Choosing a Sett for a Shawl

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn
  20 epi

Hi Madelyn!

I am weaving a shawl in huck lace using 10/2 bamboo. I have woven samples at both 20 epi and 24 epi. I’m not sure which sett to use for the shawl or whether the pattern is supposed to look the way it does. Do you have any advice for me? I did have some selvedge threads break, especially with the 24 epi sample. (The 24 epi sample has been washed).


  24 epi

Hi Carol!

10/2 bamboo is similar in size to 10/2 cotton, so I would recommend 24 ends per inch as a good sett. In both of your samples, your beat is too firm; that is, you have woven more picks per inch than warp ends per inch. Both epi and ppi should be exactly the same. Every huck diamond should be the same in height as it is in width.

Achieving an even beat with huck lace is not easy. In some sets of five picks (such as at the start and end of the large diamonds) there are fewer float blocks than in other sets of five picks (such as in the center of the large diamonds). When there are more floats, the beat needs to be more gentle; fewer interlacements allow the weft to compress much more easily. Think of it as placing the weft, not beating it.

Bamboo is also a relatively slippery yarn and will tend to beat in more easily than 10/2 cotton. Your plain weave selvedge can help control the beat (the weft won’t pack in there the way it does in the lace areas), but the weft builds up more there. When the beater hits the fell it hits there first and hardest, so the edge warp threads are therefore more likely to break. (Also, if your beat is too firm, the plain-weave selvedge will tend to ripple when the fabric is finished–it will tend to do that even with an even beat.)

One factor that should make your shawl easier to weave "to square” (producing diamonds as tall as they are wide) than your samples is that the shawl will be much wider than they are. The wider a cloth is, the less firm the beat will be using the same force.

I would thread the warp for your shawl, allowing an extra 20 inches or so for sampling. Then practice weaving the diamonds until you are able to do them perfectly before you begin the shawl.

It will be beautiful,


Post a Comment