Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tablet weaving tips

It's proving to be a really hectic week for me (and next week will be even more so as it is time for paperwork..) but I decided that I would keep up the posts as promised.

One of the suggestions I was given was to give advice about tablet weaving. In itself, tablet weaving is actually quite simple. However, I suspect that most beginners do exactly what I did initially - want to try something really complicated, before I understood the basic principles. And deciding to use lovely, fine, 'authentic' thread. Both are recipes for disaster from a beginner's point of view!

The first is thread.
Don't try weaving with wool! 
Wool is stretchy. The warp threads often break as the tension builds beyond the tablets.
Wool is fuzzy. The fuzz tangles and catches and makes finding the shed difficult
And, both of these factors contribute to threads breaking due to rubbing against the holes of the tablets.

Of course wool was used historically! But it is a tricky thread to tablet weave with when you are a beginner. So don't try. You'll end up frustrated and probably quit.

Use a simple perle (perl) cotton. Size 5 is really good, but you can use a thinner one. It may not be 'authentic', but it is great to learn with. Make yourself a bookmark or something - wait to make that wonderful girdle or trimming!

Weave with one colour to start out with. Then weave with two. Don't try to follow a fancy pattern - just play. Learn what happens when you turn the tablets is different ways. Learn the terminology. The biggest single problem with following any pattern tends to be the author's notation. If you assume the set up is based on one type of pattern and don't read what the author has written, your design can end up on the underside, or worse still, jagged and weird looking. There's no set pattern notation in TW in the way there is for knitting or crochet!

In other words... take baby steps!

And enjoy it!


  1. Anonymous3:35 pm

    About threads there is other way which is historical and practical as well, just use linen. Size 10/2 is good but 14/2 even better with 30/2 you could make really fine braids.



  2. Have you done any "edge-weaving" (don't know the word in english) using tablets? I've seen several examples of it but haven't found an explaining or tutorial. Do you know where I can find it or maybe you have done one yourself?
    Great work on your blog by the way! Beautiful things you do! :D

  3. I have done edge weaving on purses, the biggest thing to bear in mind is that you must support the fabric, so nothing too weighty, unless you have extra help. You pass the weft through the warp, (say left to right) then through the fabric edge (right to left), then turn the tablets and repeat. (So your weft thread is threaded onto a needle, use shortish lengths).


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