Tablet weaving is an easy and cheap way to weave. This is a great way to get kids started or to bring a portable project with you. If you don’t bother with the big hunk of wood, it is absolutely portable in a pocket. Even with the hunk of wood, it’s pretty easy to bring with most places.
Notice that the holes around are marked A through D. If you can remember the positioning, you don’t need to mark them this way. If you can’t, then you probably want to mark them and also number your cards. If you don’t want to make your cards, you can buy them from many retailers. I don’t carry any in the store but it looks like The Woolery has a custom set.
In the least, I think it’s helpful to have the cards front and back marked in some way. Whether you are using playing cards and there is an obvious front and back or if you are really crafty and have made a set out of thin card board and have marked something to differentiate the front and back. The reason being, your weaving won’t work if you thread some cards from the back and some from the front. You don’t want it twisted in the middle. This statement will become clearer as we go.
I’m going to give you the pattern for the belt as I have it:
This is what the pattern looks like on paper.
What it means is:
All the holes in card 1 are threaded with grey.
All the holes in card 2 are threaded with burgundy.
All the holes in card 3 are threaded with grey.
All the holes in card 4 are threaded with red.
In card 5 – Hole A and C are threaded with Grey, Holes B and D are threaded with Burgundy.
All the holes in card 6 are threaded with red.
All the holes in card 7 are threaded with grey.
All the holes in card 8 are threaded with burgundy.
All the holes in card 9 are threaded with grey.
To do this pattern you will need:
8 of your set length of red.
18 of your set length of grey.
10 of your set length of burgundy.
This makes up your warp threads
When deciding how long you want your project to be, remember to add in 12 inches that will get used up in knots.
You will also need weft. Colors don’t matter much for this because it won’t show much except a little at the edges. Even though I have shuttles I wanted to make this a totally DIY project so I cut a flap from a box and made it like a little stick shuttle and wound it with several yards of red.
lock the kids in their closet find something constructive for the kids to do so they don’t bother you, then thread one card at a time making sure not to tangle the threads and stacking them up in the right order. My cards look like:
But since you can’t see the yarns too well, they all went in like this:
This is what the cards should like like on their side.
and a sketch because the real life photo isn’t too clear
The threads are all gathered in bottom and top with the cards on their side. Either way is correct. One way is called S and the other Z. You just want to make sure in the weaving you are doing that they are all going the same way. So all threaded S or all threaded Z.
When you have the whole set done, tie the cards together. You don’t want them to twist amongst each other, you want them to stay just like they are, You are going to need to fiddle with tying everything up so it’s safest to tie your cards in their stack so they don’t get messy.
Gather all the strings at one end. You need to tie a knot in the end and tie it to something stable. You can tie it to a handle, a doorknob, your husband if he’s sitting still for any length of time…. Something stable and this is why I made my board, I figured it was the safest place to have a stable place to hold my weaving.
Your weaving needs to be under tension in order to work. The front part of the strings you want to tie to your belt, or the other end of your board like I have it. You want the tension to be tight. You can see on my picture above that to keep the cards all sticking together once I got it all on the board, I put a barrette there to hold it. I didn’t want little fingers getting at it and messing up the cards in any way.
Once you get this far, you are ready to weave. If you tied it up or held the cards in place in some way, you want to release that and start weaving. Your shed is the empty space between the top threads and bottom threads. You see it here:
Put your shuttle through that triangle of empty space. Holding the end of the weft thread beat/pack the thread in using your hand or your shuttle inside the shed.
I actually find it easiest to pack/beat once I’ve changed the shed. So how do we change the shed? You rotate the cards one quarter of a turn forward. I know, this sounds like the part that seems impossible. But it works. Grab the cards firmly and start to turn. In the picture I’m sort of pointing in the direction I’m turning.
and this is when the turn is done.
It happens fast and way easier than it might initially sound. Once you do it, it will seem easy.
This is when I pack, and then I put the shuttle through again – you know that you don’t want to keep putting the shuttle through in the same direction right – you want to keep going Left to right then, right to left then, left to right etc etc. I knew you already knew that, but I wanted to make sure. Then you continue making forward quarter turns, packing and passing the shuttle. Also note that you want to keep the weft tight. If not you’ll end up with little bits showing at the edges like mine does. I’m so used to weaving on a loom where you don’t pull tightly that I keep forgetting.
Some patterns will call for you to make larger turns or backward turns but this pattern we just keep going forward. Not that you can’t go backwards at some point or try other larger turns if you want to. Eventually turning all one way will get your far ends all twisty. Twisty isn’t a problem until it keeps you from being able to make your forward turns.
One way to take care of this is to band your cards together so they don’t get all messed up, then untie the ends that are tiwsted. Untwist them, retie and continue weaving. Or you can choose to turn backwards at this point which will untwist them.
If you want to know more, there are a ton of good sources of information online. And many patterns.
This one is especially good. It’s also where I snagged the 2×4 idea from.