This is a tablet-weaving generator I have been working on. I started making it because I wanted to understand how the complicated patterns in Finnish tablet-weaving are generated with a few simple rules. You are free to experiment with this tool. If you notice any mistakes, please send me email. at contactme(at)withmyhandsdream.com. I have only tested this in Chrome browser and used my Mac, so there may be issues with other browsers/operating systems. Unfortunately, this tool, at least so far, is not mobile-friendly as you need to be able to use a mouse. Have fun!
Design your own tablet-weaving!
Edges and selvedges
How does it work?
The size of your design
First, select the number of tablets and the number of rows you want to use for your design. Don’t worry! You can increase or decrease these values later if you need to adjust the size of your design. You can choose the number of corners between 3 and 6. However, I recommend starting with 4 as it is the most common tablet type.
You can load an old design you have saved with the Load-button. Clear the canvas and start anew with the Clear-button. You can save your design in a text format with the Save-button. You’ll be prompted to give your file a name. After this, a download link appears. The Print-button opens a printer-friendly page for printing your design.
Look and feel
Sometimes it is a good idea to zoom out or in and I’ve added tools for that. The zoom also works with the mouse scroll. “The show active corners” is a debug tool when something seems wrong in your weaving but you can’t figure out what. The active corner is the corner which is the corner A in the starting position. You can highlight the row you are working on with the Highlight row. The highlight column does the same but with columns. As default the stitches look parallelograms. If you prefer traditional ellipses, you can choose the look from the drop-down menu.
Many designs have edges that repeat monotonously. If you want to hide the edges while designing you can do this in the Edges and Selvedges area. You can specify widths separately for left and right side. Tubular selvedges feature in many Finnish iron age tablet woven bands. You can mark the tablets that are meant to be used to weave tubular selvedges. Those tablets will be then marked with red.
Adding and removing tablets and rows
You can add or remove any of the tablets with the Add and Remove-buttons. The number of the tablet to be removed is highlighted in red. You can also remove any row. This doesn’t change the size of the design but creates a new row at the top to replace the missing row.
On default, if you click a stitch, it will switch directions. Any special stitch types have to be added through a right-click menu. If you want, you can set in the menu below that clicking only turns the stitches forward or backward.
Your color palette
Your color palette has six colors and you can choose the active color for drawing by clicking the color. The active color has a red outline. You can change the colors to whatever you want by double-clicking the color which opens a special menu for choosing a color.
Threading the tablets
Every corner now needs to be threaded with the yarn color of your choosing. The default is white. You can also choose the tablet slant by clicking “/” and “\” which tell the direction of the yarns traveling through the holes and the direction of the twist. This will affect the direction of the stitches. Try it out and see how the slant changes the stitch directions! You can also choose a corner color through right-clicking a corner. In case you decide that you want to start weaving with the yarns in a different position, the right-click menu offers an option of rotating the starting position up or down.
Designing your own tablet weaving
Here is a simple example of designing that you can follow to get started. I have chosen to use pentagonal (5-cornered) tablets and switched the colors in my palette to get pink and light blue. Initially, the threading diagram looks like this:
Half of the tablets are slanting to the. left and the other half to the right, so the stitches on the left and right side of the band are pointing in different directions as at the start all the stitches are turned forward. (I also chose to use elliptical stitches for this example.) Furthermore, I clicked three stitches to point in the opposite direction. Can you find them?
In case you want to turn several stitches in one go, you can select stitches with a mouse. The selection has a red dashed outline and the selected stitches have a red outline. By right-clicking the selection, you can choose what to do with the stitches. You can turn them all forward or backward or try some of the special stitches that are used in Finnish iron-age tabletwoven bands.
Halfturn forward turns the tablets two positions forward and halfturn backward does the same in reverse. (I used the word “halfturn”, although it really makes sense only with square tablets that have 4 holes. In those, halfturn literally turns. the tablets half a circle.) In some patterns, there are also stitches that are not turned at all. I have also added the possibility to make weft-over-stitches that are described in the book Tablet-woven Treasures by Maikki Karisto and Mervi Pasanen.
Let’s turn the selected stitches backward:
The pink stitches are creating this diamond pattern but the blue ones are a bit distracting. I probably shouldn’t have clicked those! Let’s try clicking the stitches in the middle of the pink diamond to get a bit more symmetric design:
In order to get the blue diamond I added blue threads to the tablets numbered 7 and 12 and clicked some stitches around.
From here, one can proceed in any way they want. This could be a nice pattern to weave already. In Finnish iron-age bands, corners of patterns like these are often emphasized with halfturns. Halfturns create smaller stitches that make the “pointy bits” of the pattern sharper-looking. However, to do this here, I need to add blue threads to tablets number 6 and 13. And if I’m adding blue threads to those white areas anyway, I could as well add them to the design and add even more blue:
Generally, it is a good idea to proceed from the bottom up but, like my example shows, sometimes one needs to go back to the threading diagram.
Now, go on and try designing a pattern of your own! Send me a pattern of your design, so I could make a nice gallery out of them! Tag your creation with #tabletweavegenerator and @withmyhandsdream so that I can see your creations!