Sleying the Reed with Delicate Warp Yarns

I’m finally allowed to go to my studio as of a week or so ago. My friends were talking about a weave structure that looked interesting and they said it was easy to treadle so I wanted to try it. It called for dark and light thread for the warp and weft yarns. I found two cones of yarns I’ve loved and horded for many (I mean many) years. Both wool. A black rather thin loop boucle is for the dark yarn. The light is a two-ply black and white with the white being barely spun and thick and thin so vulnerable to breaking or even pulling apart. I figure they are about the size of 5/2 cotton. The sett is 20 ends per inch (epi).

The widest place in a reed is in the middle as seen in the photo. This keeps fragile threads from abrading where the space is less at the bottom of the reed itself.

To repeat, to give as much space as possible for fragile yarns to pass through the dents, enter your hook in the middle as shown.

It’s ideal to select a reed that allows for 2 ends per dent. Rather than 1 end per dent, this wider spacing allows the threads to pass through with less abrasion from the wires of the reed. Also, these boucle yarns need space to pass by one another in the dents.  This is my rule of thumb for ordinary warp yarns, too.

Too check for mistakes, look at the bottom of the reed. It’s easier to see exactly what has been threaded and where at this place in the reed.

Another reason for 2 per dent is that if a knot is in a warp thread, it is likely it can pass through and not get hung up in the reed. In my case, with this plied yarn I’ve found that a knot can’t pass. I can expect repairs. And the thinnest knot is a weaver’s knot which I know well. See my eBook on knots and of course, my book Weaving for Beginners.

7 thoughts on “Sleying the Reed with Delicate Warp Yarns”

    • You got the point. I want 2 per dent usually so any knot in the warp will pass through and not slow me down. But for double weave, supplementary warp, say with lots of threads together, you want a wider reed spacing for the threads to pass and not be abraded. I use an 8-dent for most supplementary warp projects for example. Of course you’ll get reed marks if you have more per dent for an ordinary epi.

    • You don’t want 1 per dent because the wires will cause too much abrasion. That means for 20 epi I’m using a 10-dent reed. That’s why 2 per dent is good–Yes, you can only see 1 per dent because the other is hidden. Will try to take a better photo.

    • I’m not sure. the draft has been passed around from Marion Stubensky’s book, Double with a Twist. I emailed her today for an explanation. The draft is being passed around my friends. Everyone gets a different look and easy to treadle.
      I’ll let you know when I find out more.


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