Tablet Weaving Progress

I hope the photos below will show that I am making some progress with my tablet weaving. The yarns I am using are all wool and dyed in woad. The tan colour was achieved from the same leaves previously used to make the blue woad vat. I saved the squeezed-out leaves and then simmered them for about 30 minutes to extract the tan dye. Then I strained off the dye liquid, added the unmordanted wool and simmered gently for about half an hour.
I have been using Candace Crockett's book "Card Weaving" as my instruction manual and, apart from one or two sections at the beginning where the illustrations and the written instructions don't seem to "match" completely, I have found this book generally very clearly laid out and the instructions easy to follow. I suspect that any problems I may have had initially were probably because my experience of weaving is so limited and nothing could be taken for granted. Although there is obviously much room for improvement. especially in achieving straight edges, I must say that I am surprised at how much I am enjoying this weaving process, especially watching the pattern develop.


A closer view of the weaving
A closer view of the weaving
7 replies
  1. Harma
    Harma says:

    Nice try. Like the colours. You don't make it easy on yourself with these thick and small cards., but they are beautiful.
    To get a nice selvedge and a more even width, it works best to place the weft, turn the cards and then thighten the weft so that you don't see it at the sides. Most tabletweaving is supposed to be completely warp-faced, so tighten it as far as possible without having to tug really hard. That kind of tension is also easier to maintain throughout the work than if you try to go for a special width.
    I think that you started at the right width for this number of cards but that your work is getting to wide now. You shoudn't be able to see the weft between the warps.
    At the point where you change the direction of the cards you will always have a weird bump in the selvedge. Part of the game. That is why most tabletweavers turn the border cards as long as possible in the same direction.

    • says:

      Many thanks for your helpful comments on my tablet weaving. I’ll try to reduce the width & improve the edges as you suggest.

  2. Louisa
    Louisa says:

    I was going to give you the same advice! You can even use a ruler or a little cardboard template to help keep an even width. No need to measure more than every inch or couple of inches once you get the hang of it.
    I love that rose-beige that you can get with spent woad leaves!

  3. Maggie Stearn
    Maggie Stearn says:

    Hi Jenny
    I can only echo what has been said before. The warp threads need to lie tightly next to each other. You can't really pull the weft too tight. Turn the cards and use the shuttle to push the last row of weaving tight against the last and 'take up' any weft that shows beyond the selvedge. Your selvedges should then be straight. I don't envy you working with wool. Depending on the yarn it can get difficult to turn the tablets. I love the wooden tablets!

  4. Diana Ostrat
    Diana Ostrat says:

    Hello Jenny! 
    First of all – your book "Colours of Nature" just arrived to my little home town in Estonia. Enjoying the reading and your very straight-to-the-point style 🙂
    I've got quite some experience with card weaving, so I'd be glad to help. Most of the good advice was already given, especially about the weft (pull it through, leave it totally loose, then turn the cards, tighten (mostly your finger does the trick, but I see you also have a tool for that) and only then pull the weft nice and tight. I had terrible knotted, uneven edges before a friend of mine taught me this trick and it works wonders). 
    And it's very important that the threads are pulled with same tension(hopefully I'm making sense, I'm not used to explaining this topic in English, the vocabulary is very different here). I'd really love to know how you work with the tablets – do you tie one end to some object and the other end to your belt, both ends to some objects… (the second method is actually preferred because then the tension remains the same throughout the project). My personal preference is tying one end to an inanimate object (in my case my window) and the other end to my chair with wheels, so I can actually change the tension if necessary. (Meanwhile I don't get into situations like "no, I cannot answer the door right now, I'm all tied up"
    100% wool yarn is my favourite thing to weave with, and since I'm into historical re-enactment, then also pretty much the only thing I'm using. Just make sure the yarn isn't too thick – 2 threads together are usually better than 3, and that the yarn is nice and tight, because a loose yarn will not bear with the rubbing, tension and everything else involved in tablet weaving. 
    Hopefully these tips were of some use, I don't really know the book you have, I've only studied from other people. 
    Have a great day and good time weaving! 🙂

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