Tablet weaving

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Tablet-weaving (also called card weaving) is a great way to make sturdy woven bands. These bands were used in period for straps, belts, braids for costume, bookmarks and ecclesiastical accoutrement.

The technique involves a set of cards threaded with four threads through the holes in the corners. The end of the threads are held tight and form the weft of the weave. The cards are turned a quarter-turn at a time, with the weft-thread passing through the shed (or gap) between the upper pair of thread and the lower pair. Each card thus twines the four threads around each other and the twine is held in place by the weft-thread.

Tablet-weaving is a warp-faced weave, which means that the warp-threads are what makes the surface-pattern of the weaving. This patern can be fairly complex depending on a several styles of tablet weaving, and the pattern is made up thruogh the effect of:

  • threading of the cards (both the direction of threading and also what colours are in each hole)
  • turning the cards (forwards, backwards or any combination thereof)
  • "twisting" the cards (turning the card on its vertical axis to swap the colour that's on "top")

These bands can be extremely decorative (including intricate surface decorations in gold thread, called brocading), and was probably the major way of decorating clothes in early period.

Woven braids are very strong and can easily be used as belts, baldrics, etc. There are many people who can teach the basics of this art, so ask around, as it really helps to have a person to set you on your way.

A great website for the basics is on Phiala's string page: - http://www.stringpage.com/old/basictw.html Have a look at the other tutorials there too as they go into great depth about how it works together.

Also consider the groups: