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Friday, 12 August 2022

Blurb Hardcopy Sale

This weekend my publisher, Blurb.com, are running a 20% off sale event this weekend (15th August-17th August, ending at 11.59pm local time). You can find the links to the sale pages for all my books here and in the right bar to the right. Just use the code BOOKSMARTS at checkout to get the discount on all hardcopies.

Monday, 11 July 2022

Book News!

Since January this year, I've been working on my next book project. I'm really excited to share it with you and it should hopefully be ready to publish towards the end of September. 

It's an exploration of medieval tablet woven orphreys (gold bands found on ecclesiastical vestments), looking at 8 different extant objects, with plenty of background notes on each of them. I've translated many of the motifs into other tablet woven structures, including: warp-twining, simple double-face, warp-floats, threaded-in, Icelandic vacant-hole, and two-hole weaving, as well as two bands brocaded like the originals. I'm also including information about weaving in each of the structures and instructions on reducing the number of tablets if desired. 

There will be 14 bands, using numbers of tablets ranging from 18 to 80, for you to weave and a total of 78 individual drafts to mix and match. They are a variety of different difficulty levels, making the book accessible for beginners and more experienced weavers alike. 

I'm looking forward to seeing the bands people weave from it!

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Minions

I originally designed and wove this draft back in 2015 and shared in the Baelfyr (the Insulae Draconis SCA group newsletter), but it never made it as far as the blog. While the draft for this band is my own invention, the subject, Minions, belongs solely and completely to Universal Studios.

A short section of tablet woven band showing little yellow men in blue overalls, photographed against a grassy background

It was an interesting one to weave, as I was swapping out threads on the fly when they weren't giving me the effect I wanted. I cut the offending thread 5cm away from the edge of the band, pulled it out of its tablet, cut a new piece to length, tied it onto the back of the loom, threaded it through the tablet, then tied it on to the cut end of the old thread. The result was somewhat messy, but each thread swap got me closer to what I was hoping for. Unfortunately, I don't have much of the finished band, as it went to live with a friend. If I was to weave it again, I would use a white weft rather than a blue one, to avoid the little blue dots on the background between the Minions.

A tablet weaving draft formed from two grids, each filled with diagonal ovals in white, blue, yellow, grey and black.

You can download the .tdd file for this draft by clicking here

You can download the text version for this draft by clicking here

To form the black eye dots, thread a needle with black yarn, the same as the one used in the warp, held doubled and make small running stitches across the diamond goggle section, carrying the thread behind the band between stitches.


As with all of the free drafts/patterns on this site, you are welcome to weave them, sell bands woven using them, and use them to teach other weavers, just as long as you state where you found them.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

A Study in Stripes

A photograph of two lengths of tablet woven band, laid horizontally across the frame and patterned with a full spectrum of colours, with black as a contrast, in a variety of different widths and lengths of diagonal line

I designed and wove this band to play around with diagonal lines of different widths way back in 2016, when I first started trying to write about tablet weaving in earnest. The draft for it has been requested over on Instagram (you can find me there as @tabletweaving), so I'm taking the time to give it a proper write up. As it's one of my experimental samples, there are 4 different turning sequences to try, all of which are twist neutral for the pattern tablets. Bonus points if you can identify the book that the name refers to! 

The definite star of this draft is the tubular spectrum by Lunatic Fringe Yarns. I used their black 10/2 mercerised cotton alongside (in the same order as in the draft, from left to right) #10 yellow, #10 green yellow, #10 green, #10 blue green, #10 blue, #10 purple blue, #10 purple, #10 red purple, #10 red and #10 yellow red, all also in 10/2 mercerised cotton. Mercerised cotton is really smooth and strong and a dream to tablet weave with, so I would recommend this yarn to both beginners and more experienced weavers alike. I've done my best to recreate the colours in the drafts, but I haven't quite been able to do justice to the vibrancy of the original.

The threading diagram for this band is as follows:

A threading diagram for tablet weaving formed from a table with 4 rows and 40 columns, with each square filled with a coloured oval to represent threads

You can download the text version of the threading diagram by clicking here.

A tablet weaving turning sequence represented by a table with 8 rows, with white background squares showing forward turns and grey background squares showing backward turns

The text version of the first variation is a follows: 

turn all tablets forwards for 4 picks, then turn tablets 1 and 40 forwards and the remaining tablets backwards for 4 picks.

You can download the TDD file here.

A tablet weaving turning sequence represented by a table with 40 rows, with white background squares showing forward turns and grey background squares showing backward turns

The text version of the second variation is a follows: 

turn all tablets forwards for 20 picks, then turn tablets 1 and 40 forwards and the remaining tablets backwards for 20 picks.

You can download the TDD file here.

A tablet weaving turning sequence represented by a table with 12 rows, with white background squares showing forward turns and grey background squares showing backward turns

The text version of the third variation is a follows:

turn all tablets forwards for 4 picks, then turn tablets 1 and 40 forwards and the remaining tablets backwards for 2 picks, then turn all tablets forwards for 2 picks, then turn tablets 1 and 40 forwards and the remaining tablets backwards for 4 picks.

You can download the TDD file here.

A tablet weaving turning sequence represented by a table with 16 rows, with white background squares showing forward turns and grey background squares showing backward turns

The text version of the fourth variation is a follows: 

turn all tablets forwards for 8 picks, then turn tablets 1 and 40 forwards and the remaining tablets backwards for 8 picks.

You can download the TDD file here.

As with all of the free drafts/patterns on this site, you are welcome to weave them, sell bands woven using them, and use them to teach other weavers, just as long as you state where you found them.

Monday, 3 January 2022

New Year, New Tablet Weaving Draft Designer Features!

James has done some work on TDD over the Christmas and New Year period, squashing a few bugs and adding four new features.

At the bottom of the Controls section of the Control Panel, you will find a box labelled Lock Draft. If you click on it, it will prevent changes from being made in the draft. Click on it again to unlock the draft again. I'll be using this when I'm weaving from TDD and I don't want stray clicks altering the draft.

In the Display section, there's a box you can click to change the labelling of your tablets from clockwise to anti-clockwise. I always work with clockwise labelled tablets, but I know that some of you prefer it the other way round, so this will hopefully make TDD more useful to you. If you do change your labels in the draft, the change will also be reflected in its text description.

Also in the Display section, you will now find a button called Show Turning Diagram you can click to hide the turning diagram, so you'll be able to export a picture file of just the threading diagram if you want to. Handy for if you're ever working with a number of drafts that all use the same threading diagram, but different turning diagrams and you want to save a bit of space on the page by including the threading diagram separately.

In the Resets section, there is now a button you can press to change the Palette back to its default colours, without otherwise altering the draft. This is going to come in pretty handy when I'm working on a new design and I'm trying out combinations of colours for it.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Tablet Weaving Diaries Video Playlist

I'm collecting my diary project videos into a playlist, which I'll be adding to as I go.


Sunday, 7 November 2021

Tablet Weaving Diaries

I'm embarking on a new band soon and I'm planning to document each step along the way with a short video. I'll be sharing the videos on YouTube and Instagram (I'm @tabletweaving over there) as well as here on my blog. 

If you'd like to join me, the draft I will be using is the one below. It's a new botanical draft I just finished designing and I've named it Sweet Pea (my favourite flower). Interestingly, it uses motif lines in two different colours: green for the pea pods, leaves and stems and red for the flowers themselves.

A tablet weaving draft for 38 tablets, formed by a grid with white or grey backgrounds to squares to describe turning directions and white, red or green ovals to represent threads

You can download the TDD file for this draft by clicking here.

The text version of the draft is as follows:

  • Threading:

    1. S threaded tablet
      1. Monza (#c60042)
      2. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      3. Monza (#c60042)
      4. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
    2. Z threaded tablet
      1. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      2. Monza (#c60042)
      3. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      4. Monza (#c60042)
    3. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    4. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
    5. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    6. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    7. S threaded tablet
      1. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    8. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
    9. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    10. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    11. S threaded tablet
      1. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    12. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
    13. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    14. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    15. S threaded tablet
      1. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    16. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
    17. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    18. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    19. S threaded tablet
      1. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    20. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
    21. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    22. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    23. S threaded tablet
      1. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    24. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
    25. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    26. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    27. S threaded tablet
      1. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    28. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Monza (#c60042)
    29. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Monza (#c60042)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    30. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Monza (#c60042)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    31. S threaded tablet
      1. Monza (#c60042)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    32. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Monza (#c60042)
    33. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Monza (#c60042)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    34. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Monza (#c60042)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    35. S threaded tablet
      1. Monza (#c60042)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    36. Z threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    37. S threaded tablet
      1. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      2. Monza (#c60042)
      3. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      4. Monza (#c60042)
    38. Z threaded tablet
      1. Monza (#c60042)
      2. Japanese Laurel (#009900)
      3. Monza (#c60042)
      4. Japanese Laurel (#009900)

  • Turning:

    1. 7F 12B 12F 4B 3F
    2. 7F 12B 12F 4B 3F
    3. 7F 6B 6F 6B 6F 4B 3F
    4. 7F 6B 6F 6B 6F 4B 3F
    5. 3F 2B 2F 8B 4F 8B 4F 2B 5F
    6. 3F 2B 2F 8B 4F 8B 4F 2B 5F
    7. 5F 4B 6F 8B 10F 2B 3F
    8. 5F 4B 6F 8B 10F 2B 3F
    9. 3F 8B 4F 4B 4F 2B 4F 4B 5F
    10. 3F 8B 4F 4B 4F 2B 4F 4B 5F
    11. 11F 6B 8F 2B 2F 2B 2F 2B 3F
    12. 11F 6B 8F 2B 2F 2B 2F 2B 3F
    13. 3F 2B 6F 4B 12F 4B 7F
    14. 3F 2B 6F 4B 12F 4B 7F
    15. 3F 2B 2F 6B 2F 10B 2F 4B 7F
    16. 3F 2B 2F 6B 2F 10B 2F 4B 7F
    17. 7F 4B 4F 12B 2F 2B 2F 2B 3F
    18. 7F 4B 4F 12B 2F 2B 2F 2B 3F
    19. 3F 6B 2F 12B 15F
    20. 3F 6B 2F 12B 15F
    21. 3F 4B 4F 8B 4F 2B 8F 2B 3F
    22. 3F 4B 4F 8B 4F 2B 8F 2B 3F
    23. 3F 2B 2F 10B 8F 6B 7F
    24. 3F 2B 2F 10B 8F 6B 7F

The Drachenwald Arts Challenge AS 56: Nålbindning

I've wanted to learn nålbindning for a few years now, so when it was included in the Drachenwald Arts Challenge, I decided that now is as good a time as any. I get cold easily, so my goal was to make a pair of mittens and a pair of ankle warmers to wear at SCA events. It was a really interesting learning curve, as I learned to knit (but not purl, helpfully) and crochet before I started forming permanent memories, so I'm used to picking up yarn and it doing what I want without a lot of thinking. There was not a small amount of swearing before I got the hang of the hand movements required.

I'm using Nalbinding: What in the World is That? by Ulrike Claßen Büttner as my guide and working in the Oslo stitch, as it was the first on the list and appeared to be the simplest (I do plan to learn more stitches in the future). At first I started using some King Cole Merino Blend Chunky (discontinued) left over from knitting a sweater a few years ago and after multiple false starts, managed to come up with a starting chain that I was pleased with and had reasonably even tension. 

Next, I went back to the book and worked my way through the section on joining in the round and producing a tube. After that, I worked out how to do increases and decreases through trial and error and started on my first mitten. Being a veteran knitter and crocheter definitely helped here, as I worked increases for the thumb gusset about where I would have done in either of those techniques. I was reasonably pleased with the result, although I completely under estimated the amount of yarn required and didn't have enough for a second mitten. I also learned that my yarn choice wasn't great, as the fabric I produced is pretty loose and I doubt it would stop even a gentle breeze.

Next, to work further on building up muscle memory, I decided to make my ankle warmers. This time, I was making just a simple straight tube, without increases or decreases, and it went pretty well. I think the hardest part was trying to make the two of them in roughly the same size. I used almost all of an undyed skein of West Yorkshire Spinners 100% Norwegian wool roving yarn held double. I received it a few years ago as part of a natural dyeing kit, but never used it as I don't like the way that singles yarns behave when knitted, so I was pleased to find a use for it. I was much happier with the fabric, especially with how dense and warm it is.

Feet in brown medieval leather shoes, poking out from under a brown checked wool skirt, with white wool nalbinded tubes covering the ankles in between, photographed against a grassy background

Having completed my ankle warmers, I turned my attention back to mittens. I dug around in my yarn stash and pulled out several balls of my very first handspun. It's 100% merino 2-ply, with one white ply and one green/teal ply, and varies between chunky and super chunky weight. One mitten is very definitely bigger than the other, so next time I plan to work the starting chain and join for working in the round for both mittens before I work the cuff of the first one, to help with consistency.

A pair of nalbinded mittens, one worn on a hand, in yarn with flecks of teal and white, photographed against a brown checked fabric background

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Translating Tablet Weaving Draft Designer (TDD)

When you load Tablet Weaving Draft Designer, it checks what you have set as your primary language on your system and if it can, it will use that language. It currently only supports English and Japanese, defaulting to English if neither of those is your primary. Earlier this year, Riko122 kindly messaged us with the offer to write a Japanese translation of the TDD interface. If anyone else out there would be willing to help with translations into any more languages, we'd love to hear from you! 

You don't need to be a programmer to help with this, you just need to be familiar with the equivalent terms for the different TDD labels in the language that you're translating them into. If you message us the translated terms, we'll walk you through adding them to the code.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

New Book!

I'm finally ready to share what I've been working on these past months: a revised edition of my second book Tablet Weaving in Theory and Practice: Vacant-Hole Pinwheels. I've learned a lot about writing, photography and book production since 2019 when I released the first edition (including how to put text on the spines of the hard-copies!), so after I completed the revision of my first book (Warp-Twined Angles), I turned my attention to Vacant-Hole Pinwheels

As part of the revision, I added an extra draft to the book, so if you already have the first edition and don't want to buy the entire thing again, you can find the extra draft here. I also corrected the small errors in Pinwheels 23 and 24. I'll be leaving the errata page for them where it is for owners of the first edition. Again, my thanks go to Mark R. who spotted the error in the two drafts.

My next book project is something entirely new and will hopefully be ready to share in the spring of next year.

A photo of a tablet woven band arranged to fill the frame, woven in white with orange edges and patterned with purple diagonal lines forming complex pinwheels and S shapes