Historical Textiles-




How to: Tablet Weaving with Handspun Yarn

Tablet weaving with handspun yarn can make an absolutely beautiful woolen, card woven band. Having a yarn that is intentionally spun for weaving can make all the difference in how well your pattern will show up, reducing the pilling and fuzzing that can happen with fluffier commercial yarns, and of course, custom dyeing can give you the color pallet you want for your project. In this post, I’m showing you a simple tablet woven band that I created with my hand-dyed and handspun yarn.

a multicolored woven band made of yarn rolled up on a wooden table
Here is the final result of the tablet woven band that I created with my hand-dyed and handspun yarn!

Watch the full video of this tablet weaving project on YouTube or keep reading below!

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The Cards for This Tablet Weaving Project

You may recognize these tablet weaving cards from my Vlogmas 2021 series. Each day, I placed one of these blessing cards in the advent calendar for that series. But if you turn them over, the cards have little circles and labels (A, B, C, and D) for weaving.

A close-up of a weaving loom with a square paper card that says Vlogmas and ABCD
I used these blessing cards in my Vlogmas 2021 series, and they double as tablet weaving cards!

If you don’t have these particular cards, that’s ok! You can get premade tablet weaving cards from other companies, or you can easily DIY tablet weaving cards from any deck of playing cards.

The Yarn for This Tablet Weaving Project

The idea behind this project is that you can improve your weaving results by using handspun yarn. Of course, I am a little biased towards handspun yarn. I love to spin yarn! But with weaving, it is so important to use yarn with the right characteristics. A lot of commercial yarn is intended to be used for projects like knitting and crochet, but these yarns can come out too fluffy for weaving projects —obscuring the pattern and causing undesired pilling.

Having a yarn that is higher twist and more tightly spun will result in a better effect, surface area, and view of the pattern.

I love the colors in this hand-dyed, handspun yarn!

I started with some undyed Polwarth Top and divided it into 1 oz portions. Then I dyed each portion a different color. I really enjoy using Polwarth! It is a longwool and has a good staple length for weaving. It has good strength and a little bit of elasticity, but not so much that I would call it bouncy. I added a higher twist to give it some more durability to take the abrasion that happens with warp.

I tried to spin each color of yarn the same, but a couple of the colors came out slightly thicker. They came out between 25-30 wraps per inch. I was aiming for a 30-degree twist angle. Most are right at the 30-degree mark or just a smidge towards 20. These parameters ended up being durable and working well for weaving.

The Pattern for This Tablet Weaving Project

I used this pattern and a Schacht Inkle Loom to weave this project. This is a twist neutral pattern. That means that every time you turn the cards, it will add some twist but later the cards will reverse to undo that twist.

I followed the pattern but switched things up a bit with the colors! Watch the full video for more info about how I used this pattern.

A small piece of woven fabric with a multicolored diamond pattern
This woven diamond pattern works really well with the colors of my hand-dyed wool.

Card Weaving Tips and Tricks

Card weaving can be really tricky! I learned a lot from this project — like not to keep your hot beverage next to your weaving where you can knock it over with the shuttle!

Learn from my mistakes: keep hot beverages away from your weaving project!

But on a more serious note, a lot of the challenges with weaving come from the fact that wool is sticky. The wool tends to grab onto itself, which causes abrasion. If you’ve never done tablet weaving before, you may wish to do your first project with crochet cotton, flax, or linen thread. But if you’re using wool, here are several things I learned that make it easier:

  1. Turn the cards a little bit extra and then bring them back to position. This helps loosen up any threads that are holding onto each other within the shed.
  2. Put your finger through the shed where the shuttle is going to make sure there aren’t any threads hanging on that might cause a color to lift where it shouldn’t be or be hidden where it should appear.
  3. Don’t slide the cards back and forth. This creates a ton of abrasion and increases the risk of pulling threads.
  4. Have good tension on the loom. When I started, I had my peg in the center, but I should have had it all the way to the back. Having the peg in the back allows you the space to still be able to adjust the tension when you get towards the end of the pattern.
  5. Find a place in the pattern where you can create a landmark for yourself, so you don’t get lost. This helps you keep track of where you are in the pattern. If you make a mistake, you can use the landmark to easily back up and problem solve.
Yarn arranged on a card weaving loom sitting on a table
I had such a great time with this weaving project!

How do you use historical projects in daily life?

I loved this whole process! I enjoy doing projects like this with my handspun yarn and incorporating historical or uncommon textiles into my day-to-day. These types of textiles are useful art that you just can’t get at a box store.

Tell me in the comments what do you do when you create these types of historic textiles? How do you make it relevant to your daily life and not just relegate it to storage or special occasions?

Subscribe and Learn More!

If you enjoyed this project and want to see more, you can buy me a coffee (or a floof of fiber!) to help support my next textile adventure. And remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel and join my Patreon!

If you are interested in learning more about how to tablet weave, I also recommend watching Tablet Weaving for the Absolute Beginner on Elewys’ channel or reading The Techniques of Tablet Weaving by Peter Collingwood and Card Weaving by Candace Crockett.

If you are interested in private virtual spinning lessons, you can send me an e-mail at [email protected].

Happy spinning!

2 thoughts on “How to: Tablet Weaving with Handspun Yarn

  1. Kim

    I loved your video on tablet weaving Jillian. I learned the process through the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) several years ago. So, other than for playing in Centuries long past, I have used tablet woven bands like head bands, for guitar straps, for belts, for purse handles and for trim on clothing items.

    1. JillianEve

      So many wonderful uses! That’s great!

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