Sunday, October 30, 2011

All Twisted Up

I tried my hand at tablet weaving again.  I'm determined to make this as easy as inkle weaving.  Right now I'm running into two main obstacles.  The first is my ability to start the pattern out.  The second is how to deal with the twist build up on cards that always move in the same direction.

For the first problem, I seem to be getting faster anyway.  I still have no idea what I'm doing wrong that I can't just set up the cards and go.  I've tried having the A corner be in the top back corner and the bottom back corner (front being toward where I sit, back toward where in an inkle there would be heddles.  Top above the plain of the weaving, bottom/below)  It doesn't seem to matter what I do.  If I have a pattern that is four forward, then four back if I just start in four forward it's wrong.  If I go three forward, four back for the start, it's wrong.  five forward...  four backward...  etc.

I've given up trying to figure out how my warping doesn't result in a pattern that starts out correctly but can eventually be made correct.  Instead, at this point I just sacrifice part of the band to muck and blunder through until the pattern turns out correct.  The next two pictures show the mess I made this last tablet weaving.

I got the middle correct first
and then fixed each side.  I think for this band I did have to switch the white to a different hole on one side.  This was because I had the s z the wrong way for that card.

This pattern was pretty nice once I got it sorted out.  It changes turn direction when the white appears.  White dot on one side means switch from forward to back.  Other white dot means back to forward.  If you try to switch any other time the squiggle in the middle will break.

Here's a picture of the correct pattern:

Yes, it's in German but they list the patterns in a clear, standardized way.  

The pattern I used was the middle of the one linked above.  
The way the pattern was listed, cards 1-3 and 8-10 would move 2 forward, 4 back, 2 forward
cards 4-7 would move 4 forward, 4 back.
I realized this was just slightly off from being all 4 forward, 4 back.  So I rotated the side cards 2 back at the beginning.  Of course, since I hadn't started in the correct spot for any of them, this just added to the mess.  But the idea was good and eventually that's what I ended up with.

The other major problem is the border cards, no matter the pattern, always need to move in one direction only.  It's just rather ugly if they switch directions.  This means you get twist build up.  I'm still trying to figure out how to solve this on an inkle loom.  For this band I attempted to border the card weaving with inkle woven borders.

I guess I was too frustrated to get pictures.  It didn't work.  But I'm tempted to try again anyway.  My problem was that I could not pull the weft tight enough to get the inkle portions to be flush with the tablet portions.  When I pulled harder the edges of the piece would bunch up but there was still a gap next to the cards.

I think one problem was the two types of weaving were not quite at the same angle.  Another possible problem was I was aiming for a wide band so the inkle portions were rather wide.  Perhaps with a much smaller border I could have pulled tighter.

Here's a picture of the band I made out of the inkle portions:

This was originally split in half down the black, with one half to either side of the band shown above.  When I gave up on that idea I pushed the tablet weaving warps to one side of the loom and these to the other side and wove them separately.  It was a little crowded but thankfully my loom is wide enough to handle it.

For now the only way I have to deal with twist is using rings.  So far I like small keyrings the best.  Large ones do not move freely enough.  I worry if I had to use too many of them they'd interfere with each other though.

Here's a few pictures showing the set-up:
The idea is one end of the warp is tied to a ring.  The other end is tied to a second ring after first passing through the first ring.  The second ring cannot pass through the first ring because they are the same size.  They can rotate freely however.  As the twist is pushed to the rings, they spin and the twist goes away.

The problem is getting the twist to the rings.  Each turn is a stopping point and the twist has to be pushed past the peg.  I've decided four turns isn't so bad so I can make bands as large as the outer dimensions of my loom.  Any more than four starts to be a tangled mess.  Still, this was much better than constantly untying and untwisting each cards wefts.  

I may just have to give in and build a tablet loom.  It looks incredibly simple.  I just don't know if I want a long board anywhere in my house.  And it bothers me that I don't see tablet weavings longer than 3 to 4 yards.  For trim it I like to weave at least 6 and regularly go 8.  Am I just not seeing them or is this weaving style impractical at such lengths?  There has to be a way.  

So, I'm back to simpler projects but the tablets lurk and will someday tempt me into another attempt.  

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