Weave Along with Elewys, Episode 9: Easy Peasy Applesies

Kaukola Kekomaki #379

If you were to ask me for book recommendations, and you have!, one of the books that I will recommend to every historic tablet weaver is Applesies and Fox Noses, Finnish Tabletwoven Bands from Maikki Karisto and Mervi Pasanen.

Applesies–the Finnish Tablet Weaving Bible

This is a collection of 30 patterns ranging from very easy to difficult, and includes period motifs from tablet weaving fragments found from the Finnish Iron Age, which ranges from 500 BC to 1300 AD.

The other comments I’ve gotten from the Tablet Weaving for Absolute Beginners is that the pattern was too complex. If you want to start your first tablet woven band and want a very easy pattern to start with–this is it!

Kaukola Kekomäki drawing of the book from Theodor Schwint: Tietoja Karjalan  rautakaudestan from 1893 | Tissage tablettes, Archéologie, Carte
Theodor Schwindt’s drawing of fragment #379.

This pattern comes from a fragment found in the Kaukola Kekomaki graveyard dating from the Karelian Iron Age–as mentioned above. This three-color fragment was found on a dress, a detailed drawing of this 14 mm wide band (slightly over 1/2″) is in Theodor Schwindt’s book, Tietoja Karjalan rautakaudesta (“About the Karelian Age”), published in 1893. The item is labeled as #379.

A variation of Colorful Small Applesies from Applesies and Fox Noses, Finnish Tabletwoven Bands by Maikki Karisto and Mervi Pasanen, ISBN 978-952-5774-49-8.

Some of you may have seen this pattern or similar ones on Pinterest or come across it in Google searches. The web site for these two amazing weavers is https://hibernaatio.blogspot.com where they have several other patterns. You may panic for a moment because there are quite a lot of words you don’t recognize…yes, it’s written in Finnish. But DON’T PANIC–if you look carefully, you’ll see there is also English written in there! Not this pattern, of course, but on the web site. It’s OK.

You’ll notice that this pattern doesn’t have S and Z written under the pattern, and you’ll also see that the pattern is labeled DCBA…upside down! And the card is COUNTERCLOCKWISE! AAAAAHHHHH!

No, don’t panic. Let’s plug that into the tablet weaving draft designer: https://jamesba.github.io/tabletweave/ and make the bubbles look the same as the image.

There we go! Now, if you’ve watched my previous weaving videos, or if you’re familiar with this notation, you should be able to warp this one up! And if you’re not familiar with the Applesies charting system, you also now have the key for how their notations will translate into warping your loom.

Ansteorra where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…

This next piece in the Laurel Kingdoms project is honoring the Kingdom of Ansteorra (which means “one star”–totally appropriate for the Lone Star State!), which was elevated from a Principality to a Kingdom in 1979, which encompasses Oklahoma and Texas. Their colors are red, black and yellow.

The progress of my woven piece. Looks pretty sharp! The finished size of this piece is 17 mm, just slightly larger than the original (14 mm).

Ladoga Parte the Seconde

Continuing discussion on object #6…

Every once in a while, you’ll present a woven bit with documentation and someone will say, “Uhhh…that’s not quite right.”

So that just happened.

Luckily, it was presented in a very respectful manner by an influential tablet weaver that I admire…so it’s all good! Thank you, Aisling!

The Ladoga bands appear to be *skip hole* woven, not 4 threads per card. Despite the archaeological sketches and patterns provided in the research, the pattern that was provided doesn’t match the findings. You can see in the text of the Academia.edu paper that it was woven on twelve 4-hole cards with 27 warp threads total. Yeah, 12 times 4 is not 27…. so clearly something was amiss from the beginning. However, unless you add a third thread to one of the cards, you’re not going to come up with an odd number… 12 x 2 is 24; the extra four threads are for border cards; each get 4 threads, which results in 28 warp threads. Perhaps the archaeologists miscounted, or there was some other error in transcription.

So I got back on the tablet weaving generator and worked up a pattern. I warped up my loom (while my German tablet weaving friend slept) and had the pattern and weaving underway by the time she was up and checking her email. She confirmed that I got the pattern right and I was delighted! (Although I later was dissatisfied with it and made a few more alterations…) The result is this new pattern:

Skip hole technique means exactly what you think it does–some of the holes are skipped, that is, left empty, in the threading. If the box is empty, so is that hole.
Now it looks correct!

The result is a very dainty band that measures just under 1 cm wide, even with this 8/4 cotton carpet warp.

Are you confused? Overwhelmed? Not ready for this pattern?

Don’t be cast down, dear weaver; the 4-threads-per-card pattern *works* and gets approximately the right design, but the technique is not period-correct. As a beginner, this is FINE…you get the same look while learning the ropes, but now you know that the period technique is slightly different…and more difficult, so don’t fret if you’re not ready for skip hole. You’ll get there…in this series, even!

The first episode of the YouTube video is in the final stages of editing (it was very long and complex for the Getting Started video–the next ones should come out much more quickly).

Weave Along with Elewys, Episode 2: Ladoga, 10-12th c.

Celebrating East Kingdom!

The Kingdom of the East held its first coronation event in June 1968 (when my husband was only a month old!) It comprises most of New England and five Eastern provinces of Canada; Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Each year, this Kingdom raises an army to battle at Pennsic War, held in Cooper’s Lake, PA. Sadly, it was cancelled for the summer of 2020 due to plague…I mean, the pandemic. Hopefully, it will be back on schedule for 2021! As a longtime member of the SCA (30 years!), the pilgrimage to this war is long overdue.

The Second Kingdom of the SCA, East Kingdom

There is nothing sweeter for a new weaver than to find a period pattern that is attractive and easy to do! While there are several of these, one of my new favorites is the Ladoga narrow band, object #6.

There are a number of tablet weaving patterns that were created during the Norse or “Viking” era—roughly the late 8th to early 11th centuries—in a number of lands that they had contact with.  This, of course, included Russia and various parts of Eastern Europe, which many researchers and re-enactors refer to as the “Viking-Rus”.  These are descendants of the Swedes who raided and traded in the lands from the Baltic Sea coast to the Black Sea.

The savage and feared men of the North reigned supreme in Scandinavia and beyond—basically, anywhere they could get their boats to float, which only requires about three feet of water—that wide, shallow boat design was key.  So while they were raiding and pillaging…I mean, spreading their cultural influence…they also picked up a number of customs, designs, and ornamentation which was brought back to their homes back in the north.

Straraja Ladoga is located about 70 miles east of St. Petersburg, just downriver from Lake Ladoga. Here is where we find the Ladoga Burial Mounds.  It was discovered in 2010 and dating estimates are between the 10th to 12th centuries; spot on with Norse contact and influence. If you’ve developed a Norse persona for the SCA or other medieval re-creation group, LARP, or costume for Halloween or any other occasion, this is a great weave to add that perfect accent to your clothing.

“The original piece has a blue design on a yellow background. The warp threads are red, yellow and blue wool, 0.8 mm thick, with twist S,2z. The weft threads are brown wool 0.6 mm thick with a double Z twist. This ribbon needed 12 tablets with 4 holes in each, producing a density of 27 warps and 8 weft threads per cm.” (https://www.academia.edu/30371327/Kochkurkina_Orfinskaya.Archaeological_textiles_of_the_10th_to_the_12th_century_from_the_Gaigovo_barrow_group_Russia_Leningrad_oblast._Archaeological_Textiles_Review_No._58)

Let’s get started with the Ladoga weave! You will need 12 cards for this pattern, and can use two or three colors, depending on what color you want to use for the borders. My sample is going to use three colors, celebrating the Kingdom of the East! (*See below)

Remember to face your clockwise-labeled cards to the right (counter-clockwise to the left) and thread according to the S and Z on the chart below (S through the left side of the card; Z through the right side).

Start your cards with AD at the top and begin by turning your cards forwards–away from you–for 12 quarter-turns (three full revolutions). Then reverse the center four cards (5, 6, 7, and 8) (turning backwards) for 13 quarter-turns to get a little dot on the side, under the “mountain”.

Then reverse again, turning forward one quarter turn. The pattern will then repeat, so you will do an additional 12 quarter-turns. Essentially, you will be doing 13 quarter turns each direction, with the border cards continuing to turn only forwards. When the border threads become over-twisted, you may flip the cards or reverse direction until they are over-twisted in the opposite direction. Repeat this to the end of the warp.

Note about the border cards: If you are a new weaver and want to keep things simple, turn all the cards forwards 13 quarter-turns, then 13 quarter-turns backwards. However, each time you change direction on the border cards, you will create a funny bump, which is not as attractive.

* I must note: this is a modification from the original, which is a skip-hole design, but this modification gives the beginner an easy pattern to follow and still have a similar result. See the next post for details about the skip-hole directions.

Let me know how yours turned out and let me know if there’s anything you think I need to add to these instructions.

Thanks for joining me!