Svana's A&S Projects
Gallery of work by Svana Vefa
Band Woven in 3 Different Techniques
So happy to have finally completed this band! It's woven with a message in the center, a message that reflects how I feel about life in general and the pursuit of any artistic endeavor. I chose birds simply because I love them, but also because they may fall so many times before they fly, therefor supporting the message I was trying to convey.
It's 67 Cards and made of 2/20 silk (black and burgundy) and 2/18 wool/silk blend (cream color). The finished band is about 4.5 cm wide and about 183 cm long. I spent a very long time patterning out this band, almost as much time as I did actually weaving it. Some of the motifs and color changes are from Claudia Wollny's beautiful book, A Lily Grove 2 (although I did manipulate a few of them just for the sake of learning), and some were drafted by myself.
This band is woven in three techniques, the borders are Threaded In, the main body is 3/1 Broken Twill, and the message is Double Faced. Switching between 3/1 Twill and Double face required a lot of planning on paper, and although there is room for some improvement, I am still thrilled with the result.
The biggest lesson I can take away from weaving this band is that I will never combine silk threads with wool threads again. I spent more time fighting tension issues then I did actually weaving. The wool was much more stretchy then the silk - which hardly had any stretch at all, so achieving equal tension throughout was very frustrating and the wool threads were constantly loose. There are parts of the band which would have woven much better if it wasn't for this issue. Half way through the band (directly after the words "I Fall"), the tension issues became so terrible that I had to take the warp off my inkle loom and weight the silk and wool threads separately. This meant I had TWO weights per card. It was HEAVY. I only used the wool because I couldn't find 2/20 silk in the exact color I wanted.
Thanks for reading! Here are some photos!
Creating my own tablet Weaving Loom
My walnut Tablet Weaving loom I have been working on is finished and I am really happy with how it turned out. I am so excited to get a warp on here and start weaving but I wanted to take photos of it first. It can hold 3 to 4 yards of warp, depending on how you put the warp on there (see my nifty little diagrams for more info on that). The left side of the loom is permanently attached, but the right side is removable for easy warping. This loom is built to hold a lot of tension. Being double sided, the pegs will not bend under a lot of tension like they tend to do on Inkle looms with only one side. I also added rubber washers to the inside of the tension bar to make sure that it's not budging under tension. This loom will work great with 2" cards, any larger and they may hit the warp beneath them. (Unless you're using it to hang a weighted warp on, then you can use whatever size cards you want) The "floor board" of this loom is 6" wide and 37" long.
Tablet weaving is an ancient craft, so old that no one really knows for certain just when it began. I am very attracted to the many beautiful woven bands that have been excavated and created during the viking age, so I created this loom with birds worked into the design, depicted similarly to how they were drawn during that time period.
It's made of walnut, except for the bars and handles, which I made from poplar. Just look at that piece of walnut used for the floor board...it's gorgeous. It was cut in a way that shows it's unique grain. I polished it up and oiled it and it feels like a smooth river stone now. ❤️❤️❤️
Gold Brocaded Birka Band
This is a 21 card band made of brown silk with 24K gold brocade. The design is inspired by grave finds at Birka. I wanted to make a band that was as similar as possible, in material and process, to bands created in that period. Bands like this survived decay (to an extent) because of the metal threads that were used to brocade them. The precious metal did not decay as much as the ground weave threads. I only wove about 5 inches of this band before I realized that I did not warp enough silk on my loom for the 12 inches I was striving for. I will definitely revisit this again in the future.
Hedeby Bag with Tablet Woven Trim
Fiiiiiinally got around to making a Hedeby Bag to go with my Viking Garb! I purchased the wooden frames at Pennsic from Egill's Woodstuffs and they sat in my closet for a very long time. I made a pattern for the actual bag portion and constructed it with 100% wool from The Dorr Mill Store online and the lining is made of 100% Linen. I also added a front pocket for me to stick my cell phone in at events.
What excited me most about making this bag is the trim I wove on the front. I did not weave this trim specifically for this bag, I wove it for practice and fun and decided later on that I should just use some of it for this purpose. The band is Broken 3/1 twill and was woven with 2/18 Zephyr (50% Merino Wool, 50% Chinese Tussah Silk) The patterns are from Shelagh at twistedthreads.org. It's about 5/8" wide and used 27 cards on a backstrap loom with swivel board to remove twist.
I also enjoyed sewing the applique on the front of the bag. It was my first time doing this with wool and I look forward to exploring it more with other projects.
Bayeux Style Embroidered Hood
I created and embroidered this hood for the Archery Champion of my shire, Midland Vale. The hood is made of black wool and lined with black linen. It is embroidered in wool and silk using an embroidery technique found on the Bayeux Tapestry. I love embroidering in this technique and look forward to embroidering more in the future.
My First A&S Display
Recently, I visited my son's elementary school to show the children what Tablet Weaving is like. The children seemed to be the most interested in what materials the bands were made of. One group of kids acted completely shocked that you can make fiber from bamboo! You can never really predict how kids will react to anything. They seemed pretty bored by all of the historical info I was trying to explain to them. haha!
60/2 Silk Trim, 62 Cards
I wove this band in the tablet weaving technique called Sulawesi. Sulawesi is also known as "Three-Color Double Face"...but I still only used two colors, red and gold. This trim will be for a tunic I am making my hubby. I had a lot of trouble early on with getting the tension correct on this band. I found I was most successful once I significantly increased the tension by adding heavier weights to each tablet's warp threads. Otherwise, my threads "misbehaved" and the pattern came out (and please excuse my scientific terminology) "wobbly".
20/2 Silk Band, 37 Tablets, 3.5 Yards
This is tablet woven trim created using the "Threaded In" technique. It took a long time to finish this one but it was worth it. I wove this to decorate a brown wool Kaftan that I made. Now it's probably my favorite piece of garb.
Hallstatt Ribbon No. 1 Reconstruction
I finished weaving this reconstruction of a Hallstatt band. It's my first time weaving 3/1 Broken Twill. I've wanted to try this technique since I began weaving years ago but I always felt so intimidated by it up until now. To weave this band I used a pattern drafted by Michael Houghton, who was kind enough to show me his own beautiful reconstruction of the band and discuss it with me while attending this last Pennsic. I added a third color and selvages based on what I read about the original band here:https://www.academia.edu/…/Tablet-woven_Ribbons_from_the_pr…
I wove with 2/24 wool across 21 cards (the original was also made of wool and used 21 cards). My band is just under .5" wide, which is very close to the 1.3 cm width of the original. I did choose a different color palette, simply to suit my own taste, however, I chose colors that would have been achievable during the time period the original ribbon was created (8th to 4th century B.C.).
I learned so much from creating this band. I feel like weaving 3/1 Broken Twill has taught me more about tablet weaving structure than any other band I have woven up until this point. I had so many "Ah-HAH" moments! I also learned how to work with fine wool, which is much more temperamental then I ever imagined. In fact, I broke my warp threads about 10 or so times before learning how to deal with it properly (I received a lot of great advice from others on this issue and it all helped so much!) I found spraying my warp with a mixture of water and a tiny bit of wool conditioner helped greatly. Not only did the warp stop breaking, but my band wove with far less "fuzz" to it. Weaving with a damp warp did eat through and destroy my cards though (they were made of poster board) and at one point I had to take my warp off the loom and carefully replace ALL the cards with laminated ones. --Yikes--
This is my first attempt at recreating a historic band. The original band was used to trim a sleeve but I was having fun with it and therefor tried to weave as much length as I could get out of my warp. In the end mine measured 86" long. Thank you to Michael Houghton for creating this pattern and sharing it and thank you to everyone who gave me such great advice along the way.
Viking Knots Belt, Wool, 36 Cards
The pattern for this belt was purchased from EowynDeWeaver on Etsy. It features viking motifs but is actually woven in the Sulawesi technique. This was my very first time weaving with wool and boy, did I learn a lot. I chose KnitPick's 100% Peruvian Highland Wool Palette yarn because it comes in aaaaall the colors. From the start it was difficult weaving with a knitting yarn because it was very stretchy, but it's certainly not impossible, you just need to have a lot of patience when establishing tension in the beginning. I am not a patient person and found myself getting frustrated often, but my stubbornness wouldn't allow me to give up. I wove this on a cricket loom and I will not tablet weave on a cricket loom ever again because there really isn't a lot of warp area for your cards, at least, not for how I like to weave. The biggest thing I learned was NOT to wind your woven band on the bar as you weave. When I took my band off the loom it was terribly tight on one side, which made it curve weirdly in a spiral (this was corrected by letting it sit and relax, I did not know about wet blocking at that time...wish I had) The beginning of the band was also much thinner then the rest of it, but because I was winding it on the bar as I wove I did not realize there was such a width difference. I now weave a few inches first on every band to establish proper width and I clip my band on the bar instead of winding it so that I can look at what I have woven throughout the whole weaving process. I also realized how much a dislike reversing the twist on the borders. It makes a lump and I will avoid doing so in the future. All in all, I still enjoy wearing this band very much!
Purple Skull Belt Favor, Double Face Technique
This was a project I worked on a long time ago, born from an idea that never came to fruition, never the less, it was a lot of fun to weave.
Hallstatt 3 Band
A band I wove based on the Hallstatt 3 design. After weaving it on a box loom, I sewed it onto a wool gauze veil so that I could tie it around my head and keep my veil in place. Worked well! I wasn't happy with how badly my wool frayed. I need to stop clearing my shed by sliding my cards up and down...
My friend and household sister, Yasemin Bint Al-Hajjar paints the most beautiful scrolls. I had the opportunity to apply the calligraphy on two of them. Please check out her page to see the rest of her incredible work!