Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Petre

This draft is based on a German brick-stitch pattern from the Hildesheim Cope (accession number: 17-1873), specifically the section that deals with the martyring of Saint Peter. I've been fascinated by the Cope since I first saw it in the summer of 2016, on display in Medieval and Renaissance Room 9 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The it's a large embroidered semi-circular vestment, dated to the 12th century, adorned by a number of tablet woven brocaded bands. I discuss the motifs of these bands in more detail in my book Tablet Weaving in Theory and Practice: Vacant-Hole Pinwheels.

A white vacant-hole tablet woven band with red diamond and diagonal line motifs, photographed against a green leafy background

I decided to design this draft as vacant-hole (one or more holes of the tablets are left intentionally empty), but to set up the tablet threading so that all the tablets would turn together in the same direction to make a quick and simple weave. This makes it an excellent first band if you've never tried the technique before. 

When I was weaving the sample, I flipped the threading direction of the selvedge tablets (tablets 1, 2, 3, 36, 37 and 38) so that I could turn them together with the pattern tablets. When you flip a tablet, then turn it in the opposite direction, its threads will continue to twine in the same way as before. A Z-threaded turned backwards will produce the same result as an S-threaded tablet turned forwards.

If you take a break during weaving this draft, be sure to secure the tablets with an elastic band or by tying a cord around them (or what ever method you prefer) as they may re-orient themselves so that the vacant-hole is either at the top or bottom of the pack.

A diagram representing a square weaving tablet with a hole in each corner, carrying a white thread in two of it's holes and a purple thread in another. The purple thread is diagonally opposite from a vacant hole and the tablet is oriented so that the vacant hole sits at the top.

The vacant holes of the tablets are represented by empty squares in the draft below and by the word "Empty" in the text version of the draft. The sample was woven using a white weft, flecks of which can be seen on the surface of the band, where they would normally have been covered if the vacant holes of the tablets were filled. If you'd prefer, the draft's turning sequence will be the same if the vacant holes of the tablets are filled. I suggest picking a thread that is the same as your background colour and using a weft that's the same colour as the lines for your motifs.

A tablet weaving draft patterned with white and red threads forming diamond and diagonal line motifs.

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

The text version of this draft is as follows:

  • Threading:

    1. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    2. Z threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    3. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    4. Z threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Empty
      4. White (#ffffff)
    5. Z threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Empty
    6. Z threaded tablet
      1. Empty
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    7. Z threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Empty
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    8. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Empty
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    9. S threaded tablet
      1. Empty
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    10. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Empty
    11. S threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Empty
      4. White (#ffffff)
    12. Z threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Empty
      4. White (#ffffff)
    13. Z threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Empty
    14. Z threaded tablet
      1. Empty
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    15. Z threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Empty
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    16. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Empty
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    17. S threaded tablet
      1. Empty
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    18. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Empty
    19. S threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Empty
      4. White (#ffffff)
    20. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Empty
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    21. S threaded tablet
      1. Empty
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    22. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Empty
    23. S threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Empty
      4. White (#ffffff)
    24. Z threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Empty
      4. White (#ffffff)
    25. Z threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Empty
    26. Z threaded tablet
      1. Empty
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    27. Z threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Empty
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    28. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Empty
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    29. S threaded tablet
      1. Empty
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    30. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Empty
    31. S threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Empty
      4. White (#ffffff)
    32. Z threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Empty
      4. White (#ffffff)
    33. Z threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Empty
    34. Z threaded tablet
      1. Empty
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    35. Z threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. Empty
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    36. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)
    37. Z threaded tablet
      1. Red (#ff0000)
      2. Red (#ff0000)
      3. Red (#ff0000)
      4. Red (#ff0000)
    38. S threaded tablet
      1. White (#ffffff)
      2. White (#ffffff)
      3. White (#ffffff)
      4. White (#ffffff)

  • Turning:

    1. 38F
    2. 38F
    3. 38F
    4. 38F
    5. 3F 32B 3F
    6. 3F 32B 3F
    7. 3F 32B 3F
    8. 3F 32B 3F
    9. 38F
    10. 38F
    11. 38F
    12. 38F
    13. 3F 32B 3F
    14. 3F 32B 3F
    15. 3F 32B 3F
    16. 3F 32B 3F
    17. 3F 32B 3F
    18. 3F 32B 3F
    19. 3F 32B 3F
    20. 3F 32B 3F
    21. 38F
    22. 38F
    23. 38F
    24. 38F
    25. 3F 32B 3F
    26. 3F 32B 3F
    27. 3F 32B 3F
    28. 3F 32B 3F
    29. 38F
    30. 38F
    31. 38F
    32. 38F
As with all of the free 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.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Threading Errors Video

 


In this video, I talk about some of things that can go wrong with tablet weaving and the threading errors that cause them.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Knitting Patterns

As part of tidying up my account ahead of Ravelry becoming even less accessible, I'm moving the small collection of knitting patterns that I designed to here.

Aesculus Shawl 

A knitted heart-shaped shawl with lace motifs based on the horse chestnut tree.
Pattern download
Charts download

Hugs by Post Shawl

A simple textured knitted heart-shaped shawl.

Lace Draw-String Bag

An easy knitted lace pouch.

Needle Roll

A quick to knit holder for your knitting needles.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Yarns I Like for Tablet Weaving


Recently, I wrote about and made a video about the criteria I use when I'm selecting yarn for tablet weaving. In this post, I thought I'd tell you about some of the yarn that I like using myself. I'm not sponsored by any of the companies I mention and everything I say here is my personal opinion.

When I weave rigid heddle and tablet woven bands for the sale box I take to events with me (in non-plague years!), I mostly use Drops Karisma DK. It's 100% wool, 100m/50g and comes in a good range of colours. It's also pretty economical, especially if you buy it during one of the Drops discount events that happen several times a year.

A photo of a small wooden chest filled with bundles of tablet woven and rigid heddle bands in a variety of colours

I like to use King Cole Merino Blend 4-ply when I'm weaving trim. It's 100% superwash wool (meaning that it's machine washable)and 180m/50g. It's the yarn I used when I wove the samples for Noughts and Crosses and Tic Tac Toe and makes a lovely trim, as it makes bands that weave up fairly fast, but are less bulky when stitched to a garment than DK.

A photo of a blue, dark blue and yellow tablet woven band interlaced with a red, black and yellow tablet woven band

For the samples I make for my books, I like World of Wool Weaving Yarns, although at the time of writing, it's out of stock on their website. I really hope that they're able to get more of it, as it stands up to tablet weaving really well. It's 100% wool and 8000m/1000g and comes in black, white and orange. To extend the range of colours, I've been using the white yarn for natural dyeing. For one of the samples for my book Tablet Weaving in Theory and Practice: Double-Face Inscriptions, I used Brazilwood dye and an alum mordant from George Weil to get the lovely red colour that I needed.

A photo of a piece of blue fabric on which sits a white tablet woven band with red lettering that reads "Psalmorum codex Anno domini Millesimo cccc lvij" or "Book of psalms 1457"

Lastly, Piper's Silks. For very special bands, I use their 80/3 spun silk, which is 75m per spool. It's beautifully smooth and because of its tight twist, it stands up to tablet weaving really well. It's pretty fine, so when I use it to make a belt, I laminate together several layers of buckram, then sandwich that between the band and cotton twill tape and stitch them together. This yarn comes in a great range of vibrant colours and the woman who runs the company is an absolute pleasure to work with.

A photo of the waist and legs of a person wearing a grey wool dress with red sleeves and a black, red and white tablet woven belt patterned with flower motifs and brass fittings

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Choosing Yarn for Tablet Weaving

I've made a new video and added it to the beginning of the tutorial page here. It's all about the things I consider when choosing yarn for a new band.



Saturday, 27 February 2021

Correcting Errors Video!

I found that I really enjoyed making a video about using TDD last week, so I thought I'd make another! This time it's about the technique I use for stripping out weft when I want to reweave a large section of a band. I've added it to the top of the page I've made for it here on my blog, too.

I have several more videos I'm planning to make and I hope to sort out a set up at some point so that you can actually see me weave. There's a semi-continuous warping technique that I've been wanting to share with you for a long time.



Friday, 26 February 2021

Correcting Errors


If you are unhappy with your band or you want to correct a mistake, you can turn the tablets in the opposite direction to the way you turned them during weaving to unweave your work, taking the weft out of the shed as you go. If you need to go back more than a few picks, you might want to consider stripping out the weft to make this process easier.


A photo of a section of tablet woven band with the letters W and X in black on a white background


In this example, I was testing out some of the letter drafts that would one day be part of my book Tablet Weaving in Theory and Practice: Double-Face Inscriptions. I decided that my majuscule (capital) X looked far too much like someone with antennae running for a bus. Rather than continuing, I stripped out the weft so that I could re-use that section of warp and try out another version of the letter instead.


A photo of a section of tablet woven band with the warp threads pulled to either side and the weft exposed


Pull the warp threads apart to the side, towards the selvedges to expose the weft.


A photo of a section of tablet woven band with the cut ends of the exposed weft sticking out

Snip it with a pair of scissors (being very careful not to nick any warps!) to a point a few picks above where you want to restart your band.


A photo of a section of tablet woven band with the weft removed for part of it

Pull out each piece of weft with your fingers or a pair of tweezers.


A photo of a section of tablet woven band with the weft removed and the twist between the tablets and the band removed

Turn the tablets until the twist is gone between them and the final piece of weft in the shed just above where you plan to restart.


A photo of a section of tablet woven band ready to weave the next section of the draft


Unweave the final few picks by turning the tablets in the opposite direction to the way you turned them when you wove that section. Carefully remove the weft from the shed each time it is exposed and the shed is open. This will give you a short section of weft attached to the band.


A photo of a section of tablet woven band with the letters W and a new X in black on a white background

Join a new weft by placing it into the shed with a short tail sticking out of the band, then turn the tablets according to your draft and place the old weft tail through the shed alongside the new weft to lock it in place. Weave with the new weft and the old weft tail in the shed together for a pick or two, then continue on with only the new weft. Trim away the tails of the new and old wefts to neaten up the band.


Sunday, 21 February 2021

Tablet Weaving Draft Designer Updates

 We've been wearing our bug squishing boots again! 

This weekend we've:

  • Fixed an error that caused the horizontal ruler to sit behind the threading diagram, rather than on top of it
  • Sorted a few spelling errors
  • Updated the copyright notice to read 2015-2021
  • Changed the instructions link to point to a new version
  • Fixed a bug causing canvas size change problems when the rulers would be off the edge of a new draft
There's also now a video on YouTube about using TDD.

Tablet Weaving Draft Designer Is on Youtube!


Monday, 15 February 2021

Getting the Most from Tablet Weaving Draft Designer


As some readers may already know, Tablet Weaving Draft Designer (TDD for short) is a free, browser-based tablet weaving drafting tool, which you can also use offline if you already have it loaded on your device. It's a joint project by my husband, James, and I that we started back in 2015 as a way for me to draft out my tablet weaving ideas more easily. It's changed quite a bit in the intervening years, most significantly over the Christmas holidays of 2020, when James did a full rewrite of the code and we implemented some new features. 

As part of the rewrite, the draft that TDD generates is now an SVG (scalable vector graphic) image meaning that you can highlight any of the numbers and letters on it with your cursor, should you so desire. We also added new collapsible menus for the Control Panel, as it was getting pretty big and cluttered. In this article, I will walk you through the different tools of TDD and what they do.

A four-hole tablet, labelled clockwise A to D starting in the top right corner


Before we get started, I want to define a few of the terms and assumptions that TDD uses. Tablets are labelled clockwise from A onwards (as shown above) and the drafts use a tablet starting position with A and whatever the letter of the final label is (this will vary based on the number of holes the tablet has) at the top. For four-holed tablets, it will generate a draft with quarter (90 degree) turns in the threading diagram; for two-holed tablets, it will generate a draft with half (180 degree) turns etc.

A diagram showing the different part of a TDD draft and what they represent

TDD displays both the threading direction of the tablets, as used by Peter Collingwood (the way the threads pass through the tablet), as the letters S and Z at the bottom of the threading diagram and warp alignment (the way the tablets appear on the warp when viewed from above) as the slant of the ovals within the threading diagram (threading direction and warp alignment are covered in more detail here). Click on the S or Z beneath the column for a tablet to change its threading direction/warp alignment. This will automatically update the turning diagram to match. To change the turning direction for a particular tablet in the turning diagram, click on the square you want to change and it will automatically change all the squares above that point too.

The TDD Control Panel has nine sections, but you don't have to use all of them to create your draft if you don't want to; the bare minimum you need is the Controls section at the top and the Palette section further down. Click on the name of each section or the plus symbol next to the name to expand that section of the Control Panel. Click on the name or the minus symbol next to the name to collapse it again.
The TDD Control Panel with every section expanded

Draft Name

Type the name of your draft in the empty box at the top of the Control Panel. This will be the name used for any files or images you save or export. If you leave this empty, TDD will use the file name "draft" instead.

Controls

Enter the number of picks (rows) you want the turning diagram to have, the number of holes the tablets will have and the number of tablets you want, using a keyboard to fill in the boxes or with the plus and minus buttons on either side of the boxes. You can always change these values later if you need to. TDD will add any extra picks to the top of the turning diagram and any extra tablets to the right of the threading diagram.

Rulers

TDD comes equipped with horizontal and vertical rulers, the position of which can be controlled by entering a value in the text box or by using the plus and minus buttons. The horizontal ruler is particularly helpful if you weave from your computer screen, as you can advance it up the page to help you keep track of your position in the turning diagram. I like to use the vertical ruler to mark the centre of the draft if it is a really wide one with a line of symmetry down the middle. You can also use the vertical ruler to mark the next tablet you need to thread in the threading diagram when you warp your loom. You can enter a minus number for the horizontal ruler position to make it appear in the threading diagram rather than the turning diagram. If you would prefer not to use the rulers, you can remove them by clicking to un-tick their boxes. I always do this before exporting the draft as an image file. 

Display

You can un-tick the Show Threads box to remove the thread ovals from the threading diagram. This is helpful if there's an error in your turning diagram that you can't pin down, as it lets you see the pattern of forward and backward turns more easily.

Tick the Show Threading Diagram box to include the threading diagram at the bottom of your draft. If you're generating a large number of drafts that all use the same threading, leaving it out after the first draft will save you some space on your page.

If you prefer to mark the points in the turning diagram where the turning direction of a tablet changes, rather than which tablets are turning backward or forward, tick the Show Reversals box to add a red line to the draft at these points.

The Show Text Description box will produce a set of written instructions equivalent to your draft, which will appear below it. The threading diagram is described tablet by tablet, with hexadecimal codes and names (more information about these names is given below) for each of the thread colours, with a list of turning instructions broken into groups of tablets below it. The description below is the text version of the example draft above:

  • Threading:

    1. Z threaded tablet
      1. Yellow (#ffff00)
      2. Flirt (#990099)
      3. Yellow (#ffff00)
      4. Flirt (#990099)
    2. Z threaded tablet
      1. Flirt (#990099)
      2. Yellow (#ffff00)
      3. Flirt (#990099)
      4. Yellow (#ffff00)
    3. S threaded tablet
      1. Flirt (#990099)
      2. Yellow (#ffff00)
      3. Flirt (#990099)
      4. Yellow (#ffff00)
    4. S threaded tablet
      1. Yellow (#ffff00)
      2. Flirt (#990099)
      3. Yellow (#ffff00)
      4. Flirt (#990099)

  • Turning:

    1. 4F
    2. 4F
    3. 4B
    4. 4B
    5. 4F
    6. 4F
    7. 4B
    8. 4B

The Backwards Turn Saturation slider can be used to increase or decrease the level of contrast of the grey background squares on the turning diagram. If you slide it all the way to the left, you can make the background of all the squares white instead to get a quick preview of what the draft might look like when woven.

When I'm creating a draft for weaving double-face, I un-tick the Show Threads tool and set the Backwards Turn Saturation to about 75%, as I'm using the draft to show the placement of the background colour and contrast colour rather than what the individual tablets are doing, but I still want to be able to see the borders of the boxes on the turning diagram. This charting method is also useful in producing drafts for brocaded bands.

A simple draft with squares filled with either grey or white
A simple draft for either brocade or double-face

Since the big December re-build, the Visual Scale of the draft can now be used to both increase the size of the draft on your screen and decrease it (if you input a negative number into the box), which is really helpful for getting an overview of very large drafts.

Repeats

We initially took out this tool during the update, as we weren't happy with the way it was functioning. Now that it's back, it works a bit differently, but it's now no longer possible to use it to generate a band mock-up that won't work when woven.

Select the Show Repeats box and TDD will add a mock-up of your band to the right of your draft; it will look the the same as your draft, but all the squares will have white backgrounds and it will be missing any red lines or rulers. Specify which picks you want to be included in your mock-up using the Repeat Start and Repeat End fields and TDD will show you what a band would look like if you repeated that turning sequence using the threading diagram you have input. You can change how many times TDD repeats those picks using the Number of Repeats field. More information about how the Repeats tool works can be found here.

Resets

Treat the Reset All button with caution! It clears everything away and resets your draft to 1 pick high and 1 4-holed tablet wide at 0 Visual Scale. It's really helpful if you want to start a new draft from scratch, but there's no undo function, so always save your work before using it.

The Clear Pattern button will reset your turning diagram to the default, with every square set to forward turn, with no turning reversals, but won't change your threading diagram or the number of picks in it.

Palette

To change the colours of your threads, click the Foreground Colour you want, then click on the thread you want to change in the threading diagram. If you want that tablet hole to be empty so you can produce a vacant-hole draft, select "None" from the left side of the Palette before clicking on the threading diagram. This will give you an empty box instead of a thread for that tablet hole on the threading and turning diagrams. The numbers underneath the colours in the Palette tell you how many times that colour is used in the threading diagram to make warping for your band easier.

The Palette will display a Colour Name for the colour you have selected, taken from an open source java-script library by Chirag Mehta. This colour name is also used in the Text Description below the draft, if you have it turned on.

If the colours in the Palette aren't to your preference, you can adjust them by selecting a colour's box and changing it using the Red Green Blue sliders below it. Alternatively, you can enter the RGB values for the shade you want next to the sliders. If the colour you have changed is used in your draft, the draft will be automatically updated with your changes.

Export

TDD can export images for both your draft and for your pattern repeat mock-up. Fill in the number of pixels wide you want the image to be in the box, then click on any of the three buttons below it to download your image. If, for example, you want your image to be 5cm (2 inches) wide with a resolution of 250dpi, enter 500px in the Export Width box.. TDD can export your draft as an .svg file, a .jpeg file or a .png file. The file name will be the same as the name you gave the draft at the top of the Control Panel. The image will be the same as your draft, so if you have the rulers or red reversal points turned on, they will be included in your exported image.

Files

One of the big behind-the-scenes changes that we made this past December is the way TDD saves files. Previously, it used the .json format which produced a large amount of coded information, the vast majority of which would be gibberish to the lay-person. The new .tdd files are much shorter and actually resemble your draft if you open one up in a text editor (like Notepad++, Sublime Text, Emacs, Vi, Atom, or any programmers' editor); if you do open one, make sure that you don't accidentally change the file extension or TDD won't be able to open it again. 

You will still be able to open any of the .json files you previously made using TDD, but you will only be able to save in the new format. We don't intend to remove this capability to open old files, so there's no rush to convert them.

When you click the Save button, TDD will download the .tdd file for your draft to your device using the draft name you specified at the top of the Control Panel, in the same way as the Image Export tool. Clicking the Choose File button will open an Open File dialogue box. The text below is the contents of the save file for the example draft above.

//\\
//\\
\\//
\\//
//\\
//\\
\\//
\\//

7997
9779
7997
9779
ZZSS

0 - #ffffff
1 - #000000
2 - #ff0000
3 - #009900
4 - #0000ff
5 - #dddddd
6 - #999999
7 - #ffff00
8 - #00ffff
9 - #990099
a - #ff8800
b - #ff8888

We will be continuing to add to TDD's features over time to support a wider range of drafting styles and I'll publish information about any changes on my blog as we make them. If you have any suggestions for new features, you can leave them at my blog or on Github, where you can also view TDD's code, but keep in mind that TDD is a project that we work on in our spare time, so it may take a while for them to be implemented. I hope this tutorial has been instructive and inspires you in creating your own drafts.