Anglo Saxon threaded in pattern

Band completed 10/23/2002

What it is
This tablet woven band is woven using 18 tablets each with 4 strands of size 10 cotton crochet thread (a total of 72 threads) using the method described as “Pack Idling” by Peter Collingwood in The Techniques of Tablet Weaving using Thora Sharptooth’s threading sequence from her website ( The final band wove up to just under 0.5 inches (~1cm). This pattern is naturally double sided. In essence with the pack idling method you are weaving two bands simultaneously which are attached at the selvedges and tied together by the common weft. The “back” of the bands is sandwiched in between the front and back bands and hidden from view. Because of the alternations, this band weaves up narrower and a little more dense than it normally would with only 18 cards.

Band is the same on front and back

Threading diagram
for use in Gutram’s Tablet Weaving Thingy

Turning sequence:
This band is turned only in one direction using a technique Peter Collingwood calls “Pack idling”[2]. Separate the cards into a pack made of even numbered cards and a pack made of odd numbered cards. Insert the first weft from left to right. Turn only the even cards, beat, and insert the next weft from right to left. Leave a little loop on the right-hand side of the weaving.
– Turn only the odd cards, beat, pull the last weft thread taut. Insert the next weft from left to right leaving a little loop on the left-hand side of the weaving.
– Turn only the even cards, beat, pull the last weft thread taut. Insert the next weft from right to left, leaving a little loop on the right-hand side of the weaving.
Alternate turning the packs alternately: even, odd, even, odd until the weaving reaches the desired length.

Since weaving this belt I have learned a method from Shelagh Lewins which will allow me to more easily release the twist build up allowing me to make a longer weaving. I have not yet tested this method.

Historical Notes:
Original band was found in St. John’s Cricket Field, Cambridge and resides in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge. This band was described by Grace Crowfoot in an article in 1951. The article states that the original was made of a bast fiber in blue, white and dark blue. The article describes the band as being “firmly adhered” to a strap end, embedded between the bars in the strap end.
The original article dated the find as being Saxon, late pagan, which would be around the fifth or sixth century A.D. More recently, because of the shape of the strap end and the lack of charring on the object (which was found in a cinerary urn) Penelope Walton Rogers disputes the dating of this piece and instead place it in the medieval period (Rogers, p. 125). Ms. Rogers further notes that “the technique of the patterned linen strap, with staggered rotation of the tablets, is a standard in late medieval linen girdles.” Finaly she notes that this is the only known example of a threaded-in band used as a belt in the Anglo-Saxon era.

Collingwood, Peter, The Techniques of Tablet Weaving. McMinnville: Robin & Russ Handweavers, Inc. (2002), p. 122.
Crowfoot, Grace. “Textiles of the Saxon Period in the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology”. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society 44 (1951):26-32.
Lewins, Shelagh. “Anglo-Saxon Belt Weaving Instructions.” Shelagh’s Website. 2008. 8 October 2012. <>
Priest-Dorman, Carolyn, Pikestaff: The Arts and Sciences Issue (December 1990), reprinted at <>.
Rogers, Penelope Walton, Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England. York: Council for Brithish Archaeology. (2007), p. 125.

Other Resorces
Anglo-Saxon Belt Weaving Instructions by Shelagh Lewins

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4 comments to Anglo Saxon threaded in pattern

  • […] Tablet woven belt of possibly anglo-saxon provenance. I want to clean up my documentation about what it is, where it was found, how it was made and then cite the evidence that suggests that this pattern is actually 14th century rather than 6th century. I may also include a brocaded piece I did which is based on an Anglo-Saxon filet. […]

  • […] Anglo Saxon Threaded in pattern I’d actually read Thora’s article many times.. and although it looked kind of interesting.. I wasn’t thrilled by the sample she had up on her site. It was nice but it didn’t make me go “Ohhhh!!! That one!!! I must have it.” Then I stumbled across this other sample on Eve’s web page (no longer active). -That- one got the “must have it” response. Katie’s Trim Ok, many things at work here. I showed my tablet weaving to a couple of people at the Shire and Katie and Dianora decided that they wanted to try it. At the last Collegium I picked up an extra inkle loom for $5. So we used Gutram’s Tablet Weaving Thingy to work up the pattern. We warped up the little loom and started to weave it.. (insert pain, suffering and curse words). First off the pattern was coming up on the under-side.. so we pulled it off the loom.. reversed it.. and then we couldn’t get it to work for love nor money. After a frustrating time Katie left with the little loom…. and I just fumed and tried to figure out what went wrong. It turns out that Gutram’s tablets are lettered counter clockwise. My cards are lettered clockwise… so if I follow his patterns exactly I always end up with the pattern on the bottom of the band. To fix this I changed all the S’s to Z’s and all the Z’s to S’s. It worked like a charm and I wove up a test patch of Katie’s Trim.. and gave it to her.. so I don’t have a sample to scan. Dad’s Belt This project is the whole reason I got started with tablet weaving. When I was growing up my Dad had this belt. He loved to wear it.. in fact he wore it until it got so worn and dirty that he couldn’t wear it anymore. So he went looking for another belt just like it. Nowhere could he find the same type of belt but somehow Mom found out that it was tablet woven. This was years and years and years ago. So we’re coming up to Dad’s birthday this year.. and I’ve just started tablet weaving. While talking with Mom I ask her if Dad still has that belt he really liked.. and Gee could she send it to me. So I worked out a pattern based on the original.. and made it. I hope he likes it. […]

  • […] Anglo Saxon threaded in pattern (Sylvie la chardonnière) […]

  • […] bead swags. – (not visible) I belted the tunic with a tablet woven belt woven with the “Anglo-saxon double diamond pattern“. This has been identified as either Anglo-Saxon or as 14th century. I decided to wear it […]

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