tablet weaving threading

Tablet weaving: S & Z

This post is just as much a visualization of my notes, as it is a great read for anyone interested in tablet weaving. I’m not an expert, in fact I am fairly new to the art.

I bought my first loom, an Inkle, in 2007 when I first joined the SCA, and excitedly wanted to learn to weave.  For some reason the loom ended up collecting dust on a top shelf in my livingroom for years, until this past Gulf Wars.

Even though I haven’t woven in years, it was easier to absorb and understand the process this time around. After a quick refresher I started creating woven bands, mostly as belts for my daughter.

I picked this insignia project because HL Czina Angielczyka, from my barony, showed me a beautiful Iris of Merit ribbon at Laurel’s Prize the other weekend.

The way the black was woven in between the rainbow reminded me of diapering on an illumination.

Tablet weaving pattern graphed out

I’ve always been scared of writing out a pattern, or trying to weave based on a pattern. (Look through Collingwood’s books and you can understand why it would overwhelm and befuddle a beginning weaver.)  But I gleaned a great piece of information from a one-on-one session with Cynthia yesterday: be fearless! Everything can be fixed with diligence.

So I mapped it out as best I could and took the plunge!


The next set of notes I write is to jog my memory later, and also give you a visual way to understand what’s going on and how simple tablet weaving a repetitive pattern can be.

The difference between tablet and inkle weaving, is that tablet weaving uses cards, also known as tablets, as its heddle system. Since the heddles are not fixed, the design is created by flipping and turning the cards with each shed.

Therefore the patterns created are not visually squares and rectangles, they are angled and form triangles and diamonds.

Tablet weaving also twists on itself as part of the card-turning process, making it a strong finished project that, even if left with a raw edge in the wash, will not fray or unwind easily.

warp and weft
Tablet weaving is warp faced. The way the cards are turned, either toward or away from you, dictates what colors show up when the weft is thrown in an open shed.

So when weavers talk about tablet weaving, the jargon used is “S and Zs.” They’re talking about how the fiber (warp) is threaded through the card.

diamond diagram

When you look at a finished piece and see a diamond, the left side of the pattern is flipped in one direction, while the right side flips the cards in the opposite direction.  It can be reversed as well, the solid understanding is: to create a diamond, your left side must be threaded opposite your right side, within the same color (or section of the band). If the end result is an X, then you simply swap sides and flip all the cards in the diamond to their opposite side.

The second part of the equation is where the colors are placed in the four weaving holes. I will write that post tomorrow. 😉

Stay tuned!


3 thoughts on “Tablet weaving: S & Z

  1. Pingback: Tablet weaving, warping your loom | The Rampant Hedgehog

  2. Pingback: Tablet weaving, warping pt. 2 | The Rampant Hedgehog

  3. Thank you!! I’ve been pinning patterns but wasn’t sure how to read the diagonals!! (I don’t even have my looms yet but I’m so excited I’m reading and pinning! Ha!)

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