Page 1 of 1

Tablet weaving? Beginners guide?

Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 6:49 pm
by Random Mumblings
Can anyone give me a link to or title of something I can get online/buy that will give me the basics of tablet weaving please? Had found a site with lots of links but they are either dead links, or academic essays with no pictures. I need step by step idiots guide.

Thanks :-)

Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 7:04 pm
by Jenn R is I.... 8)

Have a search on Soper Lane....those ladies know soooooooooooooo much!

Soper Lane


Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 7:08 pm
by Random Mumblings
Jenn R is I.... 8)

Have a search on Soper Lane....those ladies know soooooooooooooo much!

Soper Lane

A-Ha! T'is you, LeClerc. Hurrah. Cheers for the link, me dear, will go have a look. :D

Rumbly x

Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 8:38 pm
by Annis
Actually, tablet weaving is very easy, although I haven't tried making patterned braids - some tips would be good.

I made my loom just by looking at a picture and made my own simple one (not authentic) but fine for at home. ... &start=510

Annis x

Re: Tablet weaving? Beginners guide?

Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 9:17 pm
by Karen Larsdatter
Some potentially-useful links at ... &catid=417 -- including some mailing lists and some patterns, too.

Card Weaving by Candace Crockett is supposed to be a good introduction (my mother-in-law gave me her copy of it, but I think I've since passed it along to someone else); there's also The Techniques of Tablet Weaving by Peter Collingwood, but it's out of print at the moment (though White Wolf & Phoenix might carry it).

There's some more books listed at also.

Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 9:29 pm
by Annis
Karen, that 1st link doesn't work properly, I can't view the threads.

Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 11:47 pm
by Karen Larsdatter
Annis wrote:Karen, that 1st link doesn't work properly, I can't view the threads.
Hmm, that's odd ... ... &catid=417 works fine here ... will check and see if there's something funny with the site in other browsers, though.

Posted: Tue May 22, 2007 12:03 am
by Attilla the Bun
Phiala's string page - excellent on a variety of narrow wares, and very clear explanations

And for resources on jsut about everything textile-related, with bibliographies to make you eyes water, the amazing Carolyn Priest-Dorman's website.

Posted: Tue May 22, 2007 7:59 am
by Random Mumblings
Thanks folks. All the links I've looked at show you how to weave it on a loom. I thought you could do it without a loom, just with one end tied to something? Is that not the case? I'm looking for something to do in LHE, and making an authentic loom isn't going to be possible at the moment so may have to rethink otherwise.

Posted: Tue May 22, 2007 9:19 am
by GinaB
You can do tablet weaving by connecting one end of the warp to a fixed point - in modern terms this is usually a door handle - and the other to your belt. (Its often termed backstrap weaving) It's a handy way to weave in that your body controls the tension, but you are stuck there... Its not really the best if you want to use alot of tablets or do complicated wevaing either.

Most of the evidence for medieval TW shows a loom, usually quite large as well, which will be why the links show it too. In a TWIST journal quite a long time ago there was something about medieval tablet weavers working between two people - ie one acts as the 'doorknob', but I can't find the issue at the moment. (Currently re-decorating) Other than that, I don't recall ever seeing any medieval depictions using the backstrap.

One manuscript I'm convinced shows the Virgin sitting on a chair and that she's weaving with it tied to the decorative posts either side (in other words she's 'hemmed in'), but that's more likely to be the artist copying another work and not knowing what he was drawing!

At a pinch, you might want to just drive two posts into the ground and weave between these; this is a method that's done in the middle east and possibly was done in Europe. Two posts fixed to a plank of wood is a good modern alternative which many people use at events as opposed to the large looms shown.

Reality is that you need two fixed points - thats all. Authenticity for a time and place may come into play, but for learning, one of those points can be you!

Candace Crockett's book I think does explain the backstrap method, I learnt to TW from that book and I did try it that way first, so it must have! :) But I too passed my copy on to someone else....

Collingwood is the bible of tablet weaving, and he does explain many different loom types, from many different areas. I'd thoroughly recommend trying to get a copy if you enjoy TW.

If you didn't find it, a simple beginner's guide can be downloaded from the Soper Lane site at ... ds&cat=how.


Posted: Tue May 22, 2007 1:20 pm
by kate/bob
try pming Gracie Tyller. She taught me at Berkeley last year using her guide and I managed to re-teach myself at the weekend successfully not having picked it up since!

Posted: Tue May 22, 2007 8:35 pm
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
I don't know if you still can, but for anyone who wants the Collingwood book, if you buy it straight from Peter Collingwood himself:

He sends it with his own meticulously handwritten errata as when it was re-published (by a US publisher I think?) it was full of mistakes. So worth getting from him- if you still can - rather than from a book shop.

Thorskegga Thorn's The History and Method of Tablet Weaving is a handy short intro and it will get you weaving.

I agree with others, one of the best intros is Candace Crockett's book. There's also a section in Rachel Brown's classic 'Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Book' - which has simple projects, is inspiring and very clear instructions. You can prob order it on an Interlibrary loan.

Another simple intro is:

Step by Step Tablet Weaving by Majorie and William Snow.

If I was having only one book, I'd have Collingwood as that has enough to keep you going for life (several lifetimes), but starts you from the beginning.

Posted: Wed May 23, 2007 12:47 am
by Tuppence
You can do tablet weaving by connecting one end of the warp to a fixed point - in modern terms this is usually a door handle - and the other to your belt. (Its often termed backstrap weaving) It's a handy way to weave in that your body controls the tension, but you are stuck there...
a friend ties herself to tent pegs at shows......

Posted: Wed May 23, 2007 9:30 am
by Type16

linda hendrickson

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 2:02 pm
by cardweaver
about the best site i've found with an explanation of tablet weaving is

she has a very good explanation of the continuous warping method, which i now use for almost all of my bands. for half a year i was threading each hole individually, in fact the first band i sold online (thanks materfamilias) was warped using that method and the warping alone would have taken almost 2 hours probably. now it would take about 10 minutes, if that. maybe twenty for longer warps.

also, i'm more than happy to offer any advice i can give, i tablet-weave for money on the side and pleasure, i was originally taught with a 5 minute demonstration by the great and good Mary Craig, since then i have been teaching myself and have developed quite a few wee tricks and time-saving techniques.

observe my beautifully laid-out myspace page at

several links there show some of the braids i regularly make. i am also now experimenting with double face weave, wot makes patterns and lettering easy


Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:31 am
by Annie the Pedlar
Annis said "Actually, tablet weaving is very easy"

Flipperty jibbert woman! I don't think so!

I can inkle and fingerloop watching TV and chatting ten to the dozen but I need every braincell I possess to keep the pattern right when tablet weaving.

I think part of the problem is I can't work out visually how to go backwards when I've gone wrong. And if I manage it I then can't see where in the sequence I am to carry on the pattern. I've tried not moving until a whole braid is finished but nature calls, I've tried notating or tallying each row I do but loose concentration.
Cardweaver and GinaB what's the secret?

Annie with her tablets in a twist.

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 4:41 pm
by kate/bob
my only solution at the moment is to do a pattern that only needs forward turns, but that doesn't lead to many different patterns!!

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:06 pm
by GinaB
Cardweaver and GinaB what's the secret?
I think its just practice. Some people just don't like it - but then again I think knitting is really hard and so have given up (for now at least!) trying it.

The threads at the top of the tablet are the ones which appear in the weave. To figure out which one, (as it depends on the direction you turn the tablets) the best thing to do is to do a very small weave - say 4 tablets - with a different colour in each hole. Line up the colours and weave - turning the tablets forwards. Watch the threads and the emerging band - where they are before you throw the weft, and where they are when you turn the tablets. You'll start to see which thread shows - and then you can turn them backwards and see the same thing. Knowing which shows when really helps when you're doing a complicated weave and want to go back and undo. Although with some weaves it really isn't worth going back - especially beyond a few rows.

Something which really confused me when I first began weaving and following other's patterns was the fact that some weavers think forward is different to what I think - it can depend on the type of loom you use and which side you sit on. And that can mean that you happily follow a pattern and it looks terrible - and puts you off - so always check what the pattern means by 'forward' (to me, it is towards the warp beam).

If I'm working a pattern which say has numerous forwards and backwards turns, and know I'll want to leave it - I will put my scissors next to the loom pointing in the direction I am currently turning. It's a nice visual aid if needed. (Although I do have to hope the cat doesn't want to play with the nice shiny things sitting there!)

Nancy Spies (in her book about brocade tablet weaving) recommends using one of those magnetic row markers that are sold for cross stitch to mark your place on a pattern. It is vital to keep your place with any pattern which changes alot, or with brocades. I use a ruler or piece of card, moving it along, but if you are going to leave something for a longer period I can see where the magnetic board and strip would be really helpful.

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:30 pm
by cardweaver
i think the key is starting simple and working your way up.

i started with chevrons, which turn only forward, then moved onto diamonds and variations thereof. diamonds and such turn forward and backward equally.

say, if you have your cards set up to make a diamond (i know how the colours are set up but i find it difficult to describe) then you turn so many turns forward with all the cards, then so many turns backwards with all the cards. it soon becomes simple to see which way you're turning as the diamond either closes or opens depending on which way you're turning.

once you've mastered that, you can move onto patterns where certain cards turn in one direction all the time, and certain cards turn backwards equally to turning forwards. two such patterns are Ram's Horn and Vine, both of which can be found at, which is an excellent website with a wee java applet for saying when to turn the cards back.

after that you get your much more intricate patterns like birka and snartemo, but i'm not going to go into them cos i can't do them myself and this has been my main hobby/money-on-the-side thing for over two years. mind you, i'm not very adventerous

i think the loomy bin is good for simple card-shifted patterns like Ram's Horn, but i don't think it does very good at explaining patterns like birka at all.

a good set of patterns to try getting into once you've mastered diamonds and all the variations of pattern to be found with turning all the cards in the same direction at once in the same pick, is Egyptian Diagonal. These are very simple, and a wide range of icons and effects can be achieved with this method. It's also very good, because it's good with a two colour warp, which is also the ideal warp for diamonds, chevrons, waves and doubleface patterns, thus you can work little bits of comp[lex design into a large length of simple band. this is nice if you want a lot of braid done fairly quickly but also want to show off a bit of skill

anyway, in short: start simple and practice. if it goes wrong and you can't turn back, just rest the cards to their original pattern and put it down to experience. all the bands that i've made serious mistakes in end up being used as baggage straps or dog leads as well as cords for hanging shafts and carabinas for weaving (i have a peculiar style of warping and working that involves a lot of ropes and carabinas)

practice practice practice. and take a break if it's pissing you off


I like the scissors idea...

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:40 pm
by lucy the tudor
I like the idea about leaving the scissors pointing in the direction you are going. I only do the simplest weaves yet, and even that often when I am on the stall, just to demonstrate the basic idea of the tablets. My main problem is stopping to demonstrate lucet or something else, and not being able to remember where I am up to, or which way I was going to get there.
I will try the continuous threading method next week, when I have finished a couple of urgent orders. I'll keep you posted as to whether it is possible for those of us who have very small slow brains.