I finally decided on the next project for my tablet-weaving loom. I’m making a band (trim? belt? hmmm…) using a pattern I found on Babette’s Website which looks like dragon heads. You can see the pattern in Babette’s pattern editor or look at this crappy printout of it:

Can you make heads or tails of this thing?

The pattern is from a tablet-weaver who goes by the handle of “blue”. She seems pretty active in the Flinkhand forum for tablet-weavers and I’d like to thank her for putting this pattern up on Babette’s website for me to use. Thanks, blue!

I picked out some nice colors of my new silk yarn and put about 4 meters on the loom. It looks like this:

I’m using black, a dark purple, a light purple (lilac) and a rich red for the dragon head outline. Not exactly appropriate medieval colors (especially if you weren’t rich), but I figure any count, princess or duke that could afford silk could probably also afford purple ;-) After struggling to get it on the loom and get the warp tension even I decided that I really must learn how to do continuous warping – where you don’t cut each warp thread, but instead you go around and around with the warp picking up the tablets on your way – before I do my next project. Sheesh! What a PITA!

This pattern is also done using the Sulawesi technique. I really like the way this looks but for some reason I always have a lot of problems getting started. I need to twist the tablets about 5 different ways before I finally get the pattern to come out correctly. Silly me, I think I make my life difficult on purpose. The patterns on Babette’s website using a different notation with different meaning than the other patterns I’ve used (from Guntram’s site) so that what used to work before doesn’t work anymore. Argh! Why can’t we standardize this stuff? I think this must be something like “paying your dues” since every tablet-weaver needs to go through this pain. Maybe this is the way to weed out the serious ones from the others? Trial by fire?

Since the pattern is quite complicated and I find it difficult to tell exactly where I am by looking at the weaving, I tend to lose my place and make mistakes. Taking rows out is even more of a PITA than weaving them in, so this is taking forever! Oh, well. Here’s what I’ve got so far (about 15 centimeters or 6 inches):

Even with all the frustration I really like the way it looks. I assume that I will make fewer mistakes and get better at it as I go along. Let’s hope so!

Here’s something I found that is helpful: Since the silk yarn is pretty slippery and I’m using the “2-pack” method to separate the tablets (one group gets turned forwards, the other backwards) I needed something to hold the separate packs together so the tablets don’t slide all over the place and accidentally get turned or mixed up. I found some stitch-holders for knitting that seem to do the trick. Here’s a shot of that:

I’ll post more when I get a chance.

2 Responses to “Next Tablet-Weaving project: Dragons (well…the heads anyway)”

  1. After much staring, I finally see the dragon head. Neat. Your stitch holders look perfect for the job. I’m sorry Bob can’t do such intricate weaving since he only uses one hand. I do write out the pattern for him and he reads it line by line when weaving. You can use a magnetic board and line reader,

    • Thanks for looking, Nat. I;ve seen Bob’s work and am very impressed. I’m getting the hang of this now. Today I did about 10 centimeters (4 inches) without making a single mistake. I think it’s all about the rhythym.

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