A selection of craft information for artisans of the HFS.

    Basic Card or Tablet Weaving


    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2011-05-30

    Basic Card or Tablet Weaving Empty Basic Card or Tablet Weaving

    Post  Admin on Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:43 pm

    Card weaving, also known
    as tablet weaving, is a method of producing narrow textiles such as straps,
    belts and trim. Most card woven bands are very strong and sturdy. Card woven
    bands can range from simple and easy to elaborately patterned and very time
    consuming. I'll focus on the easiest types, but I will tell you where to find
    out more about the more complicated types of card weaving.

    The oldest known reliable evidence for card
    weaving comes from about 400 B.C. Several cards and some card woven material
    was found at an archeological site in Spain. In period, card weaving was most
    highly developed in northern Europe, especially in Scandinavia, and was also
    used by the Anglo-Saxons. Many medieval pieces were ornate silk ecclesiastical
    vestments, or wrist and head bands brocaded with gold or silver, but others
    were much simpler. These may have been used as belts or straps. Card woven
    borders were sometimes woven into larger textiles. This helped to set the warp
    spacing and provided sturdy selvages.


    Cards can be made of thin
    sturdy cardboard, or even thin wood. The material must be smooth enough that it
    won't catch the yarn. An easy set of weaving cards can be made from an old set
    of playing cards. Index cards also work, but aren't very sturdy. What ever the
    material, the cards should be cut into squares about 5-6 cm on a side, and a
    hole punched in each corner. Make sure the holes are smooth and nearly round,
    or you will have trouble turning the cards. It also helps to round the corners.

    A wide range of yarns work well for card weaving. Whatever you choose must be
    fairly sturdy. The warp (the yarn strung thru the cards) will be under a lot of
    tension and friction, so it can't be anything fuzzy or easy to break, although
    fuzzy yarns can be used in the weft. I've found that cotton crocheting string
    works well (and is cheap and easy to find) but embroidery floss can also be
    used, or any sturdy yarn.


    first step (after making cards, finding yarn and picking a project) is to cut
    the warp. The length of each warp string should be the intended length of the
    finished piece plus 20% for take-up, plus 50 cm for room for the cards,
    starting and ending knots, etc. This is important, so I'll repeat it: warp length = 1.2 x final length + 50 cm

    One warp yarn will be
    strung through each hole in every card. A card can be strung from left to right
    (Z-threaded) or right to left (S-threaded), but all four holes must be strung
    in the same direction or the card won't turn. When you look at the cards from
    above, the yarn will be on a slight diagonal, either in the same direction as
    the middle line of a Z, or the same direction as the middle part of an S. It's
    probably easiest to tie each set of four warp yarns together after you thread a
    card. When all the cards are threaded, tie a big knot at the beginning and the
    end to hold everything together.

    The weft is the yarn that is passed back and forth between the warp threads,
    and holds the whole thing together. It will normally only show at the sides of
    the band. Take a fairly long piece of string (but not too long or it gets
    unmanageable) of the same color as the strings in the edge cards, and wind it
    around a shuttle or make in into a butterfly. Now you are ready to weave!


    Tie the far end of the
    warp to something sturdy, like a doorknob or a chair. Either hold the other end
    or attach it to your belt. The cards should all be in a pack with one set of
    edges flat towards you. Pass one end of the weft through the shed, which is the
    gap between the warp threads in the top holes of the cards and those in the
    bottom holes. Leave about 2 cm or so sticking out of the weft. Turn the entire
    pack of cards one-quarter turn, either forward (away from you) or backwards
    (towards yourself). The direction depends on the pattern. Pack the new shed
    towards yourself, wither with your finger or something smooth and flat, like
    the back of a knife blade, and pass the weft through again. Don't pull the weft
    all the way tight yet- leave a little loop sticking out. Now repeat the
    following steps:

    Turn the cards.

    Pack the shed.

    Tighten the previous weft shot just to the edge of
    the band.

    Pass a new weft shot through the shed.

    Continue until the band is
    the length you'd like. Easy, isn't it?


    Trim can be cut into
    lengths and sewn on, as long as the ends are firmly sewn down. For straps or
    belts, you can leave extra and make tassels or braids, or hem the ends. Or for
    a belt, you may want to attach a ring to one end. Just don't forget to take the
    cards off!


    Now that you know the
    mechanics of card weaving, you probably want to know how to make neat patterns,
    right? The easiest type of pattern is the threaded-in pattern, where the design
    is created by threading different colors of yard in the same card, and all the
    cards are turned in the same direction. These patterns are not medieval! Most
    period patterns involve some amount of individual manipulation of the cards.
    Any of the references at the end can give you more suggestions about medieval
    card weaving.

    Card weaving projects are usually set up
    from a pattern. The conventions I use are similar to those used by Collingwood
    and other authors in this area. Each hole in the card is given a letter to
    identify it. You don't need to write these on the card unless you really want
    to, but it is useful to mark to top of each card in some way. Most commercial
    cards are marked. Looking at the card from the left, the letters are:

    D A C B

    A pattern will show the
    order of the cards, what color weft to string through each hole, and the
    threading direction, and can be drawn quickly on graph paper, with each column
    of four squares indicating the four holes of one card. A \ below a column
    indicates that card is S-threaded, and a / indicates a Z-threaded card. The
    following sample pattern would be for four cards with dark threads in their B
    holes and light threads in the remaining holes. The left two cards are
    S-threaded, and the right cards are Z-threaded.

    O O O O D O O O O C X X X X B O O O O A \ \ / /

    Notice that for a
    Z-diagonal stripe to have smooth edges on the front of the band, the cards must
    be S-threaded and turned forwards. If S-threaded cards are turned backwards, a
    smooth S-diagonal stripe will result. The opposite is true for Z-threaded
    cards: if turned forwards, they will produce a clean S-diagonal. This effect is
    caused by the twisting together of the four threads in each card. Patterns with
    no diagonal lines usually work best with alternating Z and S-threaded cards.

    Complicated Patterns

    One of the most common
    individual card manipulations is the twist. Simply rotate a card around its
    vertical axis. This changes the threading direction of the card as well as the
    color position. (Note: In some cases twisting the card is equivalent to turning
    it in the opposite direction. A Z-threaded card turned forwards will produce
    the same twist as an S-threaded card turned backwards, but the color pattern
    may not be the same with a twist as a reversal.) One pattern I really like is
    kivrim, which makes a spiral design.

    Face Weave

    This is the simplest
    weave that allows you to make patterns that do not depend on the threading of
    the cards. Nearly any two-colored pattern can be made using this weave-
    pictures, letters, even Celtic knotwork.

    Set up all the cards with two dark threads
    in the holes nearest you (A and B) and light threads in the far two holes (C
    and D). The cards should alternate S and Z-threading. The basic double weave
    sequence is: 2xF, 2xB. This turning sequence will make a band that is all dark
    on the top and all light on the bottom.

    To switch colors in one card, simply twist that card when it has two different
    colors in the top two holes (the dark threads are in A and D, or in B and C).
    The card or cards twisted will now make a portion of the band with a light
    surface and a dark back. Having control over the color of each individual card
    allows you to weave any pattern that you can draw on graph paper, as long as
    each color change is a multiple of two squares long. This restriction is
    because you can only change colors in the first and third card positions in the
    sequence, and not in the second and fourth (twisting will have no effect on
    color position).

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