Orion A

Tablet woven band, made using the Orion A pattern

Guy sitting at a desk staring at the stars. Detail from an anonymous German manuscript (circa 1450) held in the Crawford Collection at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.
Detail from a German manuscript (circa 1450)

Orion A is a pattern inspired by a conversation in the Facebook group “The Company of Thuban“. The Company was formed by people in Drachenwald (SCA), who are interested in the study of astronomy and astrology throughout history.

The pattern depicts a six-point star on a twill background, and it has a tubular border formed from the outermost three border cards. The star is based on those found in a picture from an  anonymous German manuscript (circa 1450) held in the Crawford Collection at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.

Download Pattern
Download Pattern

I worked the sample in Häkelgarn 100 crochet cotton, colors 101, 121, 129, 130 and 134. I used two strands of standard sewing thread held together for the weft, so that the weft was less than half the thickness of  a single warp thread. This helped prevent the design from becoming too elongated. Each pattern repeat is about 32mm long. The band is an average of 30mm wide.

When the warp floats over more than one pick, some weavers find that the pattern area ‘encroaches’ on the innermost border card, resulting in a wobbly line.  You can see this on the underside of Orion A, where the white ‘background’ overlaps the black border card. Compare that with how the black border card sits next to the light blue…

Topside (left) and underside (right) of the band

I’m pleased with how this has turned out. It is the first four-hole twill pattern I’ve designed successfully.

All feedback is very welcome.

Just a few of the bands…

I looked up from the weaving and *how many* months had gone by??!! Two very large projects have taken most of my time over this last year. To take a break from those patterns, I worked on several shorter pieces.

Samples from Applesies & Fox Noses:

Trying out silk warps for the first time:

Playing with 2-hole designs:

Snartemo-style band: initial threading was Snartemo II, but then I started experimenting.
Snartemo-style band: initial threading was Snartemo II, but then I started experimenting.

And adding the finishing touches to a garment:

Decorating the seams and hems of an apron dress.
Decorating the seams and hems of an apron dress.

I’m in the middle of making diagrams and writing up. With any luck, there may a pattern or two in the near future 🙂

Reversible Parquet 1


Download pattern

The design for this band was inspired by numerous variations of ‘Birka-style’ threaded-in patterns available online. Experimenting with Saxon patterns helped me figure out how to make it reversible.

If you like the colours I used, look for Grundl Häkelgarn 100 crochet cotton, colors 129, 130 and 134. Various online craft stores (and Amazon) stock it.

The simple turning sequence allows you to get used to working with more cards, without having to manipulate each one individually. You’re working with two packs, each of which is turned on alternate rows; a technique referred to as ‘pack idling’ by Collingwood.

Edge of band

There are no ‘selvedge’ cards that are treated differently to the rest of the two packs. I wanted a band that was the same thickness across its entire width, and I like the edge produced when all cards are treated as pattern cards.

The width of the band depends on how firmly you pull/beat the weft. For smooth lines in the design, you’ll need to work to a much tighter tension than you normally would.  The resulting band will be narrower and thicker than you’d perhaps expect for the number of cards used. Perfect for a belt!

Bands of 2.6cm (left) and 2cm (right)

Working to a wider width (looser weft) gives less well defined outlines within the design. When looking at the belt/strap from a distance, this isn’t  an issue. The fabric of the band is also more pliable.

Inevitably, you  get twist build-up when working this pattern because the cards are always turned in the same direction. I usually work on a warp weighted loom, so it is easy to push the twist out. When you need to reverse the pattern to undo the twist:  flip the cards from S to Z (or vice versa), move the outermost edge (odd) card on each side between the two packs, and continue the turning sequence by repeating the row you just completed. Shelagh Lewins outlines this approach in her Anglo Saxon belt weaving instructions.

Reversing the pattern.

I’m off to finish weaving. There’s almost a metre of warp left on this project. I’m hoping to have a new belt for Ffair Rhaglen XI in August.

Plenty of time 😉 closing-img-DSC_0076



I tried tablet weaving  years ago, making a couple of  belts and many yards of trim. But I never really “got” how things worked, which led to me wandering away and trying other crafts instead.

Last December, I found 2 patterns for the “Birka strapwork” design on the Lautanauhat FaceBook page.  I hadn’t seen patterns written in this way before. The diagrams included the position of the cards rather than the threading direction. That small detail helped me understand how card position relates to card threading and the pattern produced by the turning sequence.

Since that “Eureka!” moment I have made a few samples from the Applesies & Fox Noses book, successfully drafted a pattern from a photograph and learned more about weft tension than I thought was possible.

A big thankyou to Mervi Pasanen & Maikki Karisto for the inspiration to revisit tablet weaving!