A Double-Faced Tablet Woven Band – Pt 1

I had been doing tablet weaving, also known as card weaving, for a number of years. Most of my tablet weaving efforts were focused on making simple woven-in designs on narrow straps – they make good belts and garter belts. I had even sewn several pieces of tablet weaving together (side-by-side) to make a rather fun red and white belt pouch. At some point I decided that it was time to “up the game” so I taught myself how to do a new, more specialized tablet weaving technique called double-faced weaving, and thus the origins of this project! As with my previous Leather Purse with Metal Frame blog series, I will divide up the original documentation into sections and then post a follow-up with pictures and any additional information that I can find to help clarify the process.


The technique used to produce this band is called double-faced tablet weaving. The technique was originally introduced to me as Double-Faced Icelandic Tablet Weaving, because of its presence as a technique in Iceland, but this limits the technique to only one geographic group. Collingwood assures us that double-faced weave inscription bands are also known from England, Greece, Tunis, Persia, Turkey, India, Sulawesi, and Burma, as well as Armenia, Abyssinia, and Bulgaria. 1 While Spies documents the finds of double faced 3/1 broken twill in Scandinavia at least as far back as the 6th century.2 The technique produces a band with a reversible design. The presence of graphic designs, writing, and even dates, on tablet woven bands is also easily documented to period. There are several bands, known as “Jerusalem bands”, the earliest of which date from at least the early 1600’s.3 The “Bishops Band” also known as the Cingulum of St. Witgarius (the Bishop of Augsburg) dates from 860-876 AD and comes from southern Germany, 4 the Stole of St. Cuthbert, dating from the 10th century, comes from Durham, England,5 and the maniple of St. Ulrich (Bishop of Augsburg) dating from 10th century in Augsburg, Germany, are all examples of double-faced tablet weaving.6

More in Part 2!


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