Guess what I got for xmas? Wooden tablets for tablet weaving (also called ‘cards’). I don’t have a picture of me clutching them tightly and grinning like a fool, but that’s a good description of how happy I was!
For those not familiar with this type of weaving, it’s very simple, very portable and very, very old. Generally done using a backstrap (i.e. the warp is tied to a fixed point and to the weaver) and creates bands. The bands have been found in archaeological sites as belts, straps and edgings on garments, but they have about as many uses as you can think of for a narrow band.
I tied my warp onto my loom (took the heddles out) so I could try it with familiar tensioning and here is the first attempt:
This band is about 1.5cm wide and done with 2ply cotton. As you can see I was messing around trying things, including part of a pattern on the right. It’s those type of patterns that are part of the attraction!
You might wonder why I haven’t gone and gotten an inkle loom if I’m interested in making bands, as that’s what they’re for, but I have to admit it’s not the output that interests me; it’s the method. Partly because I like history…there’s one famous Viking archaeological find that actually contained tablets on a warp, so I’m attracted to this fascinating continuity of history in doing tablet weaving.
It’s also a technique that is structurally very different from loom weaving. The result is a warp-faced, dense fabric with a lot of potential for geometric patterns. Mind you, you can weave tabby/plain weave using tablets if you want.
Obviously, I’m going to be weaving and posting a lot more tablet weaving bits and bobs!