June 19, 2009

Card Weaving

Look what I did!

The pattern is found in Candace Crockett's Card Weaving, and my setup is a buckshee imitation of the weaving board in this Youtube video "Tablet weaving , Birka, brocade with silk and silver" posted by "brikvaever."

Warp threads are secured at one far end, cards in the middle create the shed for weaving, and the weaver works from the near end. What you see in the photo are warp threads and cards at rest, loosely arranged in order to get the essentials in the shot.

When I first saw the video, I was stumped as to how the weaver keeps the weaving taut at her end. Turns out, you can just hold it taut with whichever hand is not busy turning the cards, beating the weaving, and moving the shuttle.

Instead of a beautiful waney-edged board and peg like hers, I use my tabletop and a c clamp. Clipped around the c clamp is a carabiner that I got for free as a promotion. This, the shuttle my thoughtful mom gave me, and the table which my dad made and gave me, are what make the setup buckshee. Knotted onto the carabiner are the far warp ends. The warp does not need to be spread out, since there is so little of it and the cards keep the threads in order (as long as you keep the cards in order).

Cards are from the Spanish Peacock, and marked by me so that I can keep the pattern sequence straight.

I think I need a little abacus too, that I can flick back and forth between "away" and "toward" so I can keep to the pattern. This pattern turns the cards a quarter turn four times successively in the direction away from you, then four times toward you, creating a wavy path with the light and dark warp threads. I chose low contrast strands of classic crochet thread making the effect rather subtle, but I think you can see the pattern in my close-up photo.

The other troubleshooting issue I had was making sure stray warp threads did not float here and there. Sometimes the shed looked completely clear but it was not. Pushing the cards away helped.

Warping was rather hairy. I messed up the tension and then had to untangle a lot of snarled warp. The warp has some sneaky twist to it. I was able to salvage a little less than half of what I'd originally cut for warp and put the remaining wreckage away in a box for someday.

Yeah, I had no idea how much warp I needed. What I wound up with was ample.

I was inspired by a weaver in our guild, who demonstrated card weaving in a Greek key pattern with warp secured on her inkle loom, and by Karen at the Frontier Culture museum who demonstrated the tape loom. The tape loom uses a wooden heddle to create a shed; warp is secured at one end and held in the hand at the other.

Just think, I can now make my own shoelaces.


  1. Anonymous19 June, 2009

    You, my dear, are one driven fiber artist! Your interests and talents are boundless. "You go, girl!" ~Loren

  2. Thanks, Loren! I stand on the shoulders of all you giants.


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