Six-Holed Tablet Weaving

Hi Everyone.  There has been so much activity regarding warp-faced bands and different patterning techniques that I thought these samplers might be of interest.  These are woven with 6-holed hexagonal tablets, and were part of a research project to understand how to weave images and patterns in various techniques  This first one is 3/1 twill with 3 colours arranged AABBCC. 


This next one is 3/1 repp with 3 colours arranged AABBCC.


This third one is 3/1 twill with three colours arranged AACBBC.  Colour C in this sample is turquoise and doesn't show up well in the picture, but it forms an outline around all of the images.


This last one is diagonals with floats and is threaded in six colours.


For anyone interested in weaving with 6-holed tablets, a monograph of my research is available as a PDF download on my web-site:



Posted on Sun, 01/24/2010 - 18:40


These are great!  I've been curious about 6 holed tablets since reading Collingwood.  I have not done any tablet weaving yet.  I am attracted by how low-tech and portable it is.

Was this the result of a class or self taught (or something in between?) If there are particular books you used or are inspired by, could you list them please?

Do you teach this?

I looked on your site at some of your other work.  Impressive!


Posted on Sun, 01/24/2010 - 19:26

Thanks, Alison.  I read Peter Collingwood's book, Techniques of Tablet Weaving, from cover to cover and was intrigued not just about the techniques, but also by how his approach was so methodical.  So I decided to try to do a similar approach to pattern generation for various techniques on six-holed tablets.  It was an intensive 18 month weaving/computer simulation exercise that I enjoyed very much.  The other book that I found very useful was Igon Hansen's Tablet Weaving.

I did teach one class on six-holed tablet weaving at Convergence in 1998, and I have taught a number of classes in four-holed techniques.  However, I haven't touched a tablet for a long time now as my interests have gone back to loom weaving and particularly weft-faced patterning.

Like you, I love how portable, low-tech and inexpensive tablet weaving is.  Here is how I set up my tablets to weave:

Posted on Sun, 02/07/2010 - 16:10

Your work is very interesting - and so is your weaving method.

Since most of us have improvised horizontal looms for tablet weaving, it's nice to see someone who weaves in the warp weighted tradition.

I'd be interested to hear what problems you ran into when you did the 3 selvedge piece - I'm assuming you convert the weft of the top into the warp of the sides, in the same fashion that tabletwoven bands were used as headers for warp-weighted cloth.

Posted on Sun, 02/07/2010 - 16:15

Warp weighted tablet weaving?!!

I didn't see this when it was first posted.

Darn, one more thing on the to-do list.

Have a good day!

Posted on Mon, 02/08/2010 - 06:57

Hi and thank you for writing.  The 3-selvedge piece you are referring to is this one, right?

I wove the top band first, from the center out in each direction, making the angles at ends.  Then I re-positioned the weaving horizontally and finished the corner points.  I then inserted warps into the selvedge of the top band (with a needle), threaded them into tablets, and from there on wove across the entire piece with each pass of the weft.  I can't remember there being any particular problems, except getting the center pattern of the top band continuous in spite of weaving it both ways.  Re-positioning the whole weaving is a little tricky but I used rubber bands to secure the tablets.  Then there was the fact that altogether there were about 140 tablets across the width of the piece.

This tablet weaving is done on 4-holed tablets in a technique known as Snartemo, also called "Diagonals with Floats".  With this technique, all tablets are threaded identically with 4 colours.



Posted on Mon, 02/08/2010 - 23:44

Those bands are lovely! 6 holed tablet weaving has been on my "too do" list for a long time. You will find some interesing 6-holed patterns in one of Staudigel, Otfried, books. I know I saved the 'rams horn pattern " done with 6 holed tablets.

Can you give us a little more info on your setup?

1) what size threads are you using?

2) how many cards are in each "warp weighted group"?

3) what is the weight you are using?

4) how long did you warp?..( ok.what is the lenght that you warped up?)

5) what is the aproximate distance from the floor/ground  to the dowel that is holding the weaving?

6) do you have a scaner that you can place the different band on, and do a side by side comparison of each side of a similar motif? (say one picture of a "triangles" section and another picture of one of the "anaimals" showing each side of the band? can you put a sewing pin in the band to take pictures so we can match up the 'front' and the 'back' sides?


Thanks! Sharon


Posted on Tue, 02/09/2010 - 17:56

Thanks for your interest Sharon.  I haven't seen any of Staudigel's books, but I also did some ram's horn and variations thereof on 6-holed tablets:

Please excuse the little strings and tags that are sewn into the selvedges -- these are my numbering system and I don't want to remove them.  They link to my pattern files and notes.

The threads used for all of these samples were nylon -- because I had it and I thought it would be good for samples that might be handled a lot.  It wrapped at about 30 wpi.

I group my tablets according to the pattern which has grid lines every 6, 8, or 10 columns.  So I would group so that all tablets between grid lines are together.

For weights I use some scrap metal pieces that I got from a metal recycling place, also some fishing weights.  For big projects (lots of tablets) I use the round weights that come with gym sets.  I like a very taut warp so I put lots of weight on.

These sample bands were warped about 5 yards long (I think).  I made 10 warps altogether, and wove 120 different patterns/images in 5 techniques (threaded designs, repp, diagonals, twill, diagonals with floats).  I should mention that in my original post I wrote 3/1 repp and 3/1 twill -- that is incorrect as on 6-holed tablets the structure is actually 5/1.

On the warp-weighted loom photo, the distance from the ground to the upper dowel is about 6 feet.  What's important is that you can raise or lower the whole arrangement so that you can weave comfortably either standing or sitting.  The fell line of the textile should be at about shoulder height (for effectively beating upwards), and the tablets should be just a few inches above the elbow (for ease in turning them).

I have done scans of both sides of a portion of 5 bands:



Posted on Wed, 02/10/2010 - 03:17

thanks! thats the kind of info I was looking for, espeically about that the fell line should be at sholder level

the scan of both side of a portion of the bands is perfect.. it lets me see how the pattern transfers (or not) to the backside.

the tags and strings are normal... you will love it much later in a few years when you teach classes or want to repeat a portion of the bands.


Thanks again! Sharon


Posted on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 22:25

Oh my - those are all amazing and wonderful.  I am just beginning to explore tablet weaving having tried it once a long time ago.  So much to learn and I have been reading everything I can and now have a sample going in double faced technique.