Equipment and materials

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Historically, tablets were made of bone or wood, and perhaps also of leather or horn. To practice at home, you can make your first tablets out of cardboard, or old playing cards. To make each tablet, cut out a square about 5 cm on each side, and punch four holes in the corners, drawing construction lines as shown in Figure 1 to locate the holes. Round the corners off as shown.

Tablet card.png

Figure 1: Tablet Designs


The weft thread will be wound onto a shuttle so it can easily be passed through the band while you are weaving. Figure 2 shows two possible shuttle designs. Historically, shuttles were usually made of wood but you can practice with a 5cm long shuttle cut out of stiff cardboard.

Shuttle.png Fig 2 Shuttle designs


Any kind of yarn can be used, but a thick thread about the weight of double knitting wool will be easier to work with than a very fine thread. Although fluffy knitting wool is easy to obtain, it's hard work to weave because it sticks to itself and is very stretchy. A smoother yarn such as worsted spun wool, machine knitting wool or silk will be much easier to weave.

If you are interested in creating bands similar to those used in historical times, remember to choose soft colours that resemble those acheived by natural Dyeing techniques. Especially suitable colours are:

  • Rusty red, as obtained from the plant madder
  • Denim blue, as obtained from the plant woad
  • Yellow, as obtained from the plant weld

Many other colours can be achieved by using natural dyes, but if you start with the three above, you will be on safe ground.

Historically, quite fine threads were used, no greater in thickness than the threads used to weave cloth on an upright loom.

You are now ready to start Weaving your first band.