Reading Tablet Weaving Patterns

This is a subject that has, over the last two days, become near and dear to my heart. Mostly because I wove 6 inches and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the pattern wasn’t working.

I am weaving this:

Go look at it. No really, it’s pretty. This is a threaded in pattern not double face (I’ll explain the difference in a minute) from Mim’s Muddle. Her full pattern library can be found here:

Pattern Library

Her patterns are fairly simply written out. Each colored square corresponds with a hole in a card. The color coding shows you when color of yarn you’re putting through that hole. Each column (up and down) is one card. So the pattern that I’m working with is a three color, 12 card pattern.

With me so far? Ok.

The S and Z’s along the bottom of the pattern tell you how the card is threaded, S or Z. S means the thread is entering on the left side of the card and exiting the right side (like the middle line in the letter S), Z is threaded right to left (like the middle line in the letter Z).

Mistake Number 1 I made with this pattern: See card 8? See how it’s threaded identically to card 7? Yeah I didn’t. I threaded it identically to card 9. Which is not the same. Don’t be like me. Double check your pattern while you’re warping. 

So now you’ve got your pattern warped using whichever method pleases you (Check here for a refersher). How do you make the pattern go from colored squares to the actual patterned band?

In this instance of threaded in patterns it’s the turning pattern. Turn your attention to the second graph, the one right below the pattern. Notice how along the left there’s 4X? That’s the number of times you turn the cards. Notice how the first row has an F in each box? That means you turn all the cards forward four times. See how the second row has FFBBBFFBBBFF? That means you’re turning the first, middle, and last two cards forward four more times and the remainder are going backwards four times. Simple right?

Mistake Number 2 I made with this pattern: look below that chart. See the tiny 4F? Yeah?  I didn’t. That means you turn all the cards forward four more times. So the actual turning pattern has another row. Which explains why my band looks like confetti not the pattern. Don’t be like me, read your whole pattern before weaving. 

That’s it. That’s how you read threaded in patterns. Double face is different. For the purposes of this discussion we’ll be talking about just using two colors of yarn. With double face every card is threaded the same. Two of color A, then two of color B. What makes the pattern is the turning sequence ONLY. An excellent discussion on how to do this can be found here:

Trust me, without seeing it in person that link is the best explanation I can give  you. Double face is one of those things that sounds insanely complicated until you manage to do it, then it’s dirt simple.

That all being said? I fixed the two mistakes I recognized I was making my band looks awesome! On the backside. Somehow I’m weaving upside down. I don’t even know anymore, but this is what it is. Some times you just need to know when to shrug and roll with what on earth your yarn is doing.


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