Deciphering Tablet Weaving Patterns

As a self-taught tablet weaver I’ve read many websites and books on how to tablet weave – and they all use a different way to notate the patterns and describe the how the tablets are set up for weaving.  As a teaching aide I’ve written this guide on how to decipher tablet weaving patterns.


So when we find a pattern online that doesn’t specify if S/Z refers to slant or thread, or what it means by ABCD (if marked), then we can use what we know to work it out:

S/Z – slant or threaded?

Looking at the start of the pattern find a tablet that turns forward a few rows. Look at the direction of the twist on those first rows of that tablet:

Tablet 1 turns forward and has an S twist.
Knowing that an S slant card (Z threaded) produces an S twist when turned forwards we can establish that the S/Z notation refers to the threading of the tablet.

What is ABCD?

Again, look at the start of the pattern and identify a tablet that turns forward but has two or more colours:

Tablet 2 turns forward for four rows and has two colours.
Knowing that, regardless of S or Z, when turning forward:

So tablet 2 is warped like this:

Which means that in the written pattern:

A is top, furthest from you
B is lower, furthest from you
C is lower, nearest to you
D is top nearest to you:

The pattern used here is Hallstatt 3 (variant) and was drafted by Bull-Sveen ( Used with permission.