Weaving is the Bee’s Knees! Well … Feet.

Shine and shadow play over the coiled belt

This year I acquired a book I’ve been wanting for a loooong time: Applesies and Fox Noses — Finnish Tabletwoven Bands, by Maikki Karisto and Mervi Pasanen. This book focuses on tablet woven bands from Iron Age Finland, with patterns from, and inspired by, extant bands from the period.

It’s an amazing book for a beginner, or an experienced weaver, alike!

I got stuck in straight away, choosing to weave one of the easier patterns, called “Bee Feet”, or in Finnish, “Mehiläisjalkoja“.

“Bee Feet”

This band was a lot of fun to weave. I’m not a novice — I’ve made other bands before, and experimented with developing a pattern from a historic band — but it was a delight to go back to a simpler band for a change!

This pattern is a short repeat, so it is easy to pick up and put down! I enjoyed practicing keeping my tension stable between sessions so that the width of the band was more even, and the shapes in the bee feet were consistent. There’s always something to learn!

I made the band up into a belt, to be worn my my youngest daughter at Rowany Festival — our favourite yearly historical re-enactment event. She chose the colours to complement her yellow tunic, which (hopefully!) will still fit next Easter.

The band itself is woven from Cottolin, and with 40% linen content it still manages to have some lustre when it is “cold pressed” — after washing the band, I roll it flat with a stone rolling pin! This gives the band some shine.

I’ve already warped up a second band from the book (destined to be another belt, or possibly some trim for my son) called “Fine crooked knees with small applesies”. I chose this for the gorgeous pattern, but I could easily have done so from the name!

In case you think I simply weave off tablet woven bands without thinking about it, here’s a more accurate picture for how I start:

Establishing a pattern on a new band — not always easy!

Believe it or not, I simply started the pattern with the cards one quarter turn in the wrong position, and it took me three repeats before I worked out how to set it right!

I think it’s amazing how the clarity of the pattern can suddenly establish itself, especially when using high contrast colours like these. I’m really looking forward to seeing this band when it is finished!

One final note. Last week or so I showed you some photos of our summer garden, as it started to establish itself. Check out the tomatoes now! We have fruit forming already. Yum!

Grow, grow, tomatoes!

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