Today’s Double Feature
I found another wonderful sale at Interweave along with an additional discount. I couldn’t keep from helping myself to another dose of videos. Since I never feel I know enough about a craft, even one I do all the time, I found some tablet weaving videos I had to have. Tablet Weaving Made Easy, and Double Faced Tablet Weaving, both by John Mullarkey found a home on my hard drive. I never feel confident with a craft until I take a workshop or watch a video and realize that I know more about it than I thought. This was the case with these videos, but I still found them informative, well made and picked up a few tidbits. I chose to review these two videos together, since that’s how I bought and watched them – one right after the other.
John Mullarkey has an easy-going nature, and this translates well through the screen. In Tablet Weaving Made Easy, You get a brief history lesson on tablet weaving and very brief summary of end applications for the bands. He uses an Inkle loom to hold his warp in both videos. While I have never used my Inkle loom for tablet weaving, many weavers do, so this will be helpful to the majority. He gives a thorough explanation of the tablets, proper yarns and how to read the warp draft. He covers warping the tablets, which is a mysterious process for many weavers, and the “S” and “Z” thread paths. I like his method of tying on the warp. If I ever use an Inkle loom for tablet weaving, I’ll certainly use his method. There are mistakes included in his warp to show you what to do when you inevitably make one, and perhaps most importantly, how to tell where you are when you lose your place in weaving. He shows you how to play with your pattern for different designs. What to do when you run out of weft, starting and ending the band. He includes weaving slits, circular weaving and even double weaving. He briefly goes over pattern design, just enough to whet your whistle. Most importantly he tells you how to “wet finish” your band, and why this is so important.
In the video, Double Faced Tablet Weaving, John shows us how to make a circular or continuous warp. This is so handy and time-saving. What we weave on one side, a mirror image is woven on the back. He also demonstrates how colors work together, and ways to keep the band from looking too “flat” and “dead”. His descriptions are great, he keeps things simple by demystifying the process. One band is warped and he’s able to demonstrate several set-ups with it. At first all the cards are threaded in one direction (all “S” or “Z”), and he weaves a Greek key symbol – all horizontal and vertical lines. Then he switches the threading to alternate S,Z,S,Z…. and weaves a diamond. Showing how the pattern works and how to start your motif on the correct pick. He gives a detailed demonstration on 3:1 Broken Twill, the next step in double-faced weaving – all on the same band. There is a great section on pattern design, and some simple “4 forward, 4 back” turning bands for when you want the experience to be more meditative without constant focus on a pattern. There is a lot of information on this video.
I definitely recommend these videos to anyone who has a serious interest in Tablet Weaving. They are well made, without the distraction of music or a sales pitch. I would add a few things to these videos if I could: more detail on the use of the finished bands, fringe and end treatments, more time spent on 3:1 broken twill, and Egyptian diamonds technique. He shows us a band made with the Egyptian diamonds technique, but showing the sample is all there is. Double faced tablet weaving can be confusing for a lot of people, but 3:1 broken twill is complicated. I had to watch it twice before what he said made sense. If I wanted to use a 3:1 broken twill pattern, I would have to do some more reading or watch part of that section again just to set my tablets up. Definitely, more time to 3:1 broken twill. There is also another weaving method for 3:1 broken twill, and it would have been great if he demonstrated or discussed the differences. He does include a PDF for each of the videos. The file covers: knots he used, warp and set up, explanation of twist, patterns used in the video, tablet template for the first video and blank specialty graphs to create your own designs. Good job, if he were in the area giving a workshop on something I’m not proficient in, I would be signed up.