Fixing threading errors in Tablet weaving

I've started my first tablet weaving! Although I felt like I checked a million times the threading, I have several threading errors. I'm not sure how to proceed. How do you fix these? I have about 1 1/2 inches woven. These are color placement errors. Any suggestions welcome. Cathie


Posted on Sat, 11/09/2013 - 02:53

It depends a bit on how the errors have come about.

Is it just 2 threads near each other that need to be swapped? Or threads that are just plain wrong and need to be replaced?

What kind of thread are you using? And are you using a continuous threading? How long is your warp?

How attached are you to that first 1.5 inches? :)

With a continuous warp, say, on an innkle loom, it is usually possible to replace a thread with a different one more or less the way you would on a "big" loom: take a pin and attach one end of your new thread to the weaving you have already done. run the new thread through the hole in the card the old thread goes through, take it along the same path to the end, then leave a bit extra to attach to the woven bit coming back the other way (if that makes sense?). Depending on how sticky your warp is, you can try doing a few shots with both threads, then snip off the old one, or just snip off the old one, either way leaving a tail that you can work back into the weaving.

If you have a longish warp that is not circular, you can loosen up the errant threads and then, if there are 2 that are near each other, you can "swap" them, take them back out to the end of the bundle, or, if the bundle is really long, leave enough length to work and tie to something sturdy, then make "butterflies" of the rest.

If the threads can't be "swapped," you can cut new threads, butterfly them to keep them from tangling, and replace the errant threads by pinning to the weaving already done, or you can chalk the inch and a half of work up to experience, cut it off, and begin as if nothing ever happened :)

This is all harder to explain than to do, hope I have not been too confusing?

Interested to hear how others handle this?

Posted on Sat, 11/09/2013 - 10:45

Thank you for your response !

What I've discovered this morning. It's not threading mistakes after all. It's faulty tension. I rechecked the threading again everything was fine. So I started to unweave and there it was. The weft would get caught on four threads that would hang down a smidge.

The best course of action seems to be to finish unweaving, only about 8 turns of Beginning heavy weft left? Undo the knot and retension the front. However I'll have to anchor the bottom knot? I guess I could tie it to a lower peg.

To answer your questions. I'm on a Mullarkey loom, so in a way that's a continuous warp with a cut and the front and end knots tied together. I'm using 3/2 cotton. I would say it's a 36 in. Long.

I hope I'm not missing something .

Thanks so much

Posted on Sat, 11/09/2013 - 11:02

I think you might continue having tension problems until you retie the knot or otherwise fix it. Could you run a large safety pin through the errant threads, twist it around to get more tension in those threads, and then fasten the pin to the knot? I'm not even sure if that would work!

Posted on Sat, 11/09/2013 - 14:28

Hi! I went ahead and and untied the upper knot and anchored the bottom knot to a peg. I did release the tension a bit on the entire warp. Then I gave the warps before the cards a good going over with my thumbs and slid the cards back and forth a few times. Retied the knot. Attached the upper knot
With the lower knot and put the tension back on. Everything was much better. I wove 4 complete patterns feeling quite proud of myself and alas
There is on the right side one thread that is not picking up to make the weaving symmetrical . Sooooo, I rechecked the threading, the direction of the threads, everything is fine. I must have 1 errand thread still loose. So my plan of action is I know where it is suppose to show up in the design so I will look for it and correct it as I go. If that doesn't work I may replace as a broken warp end and weight it off the back of the loom. Unless, some one tells me that's going to create terrible problems? Whew, that was a lot to say!

You're right I think, re tensioning before the knot was the way to go for so many threads, thanks:)

Posted on Sat, 11/09/2013 - 16:53

Just based on the problems I had with my current scarf (Christmas scarves project), tension issues don't go away until you fix them.  They just compound! And lead to reweaving till you are happy with them. :)

Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 00:05

so to speak, and you haven't woven much yet, can you pull the slackness out, toward the front of the warp—toward the knot/packing material, before going any further?

Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 00:54

o.k. troubles. The tension is all taken care of. But you will notice in the photo below that the pattern is not symetrical. It's one thread wrong. At the widest point on the left there are two pink warps, on the right one pink warp.Both sides have the same amount of warp threads. I have rechecked the threading, the warps are traveling in the correct direction and are placed , believe it or not in the right holes. It seems like that gold warp must be wrong, but according to the pattern directions it's threaded in the correct hole. What could I be doing wrong or how do I fix this ? I find it curious, that it only shows up when I change directions, no place else. I've been checking that all the cards change at the same time, and have fixed all drooping threads. I can live with it this way, but would like to know where I am going wrong. I am using Candace Crockett's book Card Weaving, pattern is on page 54.

Card weaving mistake


Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 01:03

Well, tension issues are less daunting than threading, but they sure can dog you, too!

Sometimes a warp spreader can help, again, depending, of course  :)

Sometimes doing a little bit of something very plain at the start can help, and sometimes you can fiddle the tension of a few threads using a pin or even a sturdy toothpick (give it a little rub with some fine sandpaper and maybe some very fine steel wool to make sure it won't snag) as Sally (a superb tablet weaver) notes. If you have a bit of already woven stuff, you can sneak the tiny bit of extra thread in a loop up on top of the already woven bit, and once you are all done it may not even show (or you may have to sacrifice the first little bit until you get that thread to play well with others).

But do watch how the tension problems are sneaking in. Sometimes you can start with nice tension, but sticky yarn or catchy cards will pull on some threads and not others.

In some cases, you can also consider adding a bit of weight to the other end of the thread, but my personal experince of this has not been good. Very hard to get just the right amount of extra tension on one thread in tablet weaving (at least for me).

One thing I will do with some wool I have had trouble with is to tension the warp, all ready to go, then leave it a day or so before using it. I then go back and adjust the tension before starting. This wool (which I otherwise really like) seems to stretch at different rates on different threads. Once it has been under tension a bit it can be sorted out an no further problems seem to come up.

Once you get going, you will have a better sense of what is up with this particular warp, and can stay on top of things.

All this stuff ends up contributing to better (and more relaxing) weaving down the road, frustrating as it can be in the moment! And this is a great place to get support and ideas, as you already know. Good luck!

Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 01:11

Yeah! I found it! It took looking at the photo for me to realize the mistake was on the left side not the right side and sure enough, card #2 has a pink threaded where a gold is supposed to be. Whew! So unless you have a better suggestion I will treat this like a broken warp end and replace the old color with the new color and weight it off the back of the loom. The first 8 in. I'll just chalk up to experience.

Man, I've puzzled over that all day!

Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 01:18

Hmmm. Looking forward to Sally's thoughts on this.

Tablet weaving can be complicated stuff, you have the twist direction, and potentially a number of coloured threads (often 4) that can come up to the surface or go down, and sometimes you have to compromise a bit.

Event the twist in your individual threads can contribute to things working out or not.

But my instinct is to look at the left gold thread at the point where it becomes pink. It is certainly working well for the rest of the design, just goes pink on the outside "bump," it seems like it is maybe doing that one twist too soon? Maybe? I am better at trying things out than doing it in my head, but that it is happening at the same point where you change direction might suggest trying not changing direction just for this card for one more turn and seeing what happens?Reverse weaving is always an option if that doesn't turn out well?

It is so nice looking, you have a great hand for this!

Interesting problem!

Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 01:22

Well, that is good to know!

Before re-doing the threading, are all the thread colours in the card OK, just not quite the right order, or is there one pink thread that just should not be there and shuld be gold, while all the others are the right colours in the right place?


Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 01:42

Sigh, then, yes, a quick rethread, a bit of inevitable fiddling with the tension on that to get it right, and back in business!

With such nice weaving already, you clearly have a good "feel" for tension and such, just give yourself permission to tweak and wiggle until the thread feels right :)

Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 02:59

Cathie, Your colors are just gorgeous.  Welcome to the rabbit hole! Awesome to read your working through this problem.  A suggeston for your next project- I use a metal knit stitch holder to hold my cards as I warp them on my loom.  I have them pinned thorugh the same hole, so I can check the threading quickly, and it keeps the cards level so I can see any tension problems quickly.  

Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 03:20

That is a great idea!
I had fun picking out the colors for this design! Thank you!
I am really looking forward to a deeper understanding of this work. Yes, the rabbit hole, I think is calling my name:)

Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 13:31

Yeah, All fixed in no time! A couple of observations. There are areas where it's more elongated than others. I think that's where I changed sheds and pulled the weft through before beating the weft down hard? Of course there is always the selvedges, sigh:) I'm very pleased though!

corrected card weaving



Posted on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 22:35

The elongated areas are where you reverse your turns.  This is normal in tablet weaving, and will always make a small elongated area, sometimes looks like a bump, because the warp stays on top for 2 picks.

Posted on Mon, 11/11/2013 - 16:15

Do you pull the broken warp below the warp plane, pin the new warp to the top (or bottom) of the woven band, and just continue on with the new warp? (I can use my clamp to anchor it to a peg, since it is no longer connected to the big knot anchoring the end of the warp.) 

I previously tried tying a knot, but inevitably, that ends up on the surface of the band!