Linda Malan gave a talk about card weaving and also demonstrated this fascinating and ancient technique.

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Card weaving, also called tablet weaving,  goes back to at least the Iron Age in Europe, around the 8th century BCE.

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It can be used to make beautiful and complex bands of woven material that are very strong due to the twined weave structure.  Above are some examples of Linda’s work.

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The bands are typically no wider than about 2-3 inches, but they can be sewn together to make a wider fabric.  They can be used as belts, cords, straps, or decorative trim.

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Here Linda is showing how it’s done.  Smooth yarn is warped through the cardboard cards, four threads per card. Historic cards were made from bone, wood, ivory, leather, metal, etc.  As the cards are turned forward or backward, a pattern can be created and woven in.  Note the small shuttle in her right hand, which carries the weft yarn.

Oct 2018 2

You can see the beginning of the woven pattern here.  By turning the individual cards in different directions according to the graphed design, the lighter or darker warp threads are on the surface of the band.