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Tablet Weaving Terms

Note! This list is a work in progress and will be updated periodically.


These are what this type of weaving gets it’s name from. The cards are typically a square with rounded corners, with a hole in each corner. They can be made of many types of materials: wood, bone, old playing cards, thick paper.


This is the open space between the threads that the weft passes through. Turning the cards moves threads from the front of the shed to the back, and vice versa. The shed is the vertical part of the weav.


This is the thread that is passed back and forth through the shed. This creates the horizontal portion of the weave.


As you turn the cards, the 4 threads running through the corners of the card will twist around each other. If the band you’re weaving requires that the cards all turn in the same direction always, you will notice that the threads you haven’t woven yet will get twisted tightly around and prevent you from continuing the band. If your threads are fixed in place, then to get rid of this extra twist you can choose a suitable spot to reverse the direction you are turning the cards. Another option is to use weights in your weaving, these will hang freely as you weave. Occasionally when the twist gets too severe you can stop and manually un-twist these threads before continuing on.

S-Threading & Z-Threading

How you pass the threads through the cards will affect which direction the twist will go. If you are going from a pattern it will define which direction to go in. In the image below the band created had all of the cards threaded in the same direction… with this thicker material you can definitely see the resulting twist direction of the threads 

Forward Turn & Backwards Turn

As you are weaving, you will either turn the cards away from yourself, or towards yourself. Unfortuately when it comes to patterns available.. in books or on the web especially it’s a little hard to tell which direction is the appropriate one. Cards can either face to the left or right, and the numbering can go either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Due to these factors, and the threading direction (s-threaded or z-threaded) it can be tricky for a beginner to know which way to position the cards and which way to turn them. If you are trying out a new pattern and can’t seem to get it to work properly while getting started I recommend switching the direction you turn the cards and see if that helps.


There are a wide variety of looms you can use to weave your bands. The least materials intensive is likely the ‘back-strap’ method, which means basically you’re attaching one end of the weaving to yourself, and the other end to… well.. whatever you’ve got available! So far I’ve found most people prefer to use some kind of wood loom setup.. pictured below are some examples.


It is difficult to keep the threads of your weave in good tension when you’re first starting out. If you can’t keep the threads evenly taught you will end up with weird bubbles in your weave. Also found your cards will want to get tangled up with each other more often than not if the threads aren’t tight enough. I’ve found putting weights (for lighter bands around 3oz seems to be a good weight) on the ends of your threads keeps them nice and tight, but free hanging so you can un-twist the threads as necessary.


The shuttle holds the weft. The threads of the weft are wound around the shuttle to it’s easier to pass through the shed. Also, as you’re weaving you’ll likely need to “beat down” the weaving as well, to keep things tight and tidy. Ideally your shuttle will be able to perform both of those tasks.