Hammer with setup, breakdown, and everything in between. It was a great weekend, great event, great friends, a great tablet weaving class, and I sold out most of the rest of my stock. I came home with two salable bands to my name. I’ve been weaving like crazy since we got home, but that means I’ve not been sewing for GNEW. We might be naked, but I will have stuff to sell.

I’ve also been working on building a physical portfolio, that way I have something on the table for people to look at. That way if they see something they like, but want it in a different color, I have all the info there to make a new one for whoever might want to buy one. I can also bring this to my classes to show what can be done with my level of competency.

Now, this is supposed to be about the classes I’m teaching at GNEW. Last year I struggled with too-long threads and too many people. This year I’m teaching two classes at GNEW, and have learned from my class last year, and my class at Panteria. I signed up to teach a class at Panteria because one person from my GNEW class wanted to learn more. She couldn’t attend the class, but I taught her separately (love you Rowan!), and then had a great tablet weaving discussion with the people in the class. Because of that discussion I will be teaching this class for the first time at GNEW.

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History & Concepts of Tablet Weaving

Join me for a discussion about tablet weaving, where it came from, what it’s about, and the basics behind how it works. This is not a hands on, in-depth, tablet weaving class, but you will have a chance to look at a variety of tablet and looms, and possibly even weave a bit to see if it’s something you’re interested in pursuing further. I will be on-site all weekend for anyone who wants further discussion or instruction.

This will requite my white board. I’ve been reading and taking notes for two weeks now, and will be typing up a handout for the class. This won’t be hands on weaving, but a real discussion on what people believe about the history of tablet weaving and what’s really true. I need to pull all my notes together tomorrow night at writing group, pull them into an actual handout that is both comprehensive, but also easy to read and makes sense. I’m having troubles getting all the pictures I need, but I’ll get there. I’ll be posting the handout here on my blog for those who are interested or lost there’s from GNEW. Also a good way to keep track of the handout as my teaching evolves and changes, as I’m sure it will as I learn more. I’m going to bring my tablets and looms with me so I can show off what both look like, and the huge variety that’s out there. I am also going to let people take turns weaving on Walter, if they’re at all interested. It’s one thing to learn about it intellectually, it’s another thing to play with it a bit and see if you have the coordination to actually weave. I’ve seen people who just are not weavers and cannot get the knack for it. That’s okay, but it’s better to know that before you invest too much time and money.

Bring Out Your Looms!

Do you have a (tablet or inkle) loom on hand, but don’t really have a grasp on how to warp and tablet weave on it? Have you just started tablet weaving and need help or questions? Do you want to learn the basics of tablet weaving and want to try your hand at it? I will have a number of looms with me if you’d like to try them out, or I can set you up to weave a short band off-loom (none of that mess of too long threads of the past). I’d like to keep this class small, no more than 5 people actually weaving, but I’m flexible. I will be on-site all weekend for anyone who wants further discussion or instruction.

I’m going with much shorter threads for this class, and am hoping that people will see the listing for this class well ahead of attending GNEW and will do exactly that, bring out their looms! (You get the pop culture reference, right?) Anyway, I’ve put a strict class size on this one, and hope that people will bring their looms to class so that they can actually learn to warp their looms and learn how to tablet weave on them. Fingers crossed that this one goes much better than the class at GNEW last year.

GNEW Classes

GNEW, otherwise known as Great Northeastern War, is creeping up on us again this year. At GNEW last year I taught my first tablet weaving class. I was horribly afraid, so I taught two preliminary classes for friends, just to make sure I knew what I was doing. Turns out that my preliminary class went much better than the class at GNEW. I learned a lot from that class, mostly what not to do. If I’m going to do a hands-on class, it needs to be much smaller than that first one.

Since then I’ve taught a couple other classes, mostly one-on-one, one of those with a friend I met at that first class at GNEW.

At Panteria, my first Panteria, I was asked to teach a class by that friend I made at that first GNEW class. Well, she couldn’t stay for the actual class, but our one-on-one was great. The actual class inspired me to change the way I teach tablet weaving in the future. That class at Panteria was a great discussion with two people who knew nothing about tablet weaving, one who started on his own and only got a few inches along, and one who has woven a couple bands and is onto brocade tablet weaving, something I’ve not yet tackled.

After that discussion at Panteria, and the book I was reading after the lights went out at Panteria, I’m thinking I’d like to teach a history and basics of tablet weaving, a very small weaving class, and possibly a double-face tablet weaving class.

Thoughts?