A Question of Sett

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn


Hi all at Handwoven,


I brought beautiful 60/2 silk back from a recent trip to India and can't easily get more if my pattern doesn't work, so I’m hoping someone there can help me decide what to do. Your magazine and patterns have been my regular source of instruction for weaving over the past 15 years and I thank you for that. My question is about the pattern for the lovely silk scarves by Kiran Badola in the January/February 2014 issue, pages 80–81. I started altering the pattern to broaden the width to make shawls instead of scarves, and sley my 12-dent reed instead of the 20-dent reed used in the project instructions. I want about 20-inch width shawls. The pattern says 60 epi, 4/dent in a 20-dent reed. Isn't that 80 epi? My figuring was 5 ends per dent in my 12-inch reed for 60 epi, leaving an empty dent every 15 threads to make slightly wider stripes. Would that work or am I missing something here?




Hi Linda!


Your question was forwarded to me. The instructions for the scarf are to sley 4 ends/dent in a 20-dent reed skipping 1 dent after every 12 ends. That would mean sleying 3 dents and skipping 1 dent, or 12 ends per every 4 dents. An inch of the reed would have 20 dents, and at that sleying (4-4-4-0), your actual overall sett is 60 epi.


With your 12-dent reed, you would still want to achieve an overall sett of about 60 epi, skipping dents to create the spaced-warp look of the scarf in the photo. If you sley as you suggest, 5 ends/dent and skip a dent after every 15 threads (5-5-5-0), your actual overall sett is 45 ends per inch. Your scarf will therefore have a lot fewer ends in the plain-weave areas between stripes. I would consider sleying 6-6-6-0, for an overall sett of 54 ends per inch. It might make a more interesting fabric to leave an empty dent after filling 4 dents (6-6-6-6-0) for an overall sett of 57.6 epi.


I do think you can sample without wasting very much yarn. Sley the reed, thread the shafts, and weave a short sample (about 12”), hemstitching both ends. Remove the sample and wash the fabric to see what will happen to the reed marks and the spaced-warp stripes. You can determine what changes to make after you see the results and resley if necessary. Let us know what happens!



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