A Double-Faced Tablet Woven Band – Pt 2

Back to the Tablet Weaving Project!

The Basic Tablet Weaving Technique

Tablet Weaving uses a set of cards, strung on the weft, to produce a shed through which the warp can be run. In normal tablet weaving the cards are turned after each time that the weft in inserted into the shed. This creates a distinctive twisted warp fabric. The design is created by counting and turning the individual cards to place specific colors on the surface of the weaving. The regular weft is then inserted and the cards are turned again to lock the weft in place.

In double-faced tablet weaving the wefts are alternately of two colors so that turning the cards makes the colors switch places on the surface of the band. The tablets are not all turned in unison, rather the cards whose colors are supposed to be on the surface remain unturned while other cards are turned. There are practical considerations when designing with this technique – the “float” of color on the top of the piece should not be too long or it will tend to “catch” on things.

My Project

This band is a custom design made to the specifications of an individual. The design of this band is a hops vine (my husband is a brewer), with writing (in this case my husband’s name), in the center of the back of the band. I used crochet cotton as both the warp and the weft for this project. I would have preferred to use silk, but it was outside of my budget constraints and my husband wanted something “sturdy and washable”. I graphed the design myself, using a picture of a real hops vine to guide my design. I then experimented to make sure that the design would not be elongated or foreshortened. When I had the graph done correctly I simply wove the piece to the desired length.

My Thoughts On This Project

I enjoyed the challenge of making this belt. Next time I would prefer to use silk and do a tighter weave. For a first try, I think it came out pretty well. My husband did not want a loop on one end and fringe on the other, which is the form that we usually see on period belts and garters7, but I think I would prefer that method of finishing in the future. I had actually planned on the loop style of finishing the belt when I started the weft and because I had to change the finishing technique the belt is a little shorter than I would prefer it to be.

End Notes

  1. Collingwood, p. 179, 186.
  2. Spies, p. 1.
  3. Collingwood, p. 179.
  4. Collingwood, p. 243.
  5. Spies, p. 190.
  6. Spies, p. 191.
  7. Crockett, p. 20.


Collingwood, Peter, The Techniques of Tablet Weaving, Faber & Faber Unlimited, 1982.

Crockett, Candace, Card Weaving, Interweave Press, 1973.

Spies, Nancy, Ecclesiastical Pomp and Aristocratic Circumstance: A Thousand Years of Brocaded Tabletwoven Bands, Arelate Studio, 2000.


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!