Name: Mairghread “Molly” Huntley
Location: Riding of RavensBridge
Taking a step away from knitting and tablet weaving, spinning has been my recent focus. While spinning a variety of different fibers I decided to gather up a bit of some small batches I’ve spun, do the math, and tablet weave a basic band to see how the wools would weave up. While it’s an interesting band, I learned much more about fibers and how they behave in different ways when used in different types of projects.
I thought to myself “So Merino wool isn’t a period fiber, it can’t be hard to tablet weave with, right?” Wrong! I created this tablet woven band using fibers I spun. The warp is white merino, orange long wool, and yellow blended wool. The weft is a hemp yarn spun while wet for smoothness.
As with every undertaking, you never know if it is going to be the most wonderful thing ever made, or a fantastic failure. This band is a bit of both. On a whim, I gathered up some spun singles, did the math, and set up a simple tablet woven band to see what would happen when I really put my singles to the test. Surprisingly, what happened is that the merino on the borders fell apart as I wove. This was due to merino having a short-staple and tablets causing wear and tear on the wool. The long wool part of the band (the orange) held together beautifully and helped support the white merino in the pattern, as well as the blended wool of the yellow. The wool in the border cards fell apart in my hands at times, but it pushed my weaving skills to the limit to see how long the band could be held together. It has pushed me to research sheep and wool further, setting up for my next spinning and weaving project!
The majority of extant bands woven of wool have a cellulose weft. Cellulose, being a plant fiber, is smoother than wool and keeps the band from felting together as it’s woven. As I had been spinning hemp, I decided it was perfect for this experimental band that took on a life of its own as I learned why certain wools are better for knitting and others are better for weaving.
Spinning in itself is a fantastic adventure but taking those spun singles and weaving them into a finished band taught me so much more than I thought possible. Further, it proved that I truly could take fiber from clean to a finished tablet woven band.