Tablet Weaving The Antler Pattern ~
I’ve really enjoyed working on this tablet woven band. It follows this Antler Pattern, and I intend to make curtain tie backs with the finished lengths. Since I’ve started, I’ve discovered a couple of things to make it easier and might do differently if I weave another. First, only the four outer cards on each side build twist, so I’ve separated that part of the warp to manage it. I would prefer to have the motifs facing the same direction as reversing will only complicate an otherwise simple and enjoyable pattern. The little peep of weft that looks like a moon can be hidden by changing the light-colored weft and outer cards to the color of the background. I can always keep a thin line of light color just inside the selvage to highlight and frame the main motif.
This pattern works by separating the cards into packs or groups. The packs or groups of cards are turned as a unit. The pattern can be worked in several ways. One way is to use different color cards for each pack, and keep them close together. Another way is to count them out each time. Yet a third way is to separate them and keep them separated throughout the weaving. Lacking different colored cards, or the patience to continually count, I’m keeping them separate. The packs are referenced “A”, “B” and “C”. I haven’t marked them, but the one closest to me is “A”, and the one that builds twist. Keeping it closer allows me to weave more before the twist becomes a problem, forcing me to stop and manage the twist. The other two packs will move independently an equal amount forward and backward leaving zero twist build-up.
I’ll attempt to describe the easiest way I’ve found to maintain decent selvage. First, I establish the proper band width. By weaving an inch or two and drawing the weft in enough that the motif looks proportionate, the warp thread isn’t bunched on top of each other, and no weft is peeping out between the warps (weft floats from twist direction are a different matter). Then I use two “C-Thru” rulers; taping them together one on top and the bottom. I measure frequently. Then I weave and pull my weft in a certain pattern.
- Turn cards/Change shed
- Clear shed
- Pass weft tight against the fell line. Leave a loop large enough to fit your finger.
- Turn cards/Change shed
- Clear shed
- Pull previous weft loop while pinching selvage to feel when the loop is snug. Give the loop a tug away from band first will help straighten the selvage threads, and makes it look cleaner.
- Pass weft, keeping it tight against the fell, and leave a loop
I place kilt or shawl pins in the holes of the cards to prevent them from shifting. I hold them in place with the pins for all the following reasons such as when I’m done weaving, traveling, managing twist, advancing warp, and anytime I loosen the tension. I always weave a full motif or repeat of my pattern. If I don’t have time for a complete repeat, then I don’t have time to weave. I keep track of my place on the pattern two ways. One, I know what turning sequence I’m on by keeping a magnetic ruler or highlight tape at the pattern line. Two, each turning sequence is performed twice, so the shuttle and weft tell me if I’m done with that row. I weave from right to left the first time, and left to right the second time. If my shuttle is on the left, then I’ve completed only one of my two turn sequences. If my shuttle is on the right, then I’m ready to begin the next sequence. I know if I’ve done it right by the way the threads lay. If the pattern looks right, then it is. If it doesn’t look right, I can look at the line I have marked. It will tell me the position of the pack, and whether I turned it forward (away from me) or back (towards me).
I hope the video helps demonstrate how simple and enjoyable this pattern is. I also hope it sheds some light on this ancient form of weaving that’s still very relevant and alive. Click this link to view the blog and see the photo gallery, and this link to find the Antler pattern.