Tablet-woven trim for a 12th C.

Estrella War A&S Competition – Woven Textiles Category

Gold and red cardwoven trim produced for use on a tunic intended for a 10th C. Viking man.

#10 cotton crochet thread. Lots and lots of time.

Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 1

To date. I hadn’t woven the pattern before. Cardweaving has it’s roots in the textile weaving techniques of ancient Egypt (although it has yet to be proven that cardweaving was used at that time) and archeological finds such as those at Birka. I first got my feet wet in the cardweaving craft by attending Lady Alamanda de Claret’s “Introduction to Cardweaving” class.” Peter Collingwood’s “The Techniques of Cardweaving” and trying out the patterns and techniques. Oseberg. I thought I could make out a spiral pattern and so I decided to use that. As time was a factor. but archeological evidence shows a much different story. I had seen a pattern on The Loomy Bin” cardweaving website that would do very nicely. Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 2 .A book cover. This made cardweaving perfectly appropriate for my project. most of the medieval illuminations which document cardweaving pictorially give the impression that this is a late-period craft. and because I am currently obsessed with cardweaving. This picture was provided to me when I took on this project. At first blush. my pursuit of the cardweaving craft is self-taught and comes from intensive study of the cardweavers “bible. and Hallstat prove that cardwoven materials were being produced by Western European cultures in the 10th C. I decided that the trim would be cardwoven or nothing at all!!! Figure 1: Book cover -. I have spent the bulk of the last two years researching extant examples of cardweaving equipment and woven finds as well as discovering patterns and techniqueson the web and then trying them out. upon the occasion of his elevation to the Order of the Laurel.original inspration As you can see from the picture. The finished tunic was to be worn by Lord Leot mac Grigair. I have produced over a dozen different cardwoven works including the one entered here. Since then. Looking closely at the book cover. there appear to be two different styles of trim involved – a gold trim and a black and white trim. I was told that “inkle woven trim would be just fine!” Since this was for an elevation garment. well. but that didn’t stop me from giving it a go.

Pattern executed in a 3-1 broken twill weave technique. I believe these are pieces from the Oseberg find. Kernverwässerungswerk http://www. 1990. item on display at Museum of Natural History. museum of origin unknown.Figure 2:Wool trim with horsehair weft from Halstadt find. The photographer didn’t say. This provides some justification for my use of the “spiral” pattern! Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 3 . Site of find: Hallstatt. 2008. circa 800-400 BC. Photo taken by þeodriċ æðelfriþ aka Jeremy Sharp July 9. V Figure 3: tablets and tablet woven Notice the zigzags and twisting figures in the photograph as well as the mix of several types of patterns within one piece.

Sometimes gold or silver wound over wool or silk to form a type of brocade. In the 15 and 16 C. Sometimes. ( A lovely diamond patterned trim has survived in the picture above!!!! Much of the trim found at Oseberg is wool or silk or wool-and-silk. Equipment (illustrations follow the list): (1) Stick shuttle. and leather. bone.wordpress. or 8 sided. Loom #1 – a modified wooden inkle loom. This piece provides some evidence that “diamond”-style patterns were developed th th early on. Also on display at the Viking Ship Museum. Tablets have been found which are 4. http://adventuresofafartraveler. photographer “Costume Girl” .. diamond patterns are sometimes used to make up a “ground” or “background” against which to weave another fancy figural pattern. This one has become my loom of choice simply because it is small and extremely portable. usually with a corresponding number of holes. Extant tablets have been found made of wood.Figure 4: Textile "layer cake" from the Oseberg find. Also. (3) Two different types of looms. The photograph is taken from her blog of her trip to Norway. Pre-1600 illustrations of women tablet weaving invariably show them using a small bobbin to hold the weft thread and a large leaf-shaped beater of considerable heft. extant examples) The size and shape of my cards approximates extant examples on display at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. My shuttle is heavy enough that I used it as a beater as well. 6. (2) 4-hole tablets or “cards”(These terms will be used interchangeably throughout the text) made from modern playing cards. there are “extra” holes in the tablets whose use can only be speculated. horn. both “improvised” out of modern equipment. I use a single stick shuttle for both purposes. but this example as well as the Halstatt pieces provide evidence that mixing patterns within a single work was done in the th 10 C. Norway. needed a rubber band or a tie of some type to secure the cards when I was not actively weaving. Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 4 . For convenience. as well. often over a horsehair weft.

the actual weaving techniques used were based on self-taught methods learned using a modern reproduction “Oseberg-style” tablet weaving loom . the thinner and smaller the weaving tablets/cards must be as the weight of the suspended cards will snap the threads. Collingsood’s “The Techniques of Tablet Weaving. Figure 5: 10th C. all I need was something to tie the warp to once I got to my hotel room. Cards seen here are very large.forest. about 4” on a side. The loom is based on one excavated from the Oseberg ship find. tablet weaving suppiers. [Illustration page 187. Interestingly." I purchased this loom from Whitewolf and Phoenix. In general. article “The Textiles of the Oseberg Ship” by Anne Stine Ingstad . The loom shafts have been broken (to prevent their reuse?) but pieces of a work-in-progress still Figure 6: my reproduction "upright loom.. Since all you need to card weave is two fixed points between which to tie and tighten the weave. I improvised this when I had to go on an out of town trip and wanted to be able to cardweave. My loom wouldn’t fit in my suitcase so I untied the work from the loom (after securing the card with a rubber band) and packed that in my suitcase. the finer the threads woven.” Tabletweaving as found in the grave at the Oseberg ship burial. An inverted ironing board turned out to be perfect. I have come across no pictorial evidence of a modern “board” loom in which the cards are supported instead of being suspended -. much larger than has been discovered in archeological finds. This seems a very practical solution for weaving extremely find threads.Loom #2 – an upside down ironing board.gen. I could even adjust the height! In both cases.] Scan found at http://www. but they are very easy to work with and support heavy threads with ease. but I have not come across evidence of the use of this type of tablet-weaving loom pre-1600. Extant tablet weaving loom with cards and warp still attached.the weft is wound around a board upon which the cards then rest. Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 5 .HTM .

Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 6 . you can see the loom with the center bar romoved and also get a good side view of a work in progress. All you need to cardweave are two fixed points between which to tie the warp. Worked even better for tablet weaving once I removed the middle bar which usually supports the warp threads which go through the heddles in inkle weaving -.Figure 7: Loom #1. Figure 8: pseudo-"Oseberg style" loom. The weaving seen on the loom in the picture on the left is the “warm-up” project I did to familiarize myself with the pattern before I wove the final piece. my modern wooden inkle loom cum tablet weaving loom.that bar got in the way. In the picture on the right. Notice that six-sided cards are being used here and the finished work is being taken up by a reel on the wall.JPG Figure 10: Plate from the Manesse Codex showing a women cardweaving. a book of hours (KB 76 F 21. 1400-1410. She also has a large beater to pack the warp firmly.Examples of Tablet weaving looms in illuminations: Figure 9: Mary weaving in the Temple.kb. 14r). Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 7 . http://racer. The free-standing “loom” is probably a floor-standing warp spreader. c.

http://utu.Figure 11: Mary weaving. fol.cfm?imagename=m453.jpg Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 8 . c. c.jpg&page=ICA000140459 I particularly love this illumination because it clearly shows the weaver actually sitting IN the weave!!!! This becomes essential when weaving a complex pattern from a sideways orientation! Figure 12: Mural cycle showing the processing of silk and flax at the Kanonikerhaus in 1425-1430.morganlibrary. a book of hours (PML M.030vd. http://www. 1320: fingerloop braiding and weaving on a band loom . Germany.bildindex. 30v).

Norway.themorgan. The Hours of Catherine of Cleves (PML M. fol. 149).917. 1440 .asp?page=69 Figure 14: tablets and awls at the Viking Ship Museum in Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 9 .wordpress. http://adventuresofafartraveler.Figure 13: This illustration clearly shows the bobbin and a leaf-shaped http://www. The photograph is taken from her blog of her trip to Norway. “The Holy Family at work”. c. Items are from the Oseberg find Photographer “Costume Girl”.

historiska.asp?uid=28647 Figure 16: A third tablet from the same http://mis.asp?uid=28688 Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 10 .Figure 15: Viking-age horn tablets: SHM 4683. SHM 5208 .

at/server/images/7010353. Figure 18: Closeup of pattern book. Slovenia. http://tarvos. there is evidence that pattern books were used. One example is the “New Model Book” of bobbin lace patterns first published in the late 126th C.oeaw.Pattern and method: While early cardweaving patterns were most likely passed down by teaching and word-of-mouth. detail shows her pattern-book.JPG Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 11 . This makes sense as “mass market” publishing begain to be more common and books for other sorts of weaving were also being published around this time. Figure 17: Use of a pattern book while weaving! “Mary at the loom” from a fresco at the Church of St. at least in the 16th 1504.imareal. Primus and

The pattern is one called a “kivrim” or “bent” pattern. The warping pattern and turnings pattern that I used can be seen below. Figure 19: threading diagram.html Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 12 .The pattern I used was one found at The Loomy Bin website.theloomybin. The Loomy Bin is a marvelous resource of proven patterns provided for use by all. Similar patterns can be found in an early Finnish design called a “Finnsh ‘S’” (Collingwood). “Kivrim Techniques and Anatolian “ http://www.

As the cards turn. If the cards are turned continuously forwards. you can see by looking at the threading diagram above that the pattern looks like a series of diamonds with four cards making up each side. the shed isn’t just “changed” (upper threads are lowered. a quick overview relevant to the above illustration and the following one is probably in order. Thus hole A will be at the top of the card on the edge closest to the weaver while hole D will be on the top side on the edge away from the weaver. every block of color indicates a thread. Since the cards operate in groups of four. This greatly simplified how I thought about the pattern. but I wanted a little more pizzazz in my finished piece – I wanted the spiral. I could have stopped with just that pretty pattern. like a screw thread. Cardweaving differs from “regular weaving” in that the shed is changed by turning the cards. Now. lower threads are raised). The threading diagram here is actually quite easy to make up as the cards are threaded identically. This rope can have a direction or “twist” that. I noticed that it was grouped into “fours. the hole numbering quickly becomes irrelevant as thread position becomes more important than numbering. Nonetheless. The angle of the card oncethreaded is actually opposite the direction of the resultant twist when the card is turned forward (away from the weaver). then each successive turn of the cards would “draw a line” by bringing the next contrasting thread to the top. a series of chevron stripes will be produced with the pattern repeating every four turns. If the direction of the turning was reversed. Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 13 . Every vertical row corresponds to one card. With a little study of the pattern. before I get into more detail about the illustration above. Reversing the direction in which the cards are turned. The four horizontal rows each correspond to an individually lettered hole in the cards. usually numbered from A thru D in a fashion rotating around the card in the direction towards the weaver.” Four cards side-by-side were all threaded the same direction and so each group of four cards acted as one. A very fine thread will make a finished product suitable for trim while a thicker thread will produced a finished product more suited to a strap or a belt.or left-handed in direction. the contrasting thread would come to the top. if the cards are turned four turns forward and then four turns backwards. the direction of the line being “drawn” would reverse. can be right. the choice of thread used has a very large impact upon the thickness of the final product. The angled lines at the below the colored squares indicate the angle of the card after the card is threaded. Every four cards the threading direction can be reversed by simply twisting the cards so that A becomes D. However. In this pattern. The process of passing the weft thread back and forth through the shed as these “ropes” are twined draws the ropes together and forms a fabric. but are twined around each other like a rope. all that said. reverses the direction of the twist. Thus. As the cards were threaded so that the placement of the contrasting thread was offset one position from that of it’s neighbors.Please note: the rest of this writing assumes that the reader is more than a little familiar with the intricacies of cardweaving theory. there are four warp threads per card so each set of four threads makes it’s one “rope” as the cards are twisted. a series of diamonds – the desired background! – will be produced. Every four turns. In the threading diagram above.

Figure 20:Turning Pattern Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 14 .

Figure 21: modified turning diagram Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 15 . In the picture below. then counting groups of four to discover which cards are turning forward or back at that particular point in the pattern.I drew a grid on top of a printed copy of the turning pattern and made a notation indicating where the cards would turn forwards and where they would turn backwards. Once simplified. From here. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I translated the pattern into an easy-to-follow “shorthand grid” and followed that in order to weave. the turning pattern was much simpler than it originally appeared. it’s a numbers game: examining where you are in the pattern. every blackdot indicates that the card in that position reverses direction at that point.

To accomplish the weaving itself. In the one pack method. Figure 22: Standing while weaving. http://visualiseur. De mulieribus claris (BNF Fr. Arachne (fol. beginning of the 15th century. all the cards are kept bundled into one pack and card are individually turned forwards and backwards or the pack as a whole is turned forwards and backwards. 58). 29) and Penelope (fol. 598).fr/ConsulterElementNum?O=IFN-8100285&E=JPEG&Deb=19&Fin=19&Param=C Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 16 . Both methods may be accomplished with the weaver standing or sitting depending on comfort desired or the viewing angle needed to monitor the progress of the woven pattern. there are two different methods: the one pack method and the two pack method.bnf.

I am extremely pleased with how it turned out. 1460.In the two pack method. The results are breathtaking. but I have barely scratched the depths of what I plan to accomplish. Individual cards are moved between the packs depending upon the direction they are required to turn at a given” a dropped-hole technique where one or more holes in the cards are not threaded thus exposing the warp threads and adding more depth and texture into the weave. 37r). Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 17 . http://racer. c. the cards are separated into two “working” packs depending on the direction the cards are turning and each working pack is treated as a whole. Figure 23: Illustration of use of two-pack technique!!!! Annunciation. Future projects will include an exploration of twill weaves and a technique called “the Hotchdorf method.kb. Festal Missal (KB 128 D 30. The other trim constructed for this project (but not entered!) is a pattern of my own devising and the barest beginning of pattern manipulation through the weave itself. fol. I can hardly wait.JPG Final Words: This project is but the beginning.

Patterns from the first book of bobbin lace to be “The Holy Family at work”. 58). Peter.asp?uid=28688 “Mary at the loom” from a fresco at the Church of St. Stuttgart: Haupy. Many of these same items are mentioned in Collingwood’s “The Textiles of the Oseberg Ship” by Anne Stine Ingstad. 1982.Bibliography Collingwood.asp?page=69 Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 18 . De mulieribus claris (BNF Fr. http://www. New Edition: McMinnville. A first person account of a trip to Oslo. An extremely well-researched and documented paper on the authors work reproducing one of the weavings from the Halstatt 1460. 37r). ISBN 3-258-03610-1 Web-ography: Hallstatt Tablet Weaving by Lady Czina Angielczyka. 149) Specific images: http://mis.bnf. The New Model Book republished as Fascinating Bobbin Lace. Slovenia.wordpress. Copyright 2009.HTM Swedish Historical Museum. blog by Costume Girl. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. including a photographic record of items she personally viewed at the Viking Ship Museum. Festal Missal (KB 128 D 30. c.http://www.gen. The Techniques of Tablet Weaving.htm The Adventures of a Far Traveler.JPG Annunciation. 1504. Primus and Felicianus.themorgan. beginning of the 15th century. pictures of extant horn tablets for tablet weaving http://www.imareal. by Clair Burchard.JPG Arachne (fol. fol. fol.historiska. 1440 .se/mis/sok/bild. Norway. http://www.leatherchain. detail shows her pattern-book. 29) and Penelope (fol. 1986. The Hours of Catherine of Cleves (PML M. Stockholm.oeaw.asp?uid=28688 http://mis.historiska. 2002. 598). http://racer.forest. Has a very thorough c. Oregon: Robin and Russ Handweavers. http://visualiseur.

http://www. c. Germany.453.jpg Annunciation. Festal Missal (KB 128 D 30.030vd.Mural cycle showing the processing of silk and flax at the Kanonikerhaus in Constance. http://racer.bildindex.theloomybin. 1425-1430. 1460. “ http://www. c.JPG Kivrim Techniques and Anatolian Bands. 37r).html Mary weaving. http://utu.cfm? 1320: fingerloop braiding and weaving on a band loom .jpg&page=ICA0001 40459 Author: Heather Jeffcott 2/18/2011 19 . fol. 30v).morganlibrary. a book of hours (PML M.

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