In tablet weaving small square tablets with a hole in each corner are used to control the warp threads. The warp yarn is threaded through each of the four holes in the tablet. Depending on the desired width of the band, a set of tablets is then put together and placed on edge, forming the shed used in the weaving process. At one end all the warp threads are attached to a fixed point. At the other end the warp is attached to the weaver’s belt. Throughout times the most common purpose of this technique is for weaving decorative bands, but in prehistoric times different combinations of tablet weaving has also been used as integrated edges of woven fabrics.
The principle of tablet weaving:
A: Small square plates with a hole in each corner are threaded with 4 threads. When a tablet is twisted some threads move from the lower thread layer to the upper thread layer and vice versa.
B: A number of tablets put together create a loom with a shed. The weft is passed through the shed and will draw together the twisted cords of all the tablets. Moving tablets in different directions and using yarn of different colour gives a larger number of possible patterns, which no other weaving methods can produce. (Drawing LRK).
Common tablet woven structures.
A: Warp-twinning, all tablets are threaded from the left side and all tablets are turned forward.
B: Warp-twining, all tablets are threaded alternately from the left- and from the right side. This weaving structure is described tablets threaded alternately opposed. This is the most common variation of tablet weaving.
C: Double faced tablet weave. Every tablet is threaded from the same side here with two white threads in neighbour holes and two dark threads in the remaining two neighbour holes. Turning sequence: All tablets are turned two times forward, two times backward and so on. Colour change: All tablets four times forward then back to two times forward, two times backward and so on.
D: Double faced 3/1broken twill, threading and colours as C. Turning sequence without colour change: Every single tablet is turned two times forward, two times backward, but turning sequence is dislocated compared to neighbour tablets. Colour change: Each tablet are turned four times forward, then backward to two times, forward two times, backward two times and so on. (Drawing LRK)