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Tablet Woven Band


My first tablet woven band after the latest round of classes. It is also the longest single tablet woven band, and all done in the same mind numbing pattern, 4F/4B, all 40 odd inches of it.

I had measured 47″ (maybe, I forgot, but I think that’s what it is) on the loom, but off loom and relaxed, it was only about 42″. That is 10% take up! It’s one thing to be told to expect take up but to actually measure it out, it hits home. This mattered because I wanted finished ends, not just cut to length. Good thing I spaced out and wove extra on the extra that I already planned for.

What is it for? It will be a the band for a D-Ring belt. It’s a sample for a more complex pattern that I have in mind. This was made with #10 crochet cotton. The real thing might be tencel. I haven’t decided yet.

SOAR Workshop


Spun Silk on Bobbins

SOAR was fabulous as usual. It’s always wonderful to spend time with people with the similar passions. The creative energy is so strong that it is almost tangible.

My 3 day workshop this year is with John Mullarkey on Tablet Weaving for Spinners. I’ve taken several tablet weaving workshops in the past, even one with John. I’ve taken silk spinning classes before. But this time, the workshop combined the two — spinning silk specifically for tablet weaving.

Tablet Loom

Tablet Loom

I have woven bands with my own hand spun silk in the past, but they were inkle bands. The threads had fuzzed up during the weaving process. With tablets, I expect even more abrasion. So I wanted to see how John spins the silk to withstand the abuse.

We spent a bit of time on the basics with some 10/2 cotton warp he had set up before we started spinning.

The orange and the purple threads in the above right photo were spun on the wheel. The green/yellow and turquoise were spun on my Golding drop spindle. I have found that I get better twist and ply consistency with my spindle spun than on the wheel. I’m not a treadle counter but more of a tactile spinner. With the drop spindle, I spend a bit more time touching the threads before winding on.

Spinning these threads on a drop spindle takes a bit longer but it is also more portable. Besides, tablet weaving requires very little yardage. (I found out that I’m really bad at estimating yardage. As in, I spun about 3x more than what I needed.)

Band on the Loom

Band on the Loom

My default silk spinning is pretty fine. I didn’t want to mess with it because I was in the midst of spinning silk for a different project. I was afraid that if I changed the grist for the class, I might have problems with the other project.

The band at right used 12 cards. My woven band was about 1/4″ wide. The other bands in the class ranged from 1/2″ to 1″. Yeah, I’m glutton for punishment.

The colors I chose didn’t have enough color and shade contrast to show up well with the fine threads. You have to look close under good light but it was enough to keep me going.

We all wove the same draft. It was amazing how different everyone’s bands looked based on color and thread size. More experiments!

Of course, I couldn’t just turn cards the same way the entire time. I played around a bit on the same warp: fish going in one direction, then the other with a pair of kissing fish where they met; crosses; ovals; and arrows.


Tablet Woven Silk Band


Barbara and I were chatting about band weaving and she mentioned that she wanted to weave her own labels using the instructions from Weave-Away’s post. Armed with that information and a copy of Linda Hendrickson’s tutorial, I pulled out my Palmer Tablet Loom, tablets, and some spools of polyester interlock thread.

What you see above is the result of about 6 hours of weaving with 24 cards. What you don’t see are the warm ups (aka false starts) that I cut out. I had modified the alphabet Linda provided in her tutorial a bit to better match the font in my blog masthead. Letters are a little lighter weight and the “g” is a bit more stylized. The graph was still not perfect but it was enough to test it out and see how it will work.

Anyway, it’s an interesting idea, but I can think of much better ways of spending my time. I can weave a towel in under 2 hours, probably closer to 4 towels in 6 hours. Even if I get faster with more experience on the tablets, it’s just not the best use of my time. I can’t imagine weaving these labels for all of my projects.

My current method works okay — just okay, but it works well for towels. I don’t like labels on scarves (they always show no matter how artfully you arrange it) nor clothes (they always itch and scratch in the most uncomfortable places). If I were to ever sell my handwoven goods, I will order some woven labels. Until then, I will continue to use my little iron-ons on twill tape. If I have something really special that I want to label, I might, just might, pull out the tablets again and weave my own labels. Before I do that though, I will need to tweak the letter templates a bit more to better match my masthead font.

In any case, I am ready for my tablet weaving class with John Mullarkey at CNCH next month!

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