When I taught myself brocaded tablet weaving, I was looking for videos that would show the basic steps, and visualise some of the process that seemed difficult to follow when reading them written down. I couldn’t find any, so I produced my own. I hope these how-to videos are useful.
I have read many tablet weaving publications, and my favourite one for history of brocaded tablet weaving, historical patterns, and especially technique is Spies, N. (2000) Ecclesiastical Pomp & Aristocratic Circumstance: A Thousand Years of Brocaded Tabletwoven Bands, Jarrettsville: Arelate Studio. Available for purchase as PDF on Etsy and Nancy’s website.
I hate to use the word “cheap”, because nothing is cheap about Nancy’s invaluable work on historical tablet weaving and patterns, but have you tried purchasing a copy? As dear as gold-dust on the used book circuit since they are not otherwise available as hard copies.
Imagine my surprise and immense delight when I realised that Nancy sells her books on her website as PDFs to download. They are the exact same publications as the printed versions, and you won’t believe the prices, it is wonderful. You may even order a printout of the books. The wording below was taken from Nancy’s website.
This book details the history of the craft of brocaded tablet weaving from the sixth to the sixteenth century. It analyses data from the bands, including their metallic and fiber content. It presents examples of tablet weaving in literature and art and describes the types of patterns and where they were produced.
It lists the many uses for the
bands and gives an overview of historical looms and tablets. In addition, the author has graphed numerous historical brocading patterns.
The book concludes with a catalogue of brocaded tabletwoven bands and an annotated bibliography. The errata pages have been included at the end of the book.
A small, leather-covered book of handwritten patterns for gold brocaded tabletwoven bands resides in the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuttel, Germany. Written in
1517 by Anna Neuper, a seventy-year-old nun in the St. Clare Convent in Nurnberg, it contains forty-five different patterns with variations and is among the earliest
pattern books for any textile technique.
These patterns have been transcribed into modern charts and are presented with background information by Nancy Spies with Ute Bargmann.
Authentic patterns from the Middle Ages — imaginary creatures, people, birds, lettering, architecture, overall designs, and borders.The patterns have been taken from sources dating from the sixth to the sixteenth century C.E., and every sources is documented.
Whether you are a needleworker, a knitter, a weaver, a beader, a mosaic maker, a quilter, or a textile historian, this book should be in your library. It is filled with over 400 patterns to inspire you.
This book is a second treasure trove of over 400 designs graphed from medieval sources.
You can use these patterns for any kind of needlework and handwork, such
as cross-stitch, knitting or crochet, for weaving or mosaic work, or even for stenciling a child’s room.
I hadn’t come across this yet, and found it very useful: the V&A has put a video of how Jacquard is woven onto their website. I knew what Jacquard was, but couldn’t quite picture how it was woven and this video illustrates it beautifully: