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Project Planning:

To some, this is the most exciting aspect of weaving.  To others, this is a necessary evil before digging into the actual weaving.

At a minimum, it is a good idea to plan your project in order to make sure you have enough materials.  It also helps in determining if the colors you plan on using work together, and to get an idea of what the finished product may look like before investing hours of weaving time.

Because this is basic instruction, we will be concentrating on 'Threaded In' designs (all cards move the same direction), and using four hole cards.  All examples should assume these two things.  More complex weaves would include separate packs of cards moving in different directions, or cards with a different number of holes.


One of the things I like most about Tablet Weaving is that the list of specialized tools is very small.

Here is a list of required tools, and how to make them:



A tablet weaving draft is a graphical representation of the setup of the cards, which colors go in which holes, etc.  It allows you to recreate projects, either your own or someone else'.

Figure 1 illustrates a draft for a card woven band.

Turning Seq:FFFFBBBB

This draft shows us many things:

So for this project, we will be using 12 4-hole cards (labeled A-D clockwise).  Three colors – Green, Red and Yellow .  We need 26 lengths of Green, and 11 lengths of Red and 11 Yellow.  This is the total number of each colored block representing a single length of thread or in weaving terms, ends.  That makes a total of 48 (12 cards X 4 holes) ends, or single lengths of yarn.


The next step would be determining how long you wish to make the band.  Card woven bands belong to a class of weaving called Warp-Faced weaves.

Time for more weaving definitions.  The warp threads are the threads that run lengthwise through the weaving.  The warp is attached to something that separates it and allows the weft to pass through it.  The weft is the thread that criss-crosses back and forth through the warp.  The area through which the weft passes is called the shed.  That is the space between the warp threads created by separating the warp threads.

See the glossary for more definitions.

In card weaving the warp threads are the threads that pass through the cards.  The cards act as a spacer creating a shed.  You pass the weft between the opening created by the cards using a shuttle.

Now, back to warp-faced bands.  Inkle woven and card woven bands are both examples of warp-faced weaves.  This means that very little of the weft thread is seen in the final product, and the predominant pattern is created using only the warp threads.  Other types of weaving, to contrast, are weft-faced weaves, and balanced weaves.  Weft-faced weave examples would be Navajo rugs.  Almost no warp shows, and the pattern is created using predominantly the weft.  A balanced weave shows both warp and weft faced threads.




In planning a card woven band, we need to decide how long we want our finished band to be.  Once the warp is cut, and threaded through the cards, it is very difficult to add length, so knowing we have enough to start with will make life much easier.

Because the band will be warp-faced, the take-up will be absorbed in the warp and not the weft.  As the warp passes over and under each weft, a little of the length will be used, this is the take-up.  We have to take this into account, or our final product will be much shorter than we anticipated.  Also, there will be some waste from tying up the warp, and we have to allow for any fringe we want on the ends.

With a band 5' long for example, if we add 25% for what will be taken up from the weaving, and another few inches for waste and fringe, we can determine that about 71/2' should be enough to give us a five foot finished band.

60” x .25 = 15” Lost in take-up

60” (finished length) + 15” (take-up) + 3” (total fringe) + 12” (waste) = 90”

This isn't an exact science, but it gives us a close approximation.  Take-up amounts will change based on the warp and weft fiber used, and waste is a personal thing.  A thick warp or weft will take up more than a thin warp or weft.

Let's look at our material requirements for the band in the draft then.  If we were making a 5' band, f or the Green we'd need 26 ends, or individual lengths 90” long.  That is 26 x 90” = 2340 inches or 2340/36 = about 65 yards.  A 5/2 pearl cotton is typically 2000yd/lb, so using more math (I never said there wouldn' be math) 65 yards is about 3% of 2000, so 3% of 16oz is .48 oz. or just under half an ounce of Green will be required for this project.

Now I'm going to tell you a small secret.  I'm not nearly this precise.  I measure the length of each warp as two of my arm's lengths.  That is approximately 12' and with waste gives me a nice 6-8' band before I get bored and cut it off.  This amount also fits very nicely on my inkle loom.  Very little in weaving is absolute, and instead of getting hung up on the small details, do what is easiest FOR YOU first.  It is important to know that you can figure out material amounts to fairly precise degrees, but practically speaking, it may not be as important to actually do it.

If you want to make the band in the pictures, that is #10 crochet thread, and at least 3' is required for each length of yarn, or end.  This will produce a band 6" long and leave room for fringe ties.

Now for the width.  We've talked about how to calculate the length we need, but if we know we want a band 1/2" wide, how many cards will that take using a specific yarn?

Because this is a warp-faced weave, the easiest method is to wrap a ruler with the thread you want to use until you reach the desired width.  Then count the number of wraps.  This will be the number of cards you will need to thread.  The wraps should be touching one another, but not snugged too tightly next to each other.

Turning Sequence:

The turning sequence is our guide to turning the cards.  In this example the cards are turned four times forward, passing the weft through the shed between each turn, and then four times backwards, again passing the weft through each time.  We go into card turning in more detail in a later chapter.

If we were to change the turning sequence of the cards, then a completely different pattern would emerge even though we are using the same draft.  It is important when creating original designs to record the turning sequence if you ever want to replicate the design again.

We now have all of the information we need to weave this band!

Meticulous record keeping will help you in the future.  Believe me!

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