This project required I exercise my horribly rusty tablet weaving skills. I mean rusty. I only have very basic knowledge to begin with and the last thing I wove was…. let's just say years ago.
I am in desperate need of a silk headband - or filet - or circlet - or whichever word you fancy. I keep seeing beautiful examples of headbands (like here, here, and here) and I wanted to join the club. And besides, any fashionable lady would have one, right ?
My plan was to follow the pattern outlined in Textiles and Clothing: 1150-1450 for item number 142 (Crowfoot, Pritchard, and Staniland, pg. 132). This example was found with a piece of fake hair attached. The band is about 1cm wide and made from 26 cards, the center 22 threaded with 2 threads and woven in a plain weave. The 2 cards on each end are threaded with 4 threads to form a border.
I normally would use a filament silk, but since I didn't want to waste a lot of thread on my first attempt, I chose to use Gütermann spun silk in black. It is much less expensive and since it is more tightly spun, I figured it would hold up better against wear from rotating the cards.
I measured around my head and then added 18 inches for waste for the length of the warp. Since the only tools I have designed for tablet weaving are the cards, I had to improvise for a warping board and loom. I used Linda Hendrickson's method shown here to wind a continuous warp. And that was my first error. I was so excited to be winding away that I threaded all the cards with 4 threads. Oops. I realized this after I had the warp complete and all tied up ready to start weaving.
Of course this was my second warp, since the first was attacked by my "helpers."
The group of 4 cards in the foreground are for the border.
At this point I made the executive decision to continue with the cards threaded as they were and see what happened. At least it would give me practice.
The original pattern had the center cards being rotated a 1/4 turn back and then 1/4 turn forward to make the tabby weave. Since my cards had 4 holes, in order for all the threads to be caught in the weave, I had to turn the cards 1/2 turn.
What I have now is:
Despite mis-threading the cards, my piece is similar to the original in appearance and dimensions (about 1cm wide). I call that a win! I am about halfway done with the weaving. This project is teaching me a lot about keeping tension even. And I am yearning for a loom of some sort. Maybe a medieval one like this:
After the weaving is complete, I may cover the back in leather like
to help keep sweat from damaging the silk. I am still deciding what decoration to add to the band. I'm thinking small pewter bezants or maybe pearls. I also am debating leaving it plain like the one here:
Back to weaving for me! I can't wait to show you the finished product!