German tablet weavers meeting 2002 in Dalheim

On the weekend from 22nd-24th March 26 German tablet weavers met in the Waldheim lodging in Dalheim (located near the Dutch-German boder in the Schwalm-Nette area). On Friday the weavers from all over Germany arrived in the Waldheim, the farest coming from the Swiss/German border and Munich (Southern Germany) as well as from Rotenburg (Northern Germany).

Picture 1 Skills and experience of the weavers differ from beginners, weaving their first bands, to experienced weavers familiar with a lot of techniques. Therefore instructional workshops offered on Saturday morning had a wide range from simple threaded-in designs (e.g. hammer of Thor motif), more difficult ones (Birka motifs) to diagonal motifs (like aegyptian diagonals), different Ram's horn motifs, and finally instructions and variations in the missed-hole technique. For every skill and experience of the weavers an adequate possibility to enhance his or hers weaving abilities was therefore offered.

Beside different weaving techniques also a variety of warp tensioning methods was used by the weavers as shown in the photo. While some weavers used a simple weaver-tensioned warp (as you can see in the foreground of the photo), the ones working on more complex techniques like missed-hole preferred to use a loom. A lot of different looms could be observed, most using inkle-loom-like looms as for example offered by Otfried Staudigel, while some even used a gravity-tensioned warp in form of a warp-weighted loom.

Picture 2 After workshops most of the participants took the opportunity to visit the church of St.Catharine (St.Catharinakerk) in Maaseik (Belgium) on Saturday afternoon. During excavations of the church treasury of St.Catharine some textiles donated to St. Harlindis and Relindis (abbesses of Aldeneik Abbey) were found. The textile findings inculde some tablet woven bands from the Middle Ages. Major tablet woven findings are 4 brocaded braids and one fringed weaving, possibly a braid as well. The braids are made of silk with meander motif gold wire brocading (see example picture right). An analysis of the braids showed that they were made between 7th and 9th century, using 19 tablets for the ground weave. The fringed weaving is undated but surely created in the Middle Ages as well. It's ground weave was made of 15 tablets using silk threads and membrane silver wire for brocading. The motifs are mainly cross- and diamond-shaped.

Returning to Dalheim on Saturday evening people continued their weavings started during the workshops. On Sunday morning the work was continued again with a lot of help, hints and tricks from the instructors of the workshops. Some results can be seen in the gallery below.

After lunch the first participants coming from further away started their way home. During afternoon, after a lot of heartly goodbyes from new friends and stimulating final discussions the meeting ended, not without the promise to have such kind of meeting again next year.

More information (in German) can be found on a German tablet weaving website:


Details of a band woven by Silvia Ungerechts in the three-colour double-faced technique of the Indonesian tribe Sa'dan Toraja. This technique is described in the book Special Tablet Weaves by Marijke van Epen. The material used is real silk.

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Details of a band in missed-hole technique woven by Christin Barthelmie using 16 pattern tablets. Christin learned the missed-hole technique during the tablet weavers meeting and developed these patterns on her own.

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The picture below shows another band in missed-hole technique by Ilona Gehlhaar, also woven with 16 pattern tablets in real silk.

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Details of a band in missed-hole technique woven by Sandra Tillmann using 42 pattern tablets. Sandra also learned the missed-hole technique during the meeting.

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One of the workshop instructors, Guido Gehlhaar, found at least the time to weave a pebble weave during the meeting. The picture below shows the result. The pattern shows a motif from the Book of Lindisfarne. The warp is made of sewing silk, having 64 pattern tablets.

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Another pebble weave was done by Sylvia Crumbach. The motifs below show a S-shape and a reconstruction of one of the motifs of the findings of the Celtic chieftain's grave Hochdorf.

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© 22.04.2002 Guido Gehlhaar