Thursday, August 06, 2009

Play-Time For Beginning Card Weaving

A friend and I were going to go to Minot to teach a card weaving class in late August, but life has gotten in the way and we can't make it after all. It's disappointing since I wanted to meet all those fun people out in Minot. I put a couple hours getting a handout together and I don't want to waste that time. So I'm posting it here. This is not proofed, so I'm not absolutely positive these directions make sense. I was planning on following the directions word for word as sort of a trial run before we gave the class to catch any errors, but since I'm not teaching after all... Anyway, here is my rough draft class handout for card weaving:


Warning: This class is being taught by a couple of amateur card weavers who love weaving but have only limited experience in teaching it

*16 cards (playing cards cut square and with holes punched in each of the 4 corners will work in a pinch)
*Crochet cotton in 4 different colors, approx 25 yards of each of four colors and an additional 5 yards of one color for the weft
* Flat small shuttle (a paint stirrer cut into a six inch piece with shallow notches cut in the short ends or a wide comb will work in a pinch)
Optional items that may be helpful: a niddy noddy or a pair of chairs or a couple friends, 2 heavy duty safety pins, a pencil, magic marker.

Note: a loom is not necessary for this playtime
2nd Note: This style of card weaving is an ancient technique called Egyptian Diagonals

Preparing the Warp:

Cut 16 threads 4 feet long of each of the 4 colors
Easiest way to do this is to use a niddy noddy. If you don’t have a niddy noddy or you want a longer warp, have volunteers stand with their hands up like a giant niddy noddy. Now take your crochet cotton and wind around the niddy noddy (or volunteers) sixteen times. Cut the crochet cotton through all wraps and tie a knot at one end. This is the “A” thread. Lay it aside and be careful to not get the strands tangled. Repeat for the other three colors. You will have a separate pile of A, B, C and D threads, each a different color. Suppose A=Red, B=Blue, C=Yellow and D=Green.

Preparing the Weft

This is very simple. If you have a small shuttle simply wind approx 5 yards of thread around it. If you have no shuttle, you can wind a butterfly or even a loose ball of the weft thread and use a pencil to pack the weft into the shed. Set aside until it’s time to weave.

Threading in the Cards:

OK, now the fun begins. Take a card and insert one “A” thread through the “A” hole (boy, I tried to find a different way to say that, but I can’t think of one) in the card, from the front to the back. Now thread a “B” thread in the “B” hole, from front to back. Then a “C” thread in the “C” hole from front to back, and a “D” thread in the “D” hole from front to back. In this sort of pattern all the cards are threaded from the front to the back. Other patterns mix it up, which creates different patterns. For now, we’ll just do this. Repeat until all 16 cards have been threaded like this. Smooth all the thread so each strand lays smoothly, and the tension is consistent with the other threads, then tie a knot at the end with the loose threads.

Beginning to Weave:

Tie the back knot to a doorknob or the knob of a chair or use a big safety pin to secure it to the back of a padded chair or a couch or something stationary. Husbands are a possibility, but children are a no go for this. Ask us how we know that.
Tie the knot that is in front of the cards to yourself. If you have long ends you can tie them around your waist, but if short ends you can pin the knot to your pants belt loop or tie it to your belt or whatever. Lean back a little to put tension on the warp.
Now, slide your cards about 6 or 7 inches away from you, so they are within comfortable reach. Arrange the cards so that the first card has the “A” hole in the top corner closest to you. Turn the next card so the “B” hole is in the top corner closest to you. Turn the third card so the “C” hole is in the top corner closest to you. Turn the fourth card so the “D” hole is in top corner closest to you. Repeat until all the cards are in that order: A B C D A B C D A B C D A B C D. You may want to mark the top edge of your pack of cards with a magic marker so you will always know when you are back to the starting position. You are ready to go! (Unless your weft is some place you can’t reach. Bummer. Untie yourself and go get it.)

Basic Weaving

Slide the cards back and forth until you can easily see your shed. The space between the top threads and the bottom threads is the shed. Put a pencil (or pen, stick or whatever) in the shed between you and the cards. Turn the pack of cards all together at the same time, away from you, once. That means the magic marker stripe is now facing away from your body. Put your weft (shuttle if you have it) through the shed from one side to the other, leaving a six inch tail on one side, turn the cards away from you once more. The magic marker stripe is on the bottom now. Put the weft through the shed again, and use the edge of the shuttle (or a pencil, popsicle stick or whatever) to beat the weft in. I tend to do this almost too hard, because my weaving turns out really tight and stiff. You can experiment to see what works best for you. Turn the cards all together away from you again. The magic marker stripe is facing you. Pass the weft thru and beat it in. Turn the cards once again away from you, pass the weft thru and beat it in. The magic marker stripe is facing up once again. Congratulations! You are back to the home position and you should see that the warp is making slanted lines.

Play Time!

Now comes the fun part! No, really, this is the fun part, I promise! Experiment in making designs. Later you can do a project using just one design element if you like, but for now let’s just goof around and see what we can make. The sky is the limit with this. The only concern might be that if you turn more one direction than another, your tension will tighten and make it hard to turn the cards. In that case just give yourself a little more slack by moving closer to the back knot.

Making ZigZags
Turn the cards altogether at the same time away from you 8 times, and then towards you eight times. You will be able to clearly see the way the pattern changes into a zigzag pattern.
Making Diamonds
Take the eight cards on your right and put them slightly away from you and take the eight cards on your left and put them slightly closer to you. Then turn the 8 closer to you towards you and the 8 slightly further from you away from you. Do this four times. Then switch and turn the cards furthest from you towards you and the cards closest to you away four times. Then switch again. Or turn 8 times before switching.
Making Fancy Furrows
Back at Home position, Turn 2 cards one direction and the other 14 in the other. Repeat 3 more times. Now turn 4 cards in one direction and 12 in the other 4 times. Now turn 6 cards in one direction and 10 in the other direction 4 times. Then turn 8 cards in one direction and 8 cards in the other directio, then 10 cards in one direction and 6 in the other direction… You get the idea. Just play around and have fun with card weaving.

Finishing the Weaving
When you are finished or have run out of warp, unhook yourself from the thread. Untie the knot at front of the weaving. Tie the beginning weft thread to one of the warp threads. Divide the loose front threads into 8 groups and tie double knots to keep the weaving from unraveling. Trim the ends to the length desired. Do the same at the back. Perhaps braid the ends into decorative fringe, or add beads for an attractive bookmark. If you don’t want the fringed warp ends to show you can thread a needle and run your warp threads into the back of your weaving. Now you can use this strip of weaving as a hat band, or a bookmark, or just to prove you did it.

Congratulations! You are Card Weavers!


Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed we couldn't get together for this but maybe at a later date!! Thanks for writing out the directions. I'm going to give it a try and see what kind of damage I can do!!! :)) Keep up the diet thing...although I'm on a different diet 12 lbs in 3 months. Don't give up! Being on meds that mess up your weight loss ability stinks...I know!!! Shayne Better known as Shayne39 on ravelry!

Fiberbrarian said...

I am sorry we can't meet, too. But your handout is going to be useful - especially the 'unpin yourself and get your weft'. We haven't met - and yet you know me well! Thank you!

Molly said...

I did laugh out loud at the "A" hole part. You're right, there is no other way to put it!