Friday, July 10, 2015

Adventures in Card Weaving

This series of adventures includes mishaps, such as finding that yarn won't work for this beginner, resulting in snarls, from the yarn and the weaver, and various other tangles and ending in taking all the painstakingly threaded cards, unthreading them and finding a better thread.  

Which turns out to be crochet thread.  Glossing kindly over the beginner bonehead events, such as tying myself firmly onto the warp, one end on the doorknob, the other on a string hitched through my belt loops, perfectly positioned to start, then remembering my shuttle is in the other room...

Or finding as I slide the cards up and down tentatively, that the one with the dancing chefs has thrown off a thread and is trying to operate on three.  No idea how to fix this before I'm too old to care, so I decided to jettison the chefs, cut out the three remaining strings, and gently set them aside along with the shuttle now within reach.

It took most of an evening to thread a mere 13 cards, all I have at the moment, and half the morning to accomplish a couple of inches of weaving, but I can now say I know how to do this. 

You will notice my sample, lumpy little effort of which I'm very proud, is plain.  No pattern. I figured learning the skills was enough without patterns which involve threading in a certain way, turning cards in correct order, well, that comes next.

And I notice that the cards seem to have taken on a life of their own.  When I was trying the yarn, Mother Jones card totally went on strike, got herself hopelessly tangled in the warp threads, set up a picket line, in fact.  The Chartres labyrinth was a model citizen, in contrast.  So you might want to watch out what you use on your cards if you make your own.  The Alberta beeve was just fine, no excitement, just peacefully turning as pushed.  Good old Buttercup.

There is a special hot place booked for people who give "Card Weaving for Beginners" on youtube and insist that 19 cards and a turning pattern are ideal for someone who doesn't even know how to hold a card yet.  Nooooooo.  And another reservation for the lady who, when she was showing how the cards look, so you can make your own, held them too far away to see, and just waved her hand vaguely instead of showing how they are marked a b c and d when you make them.  

All in all one of the best videos was in some language, possibly Polish or Lithuanian where the setup was very visible, the worker moved slowly and kindly, and though I couldn't understand nor read a word, still learned quite a bit.  Her own work was exquisite.

She used wooden, obviously well used, tablets (card weaving and tablet weaving are the same thing, they used to use wood or other substances for what we now can use cards for).  

I'm also very happy I found this website: because she gives the only real explanation I could find about the Z and the S threading, also known as up and down, or maybe it's down and up.  She acknowledges that this is one place that caused a flurry of emails asking her to explain it better!  so she did.  She's a saint.

So I am tired but triumphant, having accomplished my goal of learning the principles of card weaving, and maybe when I finish this piece, I'll have a bookmark to show for it.


  1. So exciting to see you trying to master a new craft! It is really frustrating when videos are no help. Looking forward to seeing your progress in this skill.

  2. I laughed out loud the first time I read this, and am still chuckling--sounds a bit like my adventures with a barn loom and entirely too much thread...I know you'll persevere--

  3. good that you have worked out how to do this without spoken instructions, door handles have there uses don`t they for other than opening a door. I make my twisted cords attached to the handles.


Thank you so much for commenting! it means a lot to me to know you're out there and reading and enjoying.