The first thing you’ll need to do tablet weaving is, of course, tablets or cards.
These can be made yourself with a deck of playing cards, a hole punch, sharp scissors, ruler, cutting mat, rotary cutter, template, compass, protractor, slide rule, abacus, battering ram, caffeine, and chocolate…that is, if you’re really OCD about getting the holes lined up perfectly…
OR…you just go online and buy them. They’re inexpensive and durable!
(OK, if you DO want to make your own, here’s an instructable to do it yourself: https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Your-Own-Tablet-Weaving-Cards/. However, if you don’t have a corner trimmer, hole punch, cutting mat and all the things they ask for, it would be cheaper and easier to order some online.)
There are a number of different manufacturers of tablet weaving cards. I have at least five different varieties. I like the Schacht cards that are sold at stores like HalcyonYarn.com or the Woolery (Yarn.com). $8 for a set of 25 cards that are labeled and color coded. I’d recommend getting two sets (50 cards total) to start. The cards will last a long, long, long, long time, so no need to get hundreds, at least to start. Most patterns that we will be doing will require fewer than 25 cards, but it’s always good to have a second set on hand for larger patterns later.
Next, you’ll need to pick your fiber. For a beginner, you’ll want to work with something that is strong, but forgiving, and easy to work with…so put away the silk, linen, and wool for now. The best place to start is with cotton. It’s cheap, strong and doesn’t bind up like other fibers can.
Crochet Cotton is my first pick for a beginner, for those who are looking for readily available and inexpensive materials, which you can find at your nearby hobby store. The limitation with this stuff is that they usually only have 4 or 5 colors at the store—white, baby blue, floofy pink, minty green and pale yellow. If you can find more saturated colors—red, black, dark blue…go for it! Just be sure to get contrasting colors—light and dark. Think of what colors go well together–yellow, white and black; blue, green and white; yellow and red…anything that will make one color pop against another! If you use two colors of the same intensity, the pattern may get lost.
Pearl Cotton is another good choice. They come in lots of colors and work very nicely. Note: the higher the number, the finer the threads; the size 5 or 8 are best. Size 10 is fine, but might be challenging. Size 12 is too fine for a beginner. Unfortunately, they come in such small spools of about 87 yards each, so you can warp up about 5 cards per spool (depending on the length of your project). At about $3 a ball; it can run you $15-30 per project…or more. Look for large spools online at the Woolery or the Yarn Barn of Kansas, or ask if your local hobby shop can order them for you.
Maysville Carpet Warp has been my go-to thread. If you have a weaving store nearby, you can see if they carry it, or you want to order online. It has about 800 yards on a $9 spool, so it’s a great option. It’s a bit thicker than crochet cotton (like the size 5) and comes in about 70 different colors. Eugenetextilecenter.com, Yarn.com and the Woolery all carry it.
For the upcoming videos, this is the type of yarn I’ll be using for the demonstrations.
Ready! Let’s weave!