Posted by: bschutzgruber | August 12, 2014

Weaving a Tablet Border

On August 8-9-10, 2014 the Michigan League of Handweavers Summer Workshops were held at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.  I received a learning grant from MLH to take the Tablet Borders Woven Simultaneously With Loom Weaving workshop taught by master weaver Inge Dam.

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Originally done on a warp-weighted loom, this type of weaving goes back to Iron Age Scandinavia (500 BCE – CE 800) and combines the use of tablets/cards to weave a band at the same time you are weaving fabric.  Inge’s book Tablet-Woven Accents for Designer Fabrics: Contemporary Uses for Ancient Techniques is a wonderful combination of history and how to.

There were 15 of us in the workshop.

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We arrived with a 6″ wide warp already on our looms.

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Day 1  (3 steps forward….. 4 steps back)

We began with winding out the warp for the tablets.  Buckets and reeds were used help keep the 4 balls of yarn from tangling.  34 tablets were threaded 1 yarn in each hole.

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Next we wound our warp between 2 clamps  – dropping 1 tablet with each pass until all 34 were in a pack on the table.

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At this point the words “Rubber bands are my friend!” became an important mantra to keep the pack together and in order as we now moved the tablets & warp onto our looms….

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The warp yarns were then threaded into the reed in groups without shifting the order of the tablets or dropping any of them onto the floor!

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The warp ends were tied securely to the front breast beam rod and water bottles were attached at the back to tension the warp.

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At this point we were all ready for a lunch break!

After lunch, life got much more exciting for me.  I forgot to rubber band the tablets when I loosened the front ties in an attempted to correct some tension issues and 1/4 of my warp yarns were pulled back through the reed and those tablets fell to the floor = NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!  Luckily the warp yarns stayed in the tablet holes and with Inge’s help, I got the tablets gathered together and the warp reattached to the front rod = whew!!!  The rest of the afternoon was spent untangling the mess of warp yarns I had made.  By the end of the day I finally had everything sorted out.  Time to quit and have a fresh start in the morning!

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Days 2 & 3  (much smoother sailing!!)

To weave the fabric (cream color) & tablet border (blue) at the same time, one shuttle is used to carry the weft across both sections.  I work the loom as I normally do and the cards are rotated by hand 1/4 turn with each pass, either forward or backward, depending on the pattern.  I soon got into a rhythm and was ready to start on the samples/exercises to embellish the tablet border.

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1) Making loops to attach fringes.

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(bottom)  2) Tassles   3) Twining   4) Beaded Edge  (top)

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(bottom)  5) Bead Brocade   6) Selvage Loops  7) Wraped Warps   8) Brocade  (top)

There were breaks throughout each day as Inge talked about the history of tablet weaving….

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explained the samples we would be doing…..

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and gave us a chance to see her fabulous woven garments up close.

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It was a fantastic set of days with a fabulous group of weavers!

TabletBordersMLH2014

 

 

 


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