My explorations of medieval and not-so-medieval crafts, particularly tablet weaving and other ways of playing with string. Weaving, twining, wire knitting, sewing and more! I plan to include both the progress of my projects and the progress of my research into the history of various patterns and techniques.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Birka Back on Track

At last I tackled my threaded in Birka project again and this time I got it back on track. Once I backtracked enough to know where I'd gone wrong and why, and to establish where in the pattern I was, I marked my place, then hastily returned to the computer and made a turning chart specifically for the "reversed" turning pattern.

It was on coincidence that I'd been derailed about an inch after I'd changed directions. The first time through the reversed sequence I was excruciatingly careful to turn everything the right way, but on the second time through I began to relax and weave "normally" again, convinced I'd gotten the direction change to work. Unfortunately I was simply using my original turning cheat sheet turned upside down as my reminder. Well, clearly I was a bit inconsistant in remembering to reverse everything I came to. Some things were reversed, and other things I'd done just as they read on the page. Disaster!

I've woven up another couple inches with my new "reversed" turning chart. I did it in different colors even so I wouldn't mix them up. It seems to be working. No doubt I'll find my rhythm with this one just as I did with the Rams Horn and variants and the Anglo-Saxon diamonds before it. Till then, I'm sticking to my turning chart like felted wool.


  1. I took a workshop on Finnish Iron-Age tablet weaving at the European Textile Forum this past week. Loved it. It was taught by Maikki Karisto, who has published the first book on tablet weaving in the Finnish Language,_maikki/lautanauhat-9190221 (not that I think you'd want it, due to language issues, but it is a pretty book with nice photos, and it seemed reasonable to include a link if I mention it).

    In addition to introducing us to patterns from Finnish finds (she had a variety of warps all set up and ready for us to play), she also taught me a cool edge trick. Instead of weaving normally, have three boarder cards on each side of the project, each threaded with a single colour. Then each time you insert the weft lift the three cards on the side of the project you are inserting the weft and go under them, then pull through the normal shed for all of the other cards. This gives a tiny hollow tube at the edge of the project, so the weft is not visible at all, and makes for a very slight ridge at the edges. Very pretty. Also a *huge* pain to undo the weaving should you need to.

  2. So, to clarify, you go out through the normal shed of the end cards, turn everything that's getting turned, but then duck under the end cards on your way back in. Right? The first time through I was picturing always going under the end cards but that would never secure them to the rest of the weaving.

    In Collingwood I saw some mention of some bands with one or two loose threads at the edges. He hasn't yet mentioned what effect that has on appearance and I haven't mused on it long enough to figure out myself. With single loose threads, you'd have to go around them to tuck them into the weaving, so you wouldn't have benefit of hiding the weft like you do with the technique you described.

    I may have to try the end tube technique at some point...on some project that I can do with few errors. On my current project I make a mistake and have to backtrack approximately every 10-15 minutes. Then again, its the most complex pattern I've ever tried and so interwoven a design that it's hard to keep track of where you should be by looking at it--unlike things like diamonds or rams horn "hooks" where you can see right where in the pattern you are.

    I'm very jealous of you and your class! I've had very little face to face time with people who know more about tablet weaving than myself. And I've had trouble finding trends in period patterns broken down by region...or at all. Most approaches to tablet weaving tend to be about what you *can* do, or perhaps the whole range of what they did with the form pre-1600. I really need to find more sources dealing with the actual finds.