Advanced Card Weaving: Birka 12

(Originally posted 6 Jan 2015)

Here’s another fun pattern for you history buffs!  This is Birka find #12
Ткачество на дощечках - Szukaj w Google
This person (Russian, if I figure it correctly) has already mapped out this pattern pretty clearly, it’s just a matter of knowing how to read the thing.

Warp your cards like it shows above.  Turn your cards to the AD “home” position.

Turn all the cards four quarter-turns forward, passing the shuttle between each turn.

When you have returned to the home position, you will split the deck.  Turn cards 1, 8-13 forward (away from you); 2-7 back (toward you).  You will do this for three quarter-turns.

Then…reverse!  Turn cards 1-7 forward; 8-12 back; and 13 forward.  You will do this for three quarter-turns, back to the home position.

Repeat the pattern–four quarter-turns forward, then the split pack.

As you can see, this means that the 1 and 13 cards are always turning forward…the rest of the cards will be turning four quarter turns forward at the end of every pattern.  This results in a great deal of twist in the threads, which you will have to eventually deal with.  About every yard and a half of completed weaving, I will untie the knots (one card at a time) and untwist.  It’s just the way this pattern works.  I often will turn the 1 and 13 cards with the cards adjacent to them, which still builds up a twist, but not at twice the speed.

Here’s mine, in progress…

And finished!

So I’m Weaving Along…

(originally posted on 14 Jan 2015)

…on this pattern, that weirdly, doesn’t look anything like the image…which is quite possibly a threading issue–I’ll have to try this again when I get to the end.  You know what they say–it’s not a mistake, it’s a new pattern!

…and something goes wrong.

The tension bar on the inkle loom that I’ve been using for 20 years finally died…the threading inside the wooden bit was not lined with a metal fitting; it’s just wood.  So after 1000 yards of trim or so, it stripped out.

I tried to use my cheap-n-scuzzy “surfboard” loom but the tension was unreliable and the bolt chewed through one of my threads.  It was time to move ahead to the next plan.

Not wanting to waste time, I went ahead and built this in two days:

While it’s not quite finished, it might work well enough for both tablet weaving and rigid heddle weaving with a few minor alterations.  In fact, I have an idea for a temporary improvement…ooooo….

In the process of building, I had a few set backs during the build…was locked out of some areas of the wood shop…

…but hand-held power tools were available and I made full use of them!

And on the third day…

…I added the front and back bars (only one pictured here, along with, for some inexplicable reason, the broken tension bar from the inkle loom).  I attempted to warp up the card weaving on the loom but didn’t have any luck doing so.  Eventually, I gave up because the tension was not consistent.

My dear husband went to the hardware store and in about 90 minutes had fixed the tension bar for the inkle loom, so now I am back in business!  It took a couple hours to re-warp the card weaving onto the loom, then had to take it apart again to adjust the tension again to accommodate the shortened length–this loom really needs TWO tension bars for card weaving.

I still have a quilt commission to finish and a bunch of uniforms to repair, but…you know… I’d rather be weaving. 🙂

Applesies and Fox Noses!

(Originally posted 20 Jan 2015)

Happy new year, all!

All I wanted for Christmas was a copy of Applesies and Fox Noses…and a bike helmet.  Lucky me–I got both!

Applesies and Fox Noses - Finnish Tabletwoven Bands

This is the new go-to book for tablet weaving historians this year (it’s a bigger genre than you’d think!).  Several of these patterns (not all) are based on historical finds from the Karelian iron age in a graveyard just a short drive north of Helsinki.

This book has some seriously complex patterns in it, but the first few look simple enough, so I started there.  The first pattern wasn’t quite so inspiring, so I turned a couple more pages and decided on pattern #5, the S Sign.

Now, because this is in a book, I’m not sure if this is something I can publish in its entirety, so to avoid a problem with the authors, I’ll just show you the turning sequence, which seems different than how the pattern is laid out*.

1.  With A-D at the top of the pack, (my cards are colored blue on that side), turn all the cards back for five quarter-turns (toward the weaver).
2.  Split deck:  cards 1-6:  turn four quarter-turns back; cards 7-12: turn four quarter-turns forward.
3.  Turn all cards five quarter-turns forward
4.  Turn all cards five quarter-turns back
5.  Split deck:  cards 1-6:  turn four quarter-turns forward; cards 7-12:  turn four quarter-turns back
6.  Turn all cards five quarter-turns forward

*All cards have to face right, and there may be some adjustments in the future since I threaded it backwards to begin with…

Applesies at Ursulmas

(Originally posted 27 January 2015)

It was Event Weekend last weekend!  We had our Barony’s big demo at the Fairgrounds that had record-breaking numbers.  This was my view for the weekend.  Not as Regal and Medieval as one might like.  It is the grandstands of the racetrack.  Most of the action was held in the big building next door.

I finished up the “S” pattern rather quickly in anticipation for a demo at the Fairgrounds last weekend.  Since I couldn’t exactly take an empty loom for display, I warped up the first pattern in Applesies & Fox Noses, which is another Iron Age find from Finland.  It almost looks like it was getting warped up and they ran out of thread…or cards…so they just went with what they had.


This is another seriously fast weave.  I have about a yard done already.  I’m looking forward to doing some more out of the book!  This is #1:  Colorful Small Applesies

Here are the pieces that I had on display.  I was next to my weaving buddy, Emma, so I loaned my weaving stuff for her display.  She then won the prize for best display.  Again.  Glad I could help…no, I’m not upset–she puts together a great display!

I also warped up the rigid heddle loom, although I really should have used a smaller yarn; the heddle is too small for this thick yarn.  But hey, it was an experiment.

And finally, I set up and made some progress on the warp-weighted loom.  Although I don’t know if you can legitimately call it a “warp-weighted” loom if the warps are not yet weighted.  I was talking with a couple of other weavers there, and they gave me some really great advise on how to proceed and tips on how to prevent issues.  You can’t see it very well in the display (below) so I took a picture of it set up in my living room.

My artsy-friend and I set up a Lampworking area in the demo hall at the event.  We have great ideas for improvements…although my kiddo is pretty awesome as part of the backdrop.  She very carefully strung 10 feet worth of beads to help reduce the loss (we had a few things disappear from the table…sadly).

I made a few beads on commission for a braid-bearded man…unfortunately, I can’t find the photo now. 🙁


I also made sets of beads for Kingdom largesse.  They are running really low, so they asked for sets of 3–one large and two smaller beads.  I only got 3 sets done, but I hope to make more in the upcoming weeks and deliver them at Kingdom A&S in March.

I don’t know if I can make quick and easy weaving for largesse–maybe I can do some smaller “test” pieces that I will donate.

Applesies & Fox Noses #7: Tree Climbers

(Originally published Feb 2015)

After finishing up the #1 band, Colorful Small Applesies, I started a new project for my dear friend, Bekah.  She chose #7:  Tree Climbers.  It’s a four-color band (could be done with 3, but the edging has a two similar light colors that alternate).

This one is a bit more tricky, but not impossible…after some studying the pattern and experimentation, this is what I came up with:

Turn back all cards – 5 turns

Then turn card numbers:

1-4 back; 5-8 forward; 9-14 back – two turns

1-4 back; 5-10 forward; 11-14 back – 5 turns

1-4 back; 5-6 forward; 7-14 back – 2 turns

When twist is too tight on the outside cards, you can reverse the directions of those cards to untwist…

1-4 forward; 5-10 back; 11-14 forward – 5 turns

1-8 forward, 9-10 back, 11-14 forward – 2 turns

All forward – 5 turns

1-6 forward; 7-10 back; 11-4 forward – 2 turns

The twist on 5, 6, 9, and 10 will continue to build up, so you can either put spinners on those cards or untie and untwist those cards when the twist becomes unmanageable.

If, instead of untwisting, you want to simply reverse the pattern, you can get a mirror image of the pattern.  If you want to try this, you would use:

Turn back all cards – 5 turns

1-4 back; 5-8 forward; 9-14 back – two turns

1-4 back; 5-10 forward; 11-14 back – 5 turns

1-4 back; 5-6 forward; 7-14 back – 2 turns

(just like in the first part…but then…)

1-4 forward; 5-6 back; 7-14 forward – 2 turns

1-4 forward; 5-10 back; 11-14 forward – 5 turns

1-4 forward; 5-8 back; 9-14 forward – 2 turns

All forward – 5 turns

Have fun!

Colorful Small Applesies

(Originally published 2 Feb 2015)

The first pattern in the Applesies book is a fairly simple one-and-a-half pattern…I find this curious.  Did the maker run out of cards?  Or threads?  Or just goof?  Or was this one-and-a-half diamond pattern deliberate?  We’ll never know.

The pattern is easy enough.  After threading with the cards facing right–and remember, because this is a book that is currently being printed and sold, you need to buy the book to get the threading directions (I am only providing a little extra help reading the pattern)–make sure the cards are in the A-D position on top.

There are 11 cards in this little weave, and the turning sequence is quite simple.  The outside cards (three on the left, and two on the right) will continue to turn in the same direction–forward.  The rest of the cards will turn three quarter-turns forward, three quarter-turns backward.  Repeat!  Easy as that.

When the twist gets too much on the outside cards, reverse the direction to turn back instead of forward to untwist.  After another yard or so, you may need to switch back to turning forward again.  When you change directions, there will be a little lump of weft on the edges.  It’s normal.  Don’t worry.  Keep on weaving!

Finished piece–4 yards, about 1/2″ wide

Diagonals….Defeated by Dragons

(Originally published 10 Feb 2015)

This is a moment of sincere frustration.  I found a very cool Dragon Heads pattern called “Dragehoveder” on the Historic Tablet Weaving Facebook page, but despite several attempts, verifying the threading, varying the turning sequences, and a lot of cussing, I finally decided that this was not going to happen.

The threading isn’t very difficult…it’s all dark-light-medium-light…

I struggled with it for hours…literally…weaving, unweaving, cutting it off, trying again. [Later I think I know what I did wrong…]

I didn’t like having the orange-brown in it, either, so I replaced it with white (or rather shifted the grey to the “medium” color and made white the “light” color).  After nearly throwing the loom across the room a few times, I abandoned the idea and made Egyptian Diagonals instead.

It came up to just under 3 yards, which is a yard shorter than my usual trim lengths.  That’s how much loss I had in attempting to make the dragon heads work.  Grrrrr…

Now, if you want to do Egyptian Diagonals, it’s fairly easy!  So here’s now it’s done…

First, thread your cards (I used 14 in the project above):

W: white, G:  grey, N: navy

Egyptian Diagonals
 N  W  G  W  N  W G  W  N  W  G  W  G


OK…Now that it’s all warped up, get your weft anchored and turn a few passes forward to get the tension stabilized.
Each turn is a quarter-turn.  After each quarter turn, throw the shuttle.  Each turning sequence will be done twice.
So, turn all cards back and throw the shuttle.  Repeat.
Turn cards 1 and 2 forward, 3-14 back a quarter turn.  Repeat.
Turn cards 1-4 forward, 5-14 back a quarter turn. Repeat.
Turn cards 1-6 forward, 7-14 back.  Repeat
Turn cards 1-8 forward, 9-14 back.  Repeat.
Turn cards 1-10 forward, 11-14 back.  Repeat.
Turn cards 1-12 forward, 13-14 back.  Repeat.
Turn all cards forward.
Now you’ll reverse stuff…
Turn cards 1-12 forward, 13-14 back.  Repeat.
Turn cards 1-10 forward, 11-14 back.  Repeat.
Turn cards 1-8 forward, 9-14 back.  Repeat.
Turn cards 1-6 forward, 7-14 back.  Repeat.
Turn cards 1-4 forward, 5-14 back.  Repeat.
Turn cards 1-2 forward, 3-14 back.  Repeat.
Turn all cards back.  Repeat.
The problem with this pattern is that the outside cards will be twisted up terribly and the middle cards will twist and untwist evenly.  If you have fishing spinners, this would be the pattern to use them on, otherwise, you will have to untwist your warp several times during your weaving.  Of course, I couldn’t find my spinners and had to untwist four or five times.  Time consuming, for sure.
Easy enough?  You can do it!

Applesies #9

(Originally published Feb 10, 2015)

United Chicken Runs is weave #9 and while I wanted to do #8, I saw this one and went…oooo!

SO, again, while I can’t disclose the threading because it’s *in the book* (which, if you are still reading my blog with interest, you should *totally buy*!), I will explain the turning sequence.

Cards 1-3 and 16-18 need to turn forward all the way through…or switch to turning backwards after it gets too twisted up.
While that’s going on, cards 4-15 will turn back for six turns.
Then 1-3 forward, 4-7 will turn back, 8-11 forward, 12-15 back, 16-18 forward for two turns.
1-3 forward, 4-5 back, 6-13 forward, 14-15 back, 16-18 forward for two turns.
Then mirror…
1-5 forward, 6-13 back, 14-18 forward for two turns.
1-7 forward, 8-15 back, 16-18 forward for two turns.
All forward for 6 turns.

That’s the whole turning sequence!

3 1/2 yards finished.

Applesies #8

(Originally published Feb 15, 2015)

Took a step back (or turned a page back) and started Applesies #8 while visiting with my delightful MIL on Valentine’s Day.  Hubby and his dad went out to the movies, and the ladies stayed behind…I didn’t have any need to see Jupiter Ascending.  This one is called Fine Crooked Knees with Small Applesies.  Maybe it loses something in the translation from Finnish.  I liked the color combination from the sample in the book so much that I decided to copy it…although I used Navy blue instead of black, but otherwise it’s the same.

The turning sequence is as follows:
* with cards A-D on the top, cards 1-9 back, 10-14 forward (x 3)
* all cards back one quarter-turn
* cards 1-5 forward, 6-14 back (x 3)
* cards 1-5 back, 6-14 forward (x 3)
* all cards forward one quarter-turn
* cards 1-9 forward, 10-14 back (x 3)

Now, if you want to have lovely, tidy edges, you could turn cards 1, 2, 13, 14 forward always, then reverse direction when it gets over-twisted.

Applesies #10: Diamond Applesies

(Originally published Feb 17, 2015)

This is one of those patterns that I will need to follow the pattern, step by step, all the way to the end.  This is not an easy repeating pattern that can be memorized…at least by me.  It’s the last of the “easy” patterns…I’m thinking this probably should have been included in the next section.

I had a lot of difficulty choosing colors for this one, but finally settled on navy blue with a blue-grey background and a border of red and rust-orange.

So once you warp up your loom, you will start rotating your cards starting from the BC position.  Your cards will be facing right.

Cards 1-3 and 20-22 will always be turning forward.
Turning sequence is:
First:  1-3 F; 4 B; 5-6 F; 7-9 B; 10-13 F; 14-16 B; 17-18 F; 19 B; 20-22 F
Second:  1-5 F; 6-8 B; 9-14 F; 15-17 B; 18-22 F
Third:  1-4 F; 5-6 B; 7-16 F; 17-18 B; 19-22 F
Fourth:  1-3 F; 4-5 B; 6-17 F; 18-19 B; 20-22 F
Fifth:  1-3 F; 4 B; 5-6 F; 7-16 B; 17-18 F; 19 B; 20-22 F
Sixth:  1-5 F; 6-17 B; 18-22 F
Seventh:  1-4 F; 5-18 B; 19-22 F
Eighth:  1-3 F; 4-19 B; 20-22 F
Ninth:  1-3 F; 4-19 B; 20-22 F
Tenth:  All forward
Eleventh:  All forward
Twelfth:  1-3 F; 4 B; 5-18 F; 19 B; 20-22 F
Thirteenth:  1-3 F; 4-5 B; 6-17 F; 18-19 B; 20-22 F
Fourteenth:  1-4 F; 5-6 B; 7-16 F; 17-18 B; 19-22 F
Fifteenth:  1-5 F; 6-17 B; 18-22 F
Sixteenth:  1-3 F; 4 B; 5-6 F; 7-16 B; 17-18 F19 B; 20-22 F
Seventeenth:  1-3 F; 4-5 B; 6-8 F; 9-14 B; 15-17 F; 18-19 B; 20-22 F
Eighteenth:  1-4 F; 5-6 B; 7-9 F; 10-13 B; 14-16 F; 17-18 B; 19-22 F

See what I mean?  I can’t memorize this.  I was told that you look at the pattern and that will tell you how to turn the cards…it’s a lovely pattern…it’s just going to take some extra time.

The back is EXTRA cool!