Name That Weave

Weaving Letters

Double Faced lettered tablet weaving

Double Faced lettered tablet weaving

Both my Mother and I recently purchased new Luggage.  To quickly distinguish our luggage, I decided we need to have a ribbon of sorts connected to it.  One that says, “MINE”, so to speak.  What could be better than having your name on it?  I decided to weave a small band with our names woven in, one that could be cut and sewn to the luggage handles.  When we travel, it will be easy to spot our luggage on a full conveyor belt. 

Creating a graphed pattern from a graphed font.

Creating a graphed pattern from a graphed font.

Using the letters graphed by Linda Hendrickson based on the font named Gill Sans, I graphed out the design of our names.  This form of lettering is woven using Double-Faced tablet weaving.  Since the turning sequence can’t be determined until the words (or names) are placed in proper order, you have to create your pattern fresh using the graphs.  Once you have your name or words spelled out, then you can fill in the turning sequence.  The background tablets move in one direction and the design tablets move in the opposite.  It’s important to remember that materials, tension, force of beat and pull of weft all play a part in the structure of the band and shape of the motif – in this case, something that looks like a letter.  

I warped the selvages separate from the design field

I warped the selvages separate from the design field

Double-Faced Tablet Weaving lends itself well to a continuous warp, which takes some tediousness out of warping a couple dozen tablets, provided it’s done correctly.  The Gill Sans font as graphed by Linda Hendrickson, requires 24 tablets for the design field.  Borders require extra tablets and may be as complicated as you dare.  Turning the selvage tablets continuously forward provides the smoothest, most stable flat edges – so plan accordingly.  I decided I wanted red lettering on black background for my Mother (her luggage is red with black trim) and black lettering on red background for mine (my luggage is black).  For the selvage, I decided to use black on the outermost tablets and have an accent stripe of light blue to separate the design field.  I have four selvage tablets on each side.  This gives me 32 tablets.  Since I have only 30 of my new wooden tablets, I’ve decided to use my plastic Lacis cards.  The last thing I need is trouble with different sized tablets.

Warp is tensioned on loom and selvage tablets are weighted and hang free.

Warp is tensioned on loom and selvage tablets are weighted and hang free.

Since the selvage cards will turn in one direction only, the twist will build up quickly.  I can either reverse directions when it becomes difficult to weave and still provide a stable edge.  However, that will leave a float at the reversal point, or I can periodically remove the twist.  I decide to warp my selvage tablets individually and conned weights to them.  As a result, I’ll be able to push the twist out of the tablets since they’ll hang free.  Warping the design tablets went very easy, until I realized that I had neglected to drop a card – TWICE.  I decided the easiest way to deal with these tablet-less lengths of warp would be to cut them off once it’s tensioned on the loom.  I used those warp ends together to begin my band and space my warp, so it wasn’t a total waste.

Turning direction can be noted once words are graphed and header is woven

Turning direction can be noted once words are graphed and header is woven

Once I have the width of the band established, I’m ready to start weaving my design.  Now I need to note the turning directions on the pattern.  I place an “F” and “B” in the turning field, and this represents the direction the background tablets will be turned.  These will alternate for the length of the design.  The background will turn in one direction and the design will turn the opposite.  Each row of my graph represents two turns or “picks” with the weft yarn passing each time.  On the surface, it creates a three-row float, and many shapes can be represented by this form of weaving.  I’ve decided to leave a short length of fringe at the end of each tag, so I cut and end my weft as I would for the end of a band.  Then, I place two wide craft sticks to preserve length for fringe and begin the top of the next tag.  I made a relatively short warp, so we’ll see how many tags I get out of this.  I may create a new warp afterward just to weave some named key fobs.

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A website devoted to learning, sharing and teaching a wide range of fiber arts. Inkle, Tablet and Navajo style weaving, Spinning, Knitting, Crochet, Sewing and Lace Making. Silver Work, Beading and Tool Making grace my bench as well.

2 comments on “Name That Weave
  1. Michael Cook says:

    I love this! Lettered work is the best.

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