Advanced Cardweaving: Ram’s Horn Pattern

(Originally posted 5 Dec 2014)

end-of-nov-2015-343

I’ve been watching a card weaving Facebook page and several people have asked about how to do the Ram’s Horn pattern.  It’s not a beginner’s pattern, for sure, but with an understanding of how the cards are set up and turning patterns of the cards, you, too, should be able to produce a lovely woven Ram’s Horn band.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Don’t worry–go step by step, and you’ll have this one by the horns!

Now, it should be noted, for those who are big into the recreationist groups like the SCA, this is not a period piece.  Historically, the only mention I can find is from a web site that reads:  “The Ram’s Horns pattern popularlized by Crockett’s “Card Weaving” book comes from the 20th century Anatolian (Turkish) belts and it has not equivalent in archeological finds.” http://weavedmagic.deviantart.com/journal/Origins-of-most-popular-tablet-weaving-patterns-394709084

So let’s get to the full color demonstration of this pattern!  READY?

If you’re not sure if you’re going to like it, or if you suspect you might get frustrated from trying and pitch it across the room, you may want to try a short piece first. Don’t warp up the loomzilla for this first project.  When I first tried this pattern, I did one-yard lengths for each thread, just to test it out.  I ended up getting about a foot done before I knew I needed to do a larger piece!

Supplies needed:

  • 3 colors of carpet warp or crochet cotton thread–I used Maysville 8/4 Carpet Warp.  It’s good stuff, heavy duty and will make great belts, bag straps, and heavy trim (it’s not delicate and as flexible as finer threads, but a great place to start).
  • 22 cards–mine are the store-bought 3″ cards with ABCD labeled in clockwise order.  (European cards are labeled in reverse)
  • 1 loom–I use an inkle loom that weaves up to 4 yards of trim, which makes it portable and if I need to run to grab the phone or pick up the kids, I can set it down and walk away.  Can’t do that with backstrap weaving.

When choosing the thread, you will need a light color, a medium color, and a dark color.  High contrast is important in this pattern!

You will warp it up with the #1 card on the left; #22 card on the right, reading the pattern just like reading a book.  The next thing to note is that, for this pattern, you should have the top surface of the cards facing *left*.  If you have the cards facing right, the pattern will show up on the bottom side of the weaving.  Also, and the pattern (above) has the rows lettered backwards–D, C, B, A.  (If they were lettered A, B, C, D, you would have to face your cards to the right–good tip to note for when you find future patterns!)

Ominous music sounds!

This is the pattern for the dreaded Ram’s Horn pattern.  Some people dread it, but it’s really not that bad!  I love this pattern and I’ve made a few pieces with this pattern and while it’s not from the Medieval period (for those SCA recreationists out there), it sure looks great and the technique of turning the cards is all the same from ancient times.

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First, a note.  I mark my cards.  In this set, I’ve colored the AD side blue, and the BC side pink.  This is the way I can tell when I’m back in the home position.

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Just a refresher:  Each column in the pattern is marked with S or Z.  Some patterns will be marked with \ for S or / for Z, but since this font doesn’t have a significant slant, it can look a bit more confusing, so I’ve used the letters instead.  Many new weavers get confused about how to do S and Z threading.  This is one of the best diagrams I’ve found to remind yourself how the threads go through the cards.

You’re looking at each card from its side–the S threading has the yarn coming through the front of the card towards you; the Z threading has the yarn coming through the back of the card towards you.
Now you’ve got the pattern, the threads, the cards, and a refresher on S and Z threading.  Go ahead and thread up your loom…I’ll wait.  (I often put in a movie that I’ve seen a dozen times so I have something to listen to while I work.)
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Hot mess….

[dooo-do-dooooo…deee-daaah-dee….]

OK.  Now your loom is threaded and you have a shuttle loaded (I recommend using the same color as the thread on the border–in this case, a dark red–to make it blend in, but some people like to make it stand out as an added pattern on the edge.  Your choice!)  Ready to start?
The pattern alternates between the cards moving together, as a pack, for four quarter-turns, and then some of the cards turning in opposite directions for four quarter-turns.
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There’s no place like home!
To begin the pattern, turn all the cards so it has A & D at the top (the blue side), like the image above.  This is the “home” position.  Throw your shuttle and turn the cards one quarter-turn away from you (forward).  Do this for four quarter-turns away from you, then for four quarter-turns toward you (back), throwing the shuttle after each quarter-turn, just to anchor everything together and adjust your tension.
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Visual cues in sorting cards–the ones nearest you will turn toward you; the ones further away will turn away from you.

Then you can start splitting the deck!  The cards now will turn in groups in opposite directions for four quarter-turns.  First separate the cards into groups.  Slide the cards 1 & 2 toward you, 3-5 away from you, 6 & 7 toward, 8-15 away, 16-17 toward, 18-20 away, 21-22 toward.  See the picture above?  That’s how it should look.

20141206_846
This might help give you a visual…
Now the cards will turn in the direction that they have been placed.  The cards closest to you will turn towards you (BACK); the ones further away will turn away (FORWARD).  Turn all cards a quarter-turn and throw the shuttle.  Turn another quarter-turn and all the cards will have the red side facing up.  Make two more quarter-turns, throwing the shuttle between, until the cards are back to the home position again.
Once at the home position, all the cards will turn together for four quarter-turns.  Since the first two cards were turning back in the last round, *all* the cards will turn back in this round.  Turn back for four quarter-turns, throwing the shuttle between each quarter-turn.
Then, split the deck again, same as before.  Repeat and you will see the ram’s horns appear!  Yes, you will see a dimple after each repeat.  Don’t panic!  When you switch directions in turning the cards, a tiny hole can appear in the middle and the weft shows through.  If you don’t want the dimple, you can change your weft thread to match the middle, but then it’ll show on the border, unless you also change the border color to match.20141206_851
So, in brief, here’s the turning directions:
1.  Turn all the cards four quarter-turns BACK, throwing the shuttle between each quarter turn.  End in the home position.

2.  Slide cards 1-2 back, 3-5 forward, 6-7 back, 8-15 forward, 16-17 back, 18-20 forward, 21-22 back.  Turn cards 1/4 turn in opposite directions (forward cards forward; backward cards back).  End in home position.

Repeat steps one and two to your heart’s content!

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Some strings, like people, are more twisted than others.

The observant weaver will note that since some of the threads are always turning back and the rest turn forward four and backward four, that some of the threads are going to build up a great twist in it.  This will shorten the warp length for those threads, but not the rest, causing tension issues.

fishing-spinners-weaving

Some people have tried (with varying success) to use fishing spinners that will untwist the threads as you go.  This is great if you’re doing backstrap weaving or have a long span that your warp is spread out, but I use this inkle loom and the twist builds up between the cards and the first or second peg and stops there.  You *can* move the twist down the entire length, around each of the pegs to get the spinners to untwist, but it’s time-consuming and can be frustrating.

The other thing you can do is carefully untie the threads that are twisted, untwist them, and re-tie…this is also time-consuming and can be frustrating.  I’ve done it…a couple times.

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But the other option that works well with this pattern is to simply change directions to untwist every few repeats.  You could do every couple of horns, six horns, eight horns…whatever you desire.  The question is, at what point in the pattern do you change directions?

In this pattern you were repeating steps 1 and 2, now you have to take steps 3 and 4 to go the opposite direction!

3.  Slide cards 1-2 forward, 3-5 back, 6-7 forward, 8-15 back, 16-17 forward, 18-20 back, 21-22 forward.  Turn cards 1/4 turn in opposite directions (forward cards forward; backward cards back).  End in home position.

4.  Turn all cards for four quarter-turns forward.  End in home position.

You will repeat this pair of steps until the twist builds up in the opposite direction.  Then you’ll change directions again, finishing step 4, then going back to step 1 and 2.

Now you can weave your Ram’s Horns and show your Advanced Card Weaving skills to all your friends!

Good luck!
Elewys of Finchingefeld, GdS, JdL
Barony of Aquaterra, Kingdom of An Tir

Lazy Kate for Elewys

(Originally posted Dec 19, 2014)

Frustrated with spools of thread bouncing all over the place or having to keep the spools in bowls that inevitably tip over, I decided to make myself a cheap Lazy Kate.  At first, I looked at the scrap lumber I had sitting around and wondered if I could find a drill bit, and where I would find the nails, and setting up the table saw to cut things….and then decided to make it a bit simpler.

Here’s what I did…

Found a box in the garage from our most recent shipment of medical supplies.  We get a few of these every month, so there’s no shortage here, in a variety of sizes and shapes.  I picked a smallish one.

I found a 1/2″ dowel in the wood shop, just the right size to fit through the center of the spools of carpet warp.

Poked a hole about 2 inches down from the top edge of the box large enough to fit the dowel in.

Threaded the dowel through and eyeballed it so it was relatively straight and level, and pressed down on the cardboard on the opposite side of the box.

Used the scissors to make the hole on the other side, and threaded the dowel through.

Mounted the spools onto the rod, which greatly increased the speed at which I could warp my loom!

Advanced Card Weaving: Birka 6, the Kivrim Band

I’ve been working on an “Introduction to Card Weaving” post, but ran into some technical difficulties Several hours into creation, the computer shut down, and inexplicably, the post was not saved, despite my having clicked on the “Save” button numerous times throughout the process.  I have no idea what happened, but it was a significant set back.  Images gone.  Text gone.  My mini glossary gone.  In many ways, it was almost back to the first outline I created.  Seriously frustrating.  Hopefully I can get that back up to where it was and get it posted soon.

In the meantime, I will post a quick lesson on Advanced Card Weaving.  There are many different Kivrim patterns which apparently means “Bent” (although Google Translate doesn’t have the word in its dictionary for any language).  This is a split-pack weaving technique, which means that the cards will be turning in different directions, singly or in groups.  Proper threading and turning will result in some stunning patterns!  You can find several different varieties on the Loomy Bin, including the Egyptian Diagonals patterns.

This was a great lesson for me to learn how to read patterns that have no instructions–that is, those that have slashes in the boxes that change from left-leaning to right-leaning; from slash to back-slash.  I had never done such a thing before, so I feel like I made a huge leap forward in my tablet-weaving journey.

Here’s an example of one of those patterns…

Muster zum Brettchenweben: Diagonalmuster - Kivrim

Looks confusing, doesn’t it?  Well, my brain doesn’t like looking at it.  I prefer to have it written out, which can take some time doing the translation.  I had the same issue when I was learning to knit, so perhaps in time, I will be able to look at this kind of pattern and untangle it in my head, but for now…it’s long hand.

The pattern I decided on was Birka 6, one of several card woven bands found at Birka, a former trade site in Sweden which uncovered a great number of artifacts in an archaeological dig.
Birka 6
The bottom four rows are, of course, the threading diagram.  The cards are threaded DCBA, so face those cards left!  I chose two colors, a dark burgundy red and pale yellow for my project.

Looking at the diagram, you will see the first six cards are Z threaded, and the last five are S threaded.  Here’s a great diagram to remember how Z and S threading works:
Z and S Threading for tablet weaving
If you’re weaving along with me, go ahead and get out your thread, your cards, your loom, and warp up your cards!  I’ll just go make a cuppa and meet you back here….

Ready?  Great!

Through experimentation, I discovered that you start this pattern with the AD position on top.  For the first four quarter-turns, you turn the cards away from you, which will form the V formation as you see in the threading diagram.  We’ll call this motion “Forward” (since it appears to be the industry standard, although it feels backward in my mind…).  This first few rows will, of course, look sloppy and messy…as an experienced weaver, you know it always does at the beginning!

The next phase is looking at the boxes where the slashes change direction–that indicates a reverse in the card direction.  The author of this image made dark lines every two rows, which conveniently points out that the pattern of card-turning changes every two rows.  You will turn the cards two quarter turns, passing the shuttle for every quarter-turn, then adjust your cards for the next two rows.

Here is what I charted out (and you’ll forgive me for not following the pattern exactly and changing directions of the first and last cards on the selvage–I never liked the idea of two cards constantly twisting up in one direction while the others moved forward and back equally.  It does make the edges a little more rough, so if you want smooth edges, turn them only forward and you can always reverse to only backwards after a while.)  These directions are written so each “turn” is a quarter-turn of the cards, and the shuttle is thrown every quarter-turn.

A)  Turns 1-4:  turn all forward
B)  Turns 5-6:  1-6 Forward; 7-8 Back; 9-11 Forward
C)  Turns 7-8:  All Back
D)  Turns 9-10:  1-6 Back, 7-8 Forward; 9-11 Back
E)  Turns 11-12:  1-3 Forward; 4-6 Back; 7-11 Forward
F)  Turns 13-14:  1-5 Forward; 6 Back; 7-11 Forward
G)  Turns 15-16:  1-3 Back; 4-6 Forward; 7-11 Back
H)  Turns 17-18:  1-5 Back; 6 Forward; 7-11 Back
I)  Turns 19-20:  All Back


If you are doing the edges all one direction, the directions are:
A)  Turns 1-4:  turn all forward
B)  Turns 5-6:  1-6 Forward; 7-8 Back; 9-11 Forward
C)  Turns 7-8:  1 Forward; 2-10 Back; 11 Forward
D)  Turns 9-10:  1 Forward; 2-6 Back, 7-8 Forward; 9-10 Back; 11 Forward
E)  Turns 11-12:  1-3 Forward; 4-6 Back; 7-11 Forward
F)  Turns 13-14:  1-5 Forward; 6 Back; 7-11 Forward
G)  Turns 15-16:  1 Forward; 2-3 Back; 4-6 Forward; 7-10 Back; 11 Forward
H)  Turns 17-18:  1 Forward; 2-5 Back; 6 Forward; 7-10 Back; 11 Forward
I)  Turns 19-20:  1 Forward; 2-10 Back; 11 Forward

When the cards have twisted too far in one direction and it starts to affect your tension, reverse the cards 1 and 11 to Back, which will untwist them.  When they are twisted too far in the opposite direction, start turning forward again.

Here’s the finished piece!  It’s only 5′ 6″ (not quite 2 feet), but since it was a test piece, I didn’t want to make a full-length 4-yard piece if I didn’t find it fun or workable.

I hope these instructions help you to make your own Birka band.  Good luck!  I hope to see lots more period pieces made and displayed on garb at upcoming events!

Beginning Card Weaving: Getting Started

Card Weaving (aka Tablet Weaving) is an older-than-you-think weaving technique of making narrow bands or finished edging on other woven goods.  It’s been found in Egyptian digs and Iron Age Finnish digs–and that’s a lot of geography in between!

While it would be fun to go into all the history and things, you can find all that elsewhere, like here, and here, and any number of available books on the market.

But I’m here to provide you with a step-by-step guide to starting your first tablet weaving project (or offer a refresher course if it’s been a while).  I’ve got two different projects going on in these photos…I apologize if this is confusing.

First you may need a quick overview of some of the weaving terms.
Warp – the threads that run the length of the work–on a bolt of fabric, it would be the 15 yards’ length
Weft – the threads that run back and forth through the warp for the width of fabric.
Cards / Tablets – same thing.  Four- or six-hole cards for weaving.
Shuttle – item the weft threads are wrapped around and is used for beating rows of weaving
Beating – the pressing down of each pass of the shuttle to compress the threads
Shed – opening between the top and bottom threads through which the shuttle passes.
Turning – changing the shed with the cards by rotating 1/4 turns

The supplies are rather simple:

  • 2 to 3 colors of carpet warp or crochet cotton thread, high contrast–light, medium, dark. You can pick up crochet cotton pretty cheaply at just about any craft store.  Michael’s, JoAnn’s, Walmart…whatever is closest to you. There are also several online options, like yarn.com, dickblick.com and greatnorthernweaving.com.
  • 4-hole cards which can be purchased here, or here in packs of 25, or you can make your own here.  I’ve seen people make them out of playing cards or cereal boxes or even bar coasters, but just be sure that the holes punched in them all line up.
  • A loom.  This is the trickiest bit.  Some people like to have a backstrap loom, which means you anchor it to your waist by a belt then another fixed point, like a doorknob or a railing.  This rather limits mobility, especially if you can only weave for a few minutes here and there, so others prefer to use a loom.  Inkle looms are popular, especially if you are also interested in inkle weaving (two-shed weaving with heddles instead of cards).

Mini Inkle Loom, Tablet Weaving, Card Weaving Loom With Double Tension System - Handcrafted From Solid Maple & Red Oak - 15 Inch<— Some are miniature and only weave a couple yards of very narrow or delicate bands…

Card / Inkle weaving loom - 100 percent red oak/maple/walnut/cherry 18 yard warp

<—…others are enormous and can weave 18 yards or more of serious trim.  Note that there are *two* sliding tension bars!

There are ways to create some simple loom systems that involve clamps and 2 x 4s…you’ll have to do some research on the internet or Pinterest and find a loom system that will work for you.  There are plans to make a quick-and-dirty loom from PVC for about $10.

For a first weaving project or for testing new patterns, I would recommend starting with short lengths; try a one-yard project.  If, after warping up 18 yards of a Loomzilla, you may decide that you hate the pattern and it’ll take forever to take it apart and could result in yards of wasted materials.  I warped up a loom for four yards of a brocade weaving project that I abandoned about 10″ in.  Luckily, I was able to use the thread for a 3 yard weaving project later.

If this is your first project, starting with something simple is the way to go.  This is a nice one from the Evil Queen of Spades on DeviantArt.com (sorry it’s blurry):

If you follow the link, you will see she’s got a number of great patterns with both 4-hole and 6-hole cards (which, for beginners, is more advanced card weaving that you don’t need to get involved in yet).  I have tried several of them and love the way you can make it very different just by changing colors.  Most look just like this pattern above–no card or hole numbering.  I’ll help you bridge that gap.

I did this up on Excel, which is how I do a lot of my patterns.  Some people like to use GTT or the Loomybin, but I’ve had difficulty getting them to work for me.  It’s not the programs’ fault–I’m just not that computer-savvy.

As you can see from this pattern, this one needs 12 cards. You will warp it up with the #1 card on the left, the #12 card on the right, just like reading a book.  Number all your cards on the backs, 1-12 (in pencil). This will help you keep them organized.

The front of the cards have four holes, labeled A, B, C and D.  Each hole will have one string in it; four strings per card.  If you look above at the pattern, each square represents one thread.  On Card 2, hole A is yellow, B is yellow, C is pale blue, and D is green; that’s four threads running through one card.

The next logical question is “what is S and Z under the rows?”  This is the way each card is threaded.  This makes the threads angle inward or outward to create a pattern.  It can make a difference between a wiggly line and a fuzzy line on your band.  When you thread the card, all the threads must go through the card the same way–you can’t have some of them S threaded and some Z threaded.  That just won’t work.

As you can see from this diagram (the card is the dark line in the center), S threading has the threads going from the back of the loom through the card from left to right.  Z threading goes from right to left.
Z and S Threading for tablet weaving

  

So above are two pictures:  the left is S threaded–the threads go from the top peg through the front of the card…the right is Z threaded–the threads go from the top peg through the back of the card.

Warping board:
If you are using a warping board, you will need 18 dark strands, 20 medium strands, and 10 light strands of string.  Since I use an inkle loom, I warp as I go, so I don’t need to pre-cut any threads.

Warping:
If you are using an inkle, move your tension rod to the longest position.  On my loom, because it has a switch-back, it’s to the far right.  (PS – the green elastic on there is to hold my shuttle during transport…this isn’t an essential part of the loom.)

Lazy Kate:
In order to more easily pull threads to warp your loom, you may want to construct a Lazy Kate.  There are some fancy ones out there that you can buy, but I went the quick-and-dirty route by using a cardboard box and a 1/2″ dowel.  Punched a couple holes in the box with a pair of pointy scissors, threaded the dowel through, and boom!  Lazy Kate.

With all the spools on the Lazy Kate, you can pull all colors at once, saving precious time.

As I said, you will warp it up with the #1 card on the left, the #12 card on the right, and you will have the the top surface of the cards (with ABCD) facing left.  If you have the cards facing right, the pattern will show up on the bottom of the weaving.  Also, note that the pattern is lettered DCBA from top to bottom.  If your pattern is written up as ABCD, the cards will have to face right…but that’s notes for future pattern.

Tying the ends.
When I warp my loom, I leave long 3″ tails for each thread.  I put all four threads for one card together and tie the beginning and ends in a square knot.  If there is an issue with one thread being too loose or breaking, you can much more easily fix it by isolating that one card and fixing the problem.  Tying them individually can also create tension problems and mean four times as many knots in the end.  Remember back to your Girl Guide or Scouting days–right over left and under, left over right and under.

Actually, I like to use a surgeon’s knot, which is left over right and under twice, then right over left.  This helps secure the knot and also makes untying the knots easier at the end.  The warp needs to be taut, but you don’t need to pull the warp super-tight.  Too much tension on the warp can warp your pegs…so to speak.

Once all the cards are threaded and the tension looks even, it’s time to begin!

Notes on shuttles.
Shuttles can be just about anything you want to use.  I’ve used wooden rulers to hand-carved shuttles by masters of the craft.  As long as it’s rigid, does the job, and is comfortable for your hands, it’s all good.  Bonus:  wooden rulers can be found for under a buck.

Wind several yards of weft threads (that’s the name for the thread that goes from side to side–or from wight to weft…as I say…) onto your shuttle.  Generally speaking, you will want to use the same color thread as the threads on the #1 and #12 cards (or whichever is the last card on the right).  This will help blend the weft into the edges so any little mistakes in tension won’t be glaringly obvious.

Turning the cards.
For this pattern, all the cards will turn 1/4 turn in the same direction.  After four quarter-turns, you will reverse the direction and weave in the opposite direction.

 
As you can see in this image, I have colored one edge of the cards with a red permanent marker–this is the BC side.  On the opposite side, the AD side, I have colored the edges blue.  This helps you make sure you know where you are during the weaving process.  The blue edge, when A and D are on the top, is the “home” position for many patterns.  You can, of course, reverse directions at any time, but if you are going for a repeating pattern, knowing the home position is important.

Pass the shuttle through the shed (the opening between the upper and lower threads), and pull the thread down towards the knots on your warp.  Turn all the cards 1/4 turn and pass the shuttle again.  Press down–beat–with your shuttle.

 

You’ll note that there’s a little loop on the right side–this is left back to help maintain good tension.  You don’t want to get wobbly edges, so when you weave follow these steps:

*  Pass the shuttle, leaving a loop behind
*  Turn the cards
*  Beat
*  Pull the weft thread to incorporate loop
*  Then repeat!

After a time, it becomes rather meditative.

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