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Weaving is all about having the weft pass through different sets of warp threads. Turning the cards does this creating a new shed each time through which we can pass the shuttle. The direction the cards turn will change how the pattern looks. As the cards turn, different colored threads come to the top, and others will get buried or be on the bottom.
First wrap a fair amount of yarn on your shuttle. This is your weft, and a quick tip is to wrap it using a figure eight. This keeps the yarn from building up too much in the middle making it diffucult to pass through the shed.
Standing behind the cards, with the letters facing to the right, the area between you and the cards will be where the weaving begins and progresses. The A-B holes should be forward, or farthest away from you. This is the home position.
When turning the cards, every turn will be a quarter turn. Some designs require half turns, or more, but if nothing is listed, assume a quarter turn. So a quarter turn forward, the first in our turn sequence, requires that we turn the cards one quarter turn away from the edge of weaving. A backward turn would be one quarter turn towards the edge of the weaving.
|Turn Forward||Turn Backward|
We started with letters AB in front.Our turn sequence says to make four forward turns and then make four turns back. If each turn is a quarter turn, four of those puts us back at the home position. This is a great way to check where you are if you forget how many turns you've already made. We won't switch directions until the AB letters are in their home forward position. Now we can do four turns back. I would practice doing some turns forward and then back to get comfortable with turning the cards before we go to the next step and add the weft. Make sure you turn all of the cards each time. This is a common mistake made by people just beginning.
Now that our shuttle and weft are ready, and we've established front and back, and we've practiced turning, let's add the weft. Pass the shuttle through the shed about 6in from the clamp leaving about a 4in tail dangling. It doesn't matter from which side. We'll use the 6in excess as fringe. Now we're going to turn the cards forward as our draft instructs in the turn sequence. Right now we can decide to lock the weft in or not. Locking the weft in prevents the weaving from unraveling when we cut it off of the c-clamps. Pass the tail through one side of the shed, and pass the shuttle through the other side of the shed. Now turn the cards forward again. Don't be alarmed that not all of the threads are catching. Not all of the side or selvedge threads will be locked into the weaving until after we've made four turns. Use the shuttle to beat the weft into place. This is tricky at the beginning, but it will become easier after the first few turns. Pass the shuttle through the rest of the shed. I also like to draw in the warp some at this point, so tug some on the tail, and then tug some on the weft to gather the warp threads together. They should all be touching each other, but they shouldn't buckle or gather. The width of the band will resolve itself as we continue to weave. Turn the cards forward again and beat the weft with the shuttle, then pass the shuttle through and pull the weft snug against the selvedge. One more forward turn, and we've completed our fourth forward turn, beat, pull through and snug. The AB holes should now be forward, just like when we started. All of the edge threads should now be part of the weaving. Our pattern on top should look like our draft now, and we're ready to go the other direction.
That's basically all there is to it. Turn the cards, beat down with the shuttle, pass the weft through and snug it.
One of the most difficult things to master with card weaving is keeping a consistent width. Sometimes the band gets narrow, and then later starts to widen. Here are some tips for trying to control this.
First and most important is tension. Consistent tension across all of the cards throughout the entire weaving process is the first and easiest way to control width. If for some reason you have to move the clamps, make sure to set them up with the same amount of tension or the width is likely to change. I also like to keep my tension fairly tight. It makes for a slightly stiffer band, but it is much easier to maintain a consistent weaving width.
Another way to maintain width is to leave a loop on the edge. Pass the weft through, but don't pull it snug to the edge, leave a loop. Weave the next turn. Beat down the weft, and then pull the loop from the previous weave snug against the edge of the band. Then pass the weft through the shed, and leave a loop on the other side. This slows the weaving down considerably, so I only suggest this as a beginner's measure.
Always beat down the weft straight across the band perpendicular to the sides. If you beat with the shuttle at an angle the pattern will become distorted.
Always beat down the weft the same amount. When you beat lightly sometimes, and then firmly other times, your pattern will elongate and/or shrink. Using a consistent beat will give you a consistent pattern.
If you get lost in your pattern and you are not sure if you need to go forward or backward, there are some clues you can use to make a fairly educated guess. Anytime you continue in the same turning direction, the yarns will ply or twist progressing the pattern, so if you were going forward, and needed to continue forward then when you do a forward turn you should see a difference in the design. When you change turning directions (F to B or B to F) you get warp floats. This means that the threads on top do not change so your pattern will not change. If that was supposed to happen, then you are on the right track, but if you were going back got distracted and then went forward when you were supposed to go back you would not see the pattern on the band change when it should have.
Many of these things will become automatic over time. If your first band doesn't look as good as you expected, give yourself some leeway, it is your first band! The width may vary, and the pattern may wander a bit, but the joy is in the creating. As you continue to weave, you will become more consistent, and consistency from practice, most of all, will improve your final product.
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