Information you can get from a Yarn, Ball or Skein

The other day my weekly Zoom Weavers group met in person for a hike on Ring Mountain It was cold, grey, and windy but we had a grand time. After our lunches next to a large rock out of the wind we brought out things for show and tell.

One person wanted to know if two threads she had were the same.  I showed her how to hook them together to find out. In other words, she wanted to know if the two were the same “grist”. (A term sometimes used when talking about yarn size.)

You can compare two yarns quickly to see if they are the same size (grist) by hooking them together as if you linked your two index fingers together. Hold one set of yarns between your thumb and index finger. Twist the other two ends so that both sets twist. If they both feel the same, they are likely to be the same size.  One thread she knew was 5/2 cotton. When we twisted it like in the illustration, we discovered the 2nd yarn was the same size as the 5/2 and looked just like it so we gathered it was also 5/2.

Another person had a lovely skein of bamboo with the tag still on it. It said how many yards were in the 50g skein. She wanted to know how to translate that information to what she needed for planning her weaving project. I asked how many of the group had a McMoran yarn balance (now simply called a yarn balance). I was surprised that only a couple people did. This is a balance scale used to determine how many yards of a yarn are in one pound.

It’s great for letting you know how much yarn you have on an unmarked cone or skein. Place a length of yarn in the “V” on the balance arm and cut off pieces until the arm balances. Measure the length of yarn in inches. Multiply the number of inches (and fractions) by 100 for the approximate number of yards in a pound. Measure carefully because you multiply your measurement and your error by 100.

You can use the yarn balance to compare yarns, too. If they are the same length when they balance on the scale, they are the same weight and therefore, have the same number of yards per pound and are generally equal in size or thickness.

Basically, what our friend needed to know was how many yards per pound were in this 50g skein. She also wondered if it was sport-weight or fingering-weight yarn. I couldn’t show her this nice chart but said it was in my book, Weaving for Beginners.

If you know how many yards are in a ball or skein or ounce, see the chart above to find the yards per pound (ypp) for your particular yarn. If your yarn isn’t shown in the chart, use the worksheet in the following illustration to calculate the yards per pound.

An easy way to find the yards per pound is to take the known yarns in a 50 g ball or skein and multiply by 9.

Here is a worksheet to find the yards per pound (ypp) for 50 g and 100 g balls or skeins. And also, with the inches from a yarn balance.

Views from Ring Mountain are from many directions. Here we looked west to admire Mt. Tamalpais as well as the flowers carpeting lots of areas on Ring Mountain in Tiburon, California.

Ring Mountain is known for the Tiburon Mariposa Lily. It’s the only place it is to be found.

Sett Thoroughly Revisited


I’ve been beating around the bush recently with lots of topics all coming down to determining the sett for various projects. Sett is a large subject so this time I will be referring you to various previous posts. I think that way you can get a thorough picture of the topic.

Follow the links to the topics listed below:

1 – Read about what is sett and how diameters of yarns is important HERE

2 – Read about making your weaving easier. This is an introduction to a way of determining sett using the Ashenhurst Rule which will be in a following post HERE

3 – Here is the explanation and formula for Ashenhurst’s Rule. NOTE: Here he explains only the MAXIMUM SETT. You will probably never use that number because it will be denser than you want. Read the next installment about what to do for plain weave, twill, warp and weft face and purpose etc. HERE 

4 – Ashenhurst Part Two: The previous post gave you a calculation that will give you the number of diameters, which will be used to determine the sett for a fabric. The reason you want to know the Ashenhurst number of diameters is that it’s his number that is used to make allowances for yarns, weave, shrinkage finishing, purpose (e.g. upholstery or sheer curtains, etc.). What you actually do is to calculate the maximum sett so that you can ten take a percentage of it to allow for different purposes of the cloth or types of yarns. For most “normal” weaving I use 80% of the maximum sett. You just use another % if you want something else. Read on.

This worksheet I made to make all this handy to use.  You can see that first is calculating the maximum sett. Then taking the various percents of that figure for different weaves, purposes, etc. See that you would take 90% of maximum sett for upholstery and 50-60 percent for delicate fabrics.

5 – Good reasons to Use Ashenhurst’s 80% figure are given in this post HERE

6 – An example how to use the sett charts: You have a 5/2 pearl cotton that is 2100 yards per pound (ypp). You want to weave a twill, so you would look in the Twill Chart for 2050 yards/pound.

Then, going across that row, look for the purpose of the cloth you want to make.

If you want something very delicate, you would choose the 50% column and see that it is 14 EPI.

If, however, you wanted to make a pillow, you might choose the 80% number (22epi). This sett is what I recommend for “regular cloth”—what I use unless I want extra dense or delicate fabrics. Read more in my book Weaving for Beginners or THERE ARE MANY MORE sett charts in Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle. There are 14 pages of charts with hundreds of yarns and threads all calculated for you.

7 – Select the sett for purpose, width, yarn type HERE

8 – Read sett basics and Ashenhurst HERE

Select the Sett for Purpose, Width, Yarn Type

All these posts about ends per inch (epi) are very much related to a wonderful way to calculate sett invented by Mr. Thomas R. Ashenhurst for industry. (Can you image a textile engineer wrapping a thread for making bed sheets around a ruler?) I’ve written several blog posts about his formula and uses for it. You can search for any work if you look on the home page of my blog and click on the magnifying glass. However, in 2 of my books I explain it step-by-step and all its variations that make it so handy. Check out either one: Weaving for Beginners and Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle. Both books have a whole chapter on sett. The latter book may have a bit more background so if you have both books, check them out. Much is repeated in both of them however.

Allowing for Purpose
There is another issue to consider: the purpose. Do you want a firm or a medium weight cloth? The illustrations above show the same yarns, all used in a balanced plain weave (warps and wefts show equally). What it means is that there’s not one perfect sett for a given yarn and weave.

You’ve seen that there can be a variety of setts for weft-faced cloth, warp-faced, or balanced cloth.

Open up the sett (so that the wefts can pack down more between the widely spaced warps) for more weft predominance and make the sett closer (more warps per inch) for more warp predominance. So, the sett can vary greatly to serve your purpose as well as your cloth design, and choice of yarn. This is one side of the box I wove a while back where I was dealing with double weave and color choice as well as warp and weft emphasis.

Allowing for Width
A very wide warp will need to be set somewhat more open than a narrow one. With a narrow warp, the beater can beat in the wefts closer than with a wide warp where there is more resistance on the beater from having so many more warp threads. For the color blanket above, I made a narrow sample 7” wide. The blanket was 36” wide. The wefts didn’t beat in the same, and the cloth wasn’t balanced with exactly the same number of wefts per inch as warps per inch that were in the sample. It made a significant difference because the project was to be a true plaid where it was important to have exactly the same amount of warp and weft in the cloth so see the color mixing. This taught me to make a sample on the real warp before beginning weaving the project. I use the 2-stick heading when I cut off the sample to finish it so I don’t waste much warp in the process. See this post: Two-Stick Heading

Allowing for Yarn Type
These percentages refer to the Ashenhurst Rule which can be found in Book #1: Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle and Weaving for Beginners and several previous posts. However, the principles do apply in general.
For fairly slippery yarns.
80% of maximum sett is close enough for most fairly slippery silk yarns. Worsted, line linen, mercerized cotton, and Tencel can also be considered “fairly slippery.”

For very slippery silk or rayon or bamboo try 85% of maximum. You can calculate your own percentage or choose a sett a “little higher or lower” than the 80% figures given in the sett charts in Book #1.

For loftier yarns. (fat yarns that are not firm, but are somewhat spongy) You could try 75% of maximum. Yarns that expand during finishing, such as unmercerized cotton, might be in this category.

For hairy yarns the sett needs to be more open try 65-70% of the maximum sett. If the warp yarns are too close, they cannot pass one another in the headless and reed, and you won’t be able to get the sheds to open.

Woolen yarns are meant to shrink, so they should be set more open. Use 65% of maximum so the threads are far enough apart during weaving to allow for them to shrink, making a closely woven cloth after finishing.

More on Wrapping: Use That Number for WARP-FACED Cloth

What if you didn’t know about how to determine how many warp threads you need per inch for a project? In other words, the ends per inch or epi? And what if you just used the number of threads you wrapped on the ruler for your ends per inch? The warps would be close together with no space left for the wefts—this fabric is called a warp-faced fabric or warp predominant one.

Here is a close up of a woven piece by Thomasin Grim that is almost totally warp-face. That is, only the warps show and none of the wefts are visible. You can see a small area of balanced weave where both the warps and wefts show for comparison. More about that in a future post.

Here is a photo of the whole piece by Thomason Grim where it is mostly warp-faced.

This is an illustration from my book, Weaving for Beginners that shows that the warp threads are so close together that the weft barely shows. In future posts you’ll see the same yarns in balanced and weft-faced fabrics for comparison.

The Difference Between Warps and Wraps: a BIG difference besides the spelling!


I got two inquiries this week about weft faced weaving and a request for more posts about weaving last week. These help me know what to post about, so I appreciate your suggestions. Write me your suggestions as a comment any time.

Note: To find information in previous posts:
1. You can search for subjects on my website using the “Search” widget on the right sidebar on every page.
2. You can also click on any category in the Categories List on the same sidebar.

The illustration shows examples of 2 warp yarns. Both have 4 warps per inch or ends per inch. (4 EPI) Note: warps are often called “ends”. Hence: 4 epi or 4 ends per inch.

Here a yarn is wrapped around one inch on a ruler. The number of wraps per inch in this case is 15. We might say 15 WPI. You can wrap the yarns on a ruler fairly far apart, so they just graze one another, or so the yarns are squashed together. I suggest wrapping the yarns somewhere between these two options; that is, touching one another very closely, but never overlapping.

Compare this illustration with the first one. This illustration represents wrapping—you can see that the threads touch each other. In the first illustration there are spaces between the warps which is what you would see on the loom. Unless a project is warp faced, there is always some space between the warps on the loom. The number of warps in an inch is called the sett or EPI. 

The spaces between the warps in the illustration allow for the wefts to intersect. In this case we have the same yarn for the warp and the weft and a balanced weave with the same number of warps per inch as wefts per inch. (That does not always need to be the case.)

Following the previous illustration, here we see that the wefts take up the spaces between the warps. That’s why there can only be 2 warps per inch (EPI) when there are 4 wraps per inch for this yarn.

It has been determined that there should be 2 EPI (warps per inch). Notice the dotted circles at the top of the illustration: they represent the WRAPS of the warp yarn in an inch. I hope you see the difference now: the warps per inch are what the warps on the loom are. The wraps are used to help figure out how many warps per inch there should be for your project.

Fine Threads Part 3 – Words of Wisdom from Junco Sato Pollack and Mr. Ashenhurst

Junco Sato Pollack is a nationally and internationally known artist. She served as a cultural ambassador for a while, at the same time, her interest was always to find ways to do 3-D surfaces and forms by combining fabric and layered techniques. She has used a variety of techniques in fiber. These include weaving, surface design, sculptural work, heat transfer printing, and paper making. She is Professor Emerita of Georgia State University where she taught in the Textiles Program.

In one very early series of her art were silk hangings woven in damask with printed warps. After the cloth was off the loom, she added silver leaf which was adhered to the woven surface by screen printing adhesive and pressing silver leaf onto the surface. The silver leaf in this hanging has tarnished to dark grey.

This detail shows more of the damask patterning in the cloth itself. The silk damask has screen-printed warp images of ivy. Then she adhered silver leaf leaves on the woven surface. The weave is a 16-shaft damask.

Reed and Sett
Junco tells that “Japanese silk hand weaving is mostly plain weave based on tsumugi fabric which is hand-spun weft on plied reeled silk warp. The weft is coarse, but both warp colors and weft colors are interactively visible. (What we call tabby.)

“So, denting is usually double dent, and this is why we have so many fine reed numbers per inch, ie. 45 coarse, 55 medium, 65 fine. Double dented, they become 90 epi, 110, 130 and so on. Thus, achieving well distributed warps and no dent lines, called “shirome” (white looks) of lines.” (What we call reed marks.) The photo is of a bamboo reed of mine I have “ for show,”  

Peggy O.

Besides being an artist, ambassador, and teacher, she has grown silkworms and reeled out the filaments. The reason for raising silkworms was that she wanted to create 3 dimensional raised patterns on silk fabric. That required the use of sericin-rich silk threads to create the thermo-plastic silk for a 3-D surface. She wove in “shibori binding stitches” while on the loom, and heat set the pleats after the stitched-in threads were gathered up. This process is now called “woven shibori.” By weaving on a jibata loom, it was easy to create an extra harness to weave in shibori stitching threads. Images of her work can be found at

This is a diagram of how the Japanese traditional jibata loom works. A loop of string attached to the loom’s heddle stick and the weaver’s toe is how warp threads are moved to make the sheds. The backstrap of course lets the weaver lessen and tighten the warp as needed. This helps to make clean sheds with dense warps of fine threads.

Jim Ahrens (a part of AVL as you all know by now) taught us Ashenhurst’s way to calculate sett that industry uses. It’s especially handy when winding such very fine threads on a ruler would be difficult! I use this method and teach it to my students. This worksheet is in my book, Weaving for Beginners, and the information also is in Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle (in the big chapter on sett). 

The Ashenhurst formula calls for the square root of the yards per pound. I don’t even have a cheap enough calculator anymore and certainly don’t remember how to find square root. What to do?? I Googled “what is the square root of 30,000.” That was a yardage Molly McLaughlin gave in the previous post. The answer: 173. Then I multiplied 173 by 0.9 (on iPhone calculator) to get 155 for the diameters in an inch. That’s a calculation for the wraps per inch concept. According to Ashenhurt’s Rule you should then divide the diameters by .5 for plain weave or .67 for twill. However, it looks like Molly skipped that step and took 80% of the diameters to come to 124.5 for 120 epi for her 30,000 ypp silk. Previous tips on my website explain the calculation more thoroughly. See them HERE. Here are two Tips: “A Weaving Tool: Ashenhurst’s Rule” and “Good Reasons to Use Ashenhurst’s 80% Figure”.

Fine Threads Part One: How I decided on the Sett for My Ruffles and Sheer Pieces

Tal Saarony’s posts have led me down a wonderful “rabbit hole” for information about fine threads. I’m still gathering information from very experienced weavers, so I’ll start with how I’ve dealt with fine silk threads. 
You can see some of my sheer pieces by checking out my Gallery and the photos for on the headings for the various tabs on my blog.
Check out my post from April 9, 2021 “Unwinding Skeins of Very Fine Threads” HERE

When I was planning my “ruffle warp” all I knew was that I wanted the cloth to be sheer. That meant neither the warps nor the wefts could be close together. Here’s what I remember how I determined the sett (epi). When Master Weaver, Lillian Whipple asked a reed maker for a fine reed he said, “I can make one as fine as 75 dents per inch, but you won’t like it. It will be too fragile.” He suggested putting a threading unit in a dent instead. Going on that advice, my first silk threads were threaded at 96 epi with 8 threads per dent in a 12 dent reed. Since I wanted sheer and an open weave, the reed marks weren’t a problem for me. Another thread was finer yet so I sett it at 120 epi with 8 threads per dent in a 15 dent reed. Both Lillian and I used a warping drum when beaming. I think I’ll try a trapeze the next time because it won’t take so much space in my studio. Lillian’s drum is no longer made by AVL and I had mine built. Directions for it are in my book, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps (newly available in print).

To make it easier to beat, I decided to weave double cloth thinking the two layer’s worth of threads would give more friction in the reed. That meant ½ the epi was in each layer. I don’t know if it helped, but it turned out that the tube made the ruffles. That was a lucky surprise.

Here is an idea I had “post ruffles”.

Another idea I had. These were in my blog post dated March 8, 2013. You can search on the home page for “ruffles” for that and other ruffle posts.

YPP a Big Help in Finding Appropriate Yarns – Box Update

I’m not completely satisfied with the warp yarn I have on the loom for my box project: i.e., samples. I’ve been constantly consulting the Sett Charts in the back of my book, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle for other possibilities.

Here is the sett chart for linen. There are a total of 14 pages of charts. Half are for plain weave and half are for the same yarns for twill.
What has consumed me this time in checking the charts is comparing the sizes of yarns to see what I can find that will be a good size but also can work on a very, very dense warp. Since there are 4 layers, the sett (ends per inch, epi) will be 4 times what it would be for a single layer. If one layer is 16 epi for example, the total sett will be 16 x 4 = 64 epi. Ideally, I’d like something around 1500 ypp (yards per pound).

The part of the sett chart that I’m interested in at first is how many yards per pound because that can give me the information I need to know the size of the yarn.

In my case it doesn’t matter if I look at the Plain Weave or Twill charts because I am mainly interested in the size of the yarn, the ypp. However, it is important that I’m looking at the charts for linen. The numbers and sizes vary greatly with the different fibers. See my previous Tip on Yarn Count. (Sept. 24, 2011)

I have a nice yarn I might like in my stash. With this Yarn Balance, I can find out how many ypp and go from there. This valuable scale used to be called a McMorran Balance. Here’s an example of how the balance works. Say the length of the yarn that balances on the scale is 21 ½”. Multiply that number by 100 to get the number of yards there are in a pound. In this case, you get 2,150 yards per pound (21.5 x 100 = 2,150). Another balance is available for meters/kilogram, too.

You can compare two yarns quickly to see if they are the same size by hooking them together as if you linked your two index fingers together. Hold one set of yarns between your thumb and index finger. Twist the other two ends so that both sets twist. If they both feel the same, they are close to the same size.

Note: The term grist is sometimes used when talking about yarn size. For example, one might say, “I want a yarn of the same grist as this other yarn for my project.”

This worksheet to find the yards per pound is in my book, Weaving for Beginners.

This chart is helpful and is also in the beginner book.

These calculations were worked out using Ashenhurst’s Rule. The rule and exceptions are in both books, Weaving for Beginners and Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle and in several of my previous tips.

My Top Ten Weaving Tips – #7: Sett for Weaving Balanced, Warp, and Weft Faced Fabrics

It’s been five years since I published my new website including over 100 weaving tips and I’m counting down the top ten. Here is number 7. I’m amazed that it has had about around 5,000 views. The top one has about over 23,000 views to date!! Can you guess what the subject of that tip is?

This tip is mostly about making warp and weft faced fabric with a little bit on balanced weaves (for plaids). It refers to four other posts about sett.  Use these links for the information needed. This TIP refers to what is sett. Here is a TIP that makes weaving easier.This TIP refers to the Ashenhurst method of calculating sett. This TIP refers to adjusting the sett for specific purposes. NOTE: the percentages mentiond refer to the Maximum Sett using Ashenhurst.

In weft-faced fabrics, the warp is all but covered by the weft. To accomplish this, you have to space the warps far enough apart that the rows of weft will pack down and cover them. There is a method which can be used as a starting point for experimentation in finding this warp spacing. Use your ruler to wind both the warp and the weft threads together. Alternate the warp and weft threads. Keep them flat. Be careful not to twist or stretch them, but still, push them together until they just barely touch. Finally, count only the warp threads in your inch to get the approximate sett. See Figures A-C. You probably will use a thicker weft yarn than a warp yarn.

Sett for Weaving Weft Faced Cloth

Sett for Weaving Weft Faced Cloth



In warp-faced fabrics, there are so many more warp threads than weft threads that the weft is all but covered by the warp. Use Ashenhurst’s diameters or wrap the warp threads around your ruler. Then, increase or even double the number per inch you get. See figure below.

Sett for Weaving Warp Faced Cloth

Sett for Weaving Warp Faced Cloth



If you want a true plaid, then you’d want a precisely balanced sett, so that the warps and wefts are both showing equally. However, look at a machine woven plaid-the warps are denser than the wefts-for ease in weaving.


If a weave has weft emphasis, you can’t have the warp as dense as 80%. Examples are overshot and summer-and-winter fabrics. Use a plain weave sett here because plain weave is the basis for these two weaves. Then, as a starting point, take 60-70% of their maximum sett, depending on the purpose of your cloth.

More information in Weaving for Beginners and Book #1: Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle

About the Pockets

pocket for lock of hair (click to enlarge)

I received a comment asking if the pockets were double weave. Here’s my reply:
Yes, double weave. I did the pocket with pick up because I was using only 4 shafts and just wanted to experiment. I used an extremely fine weft for the front of the pocket and a slightly heavier one for the borders–that spaced the fine wefts apart so the name could be seen and the lock of hair.  I just made one big pocket so I could manipulate the objects a bit. Picking up the same warps all the time made it easy. Not beating in the fine wefts was tedious, but worth it.

Beautiful Scarf, Unusual Sett

Ellen Miller's Doube Weave Scarf (click to enlarge)

Ellen Miller showed me her gorgeous alpaca double weave scarf. She was disappointed that the sett wasn’t exactly balanced as typical double cloth is. This showed more in the white areas. My sense is that it is beautiful with the more open sett.

Beautiful White Block

You can still see the solid black and white areas. For her warp and weft (both the same) she used less than the 80% figure  (Ashenhurst calculations) and this is one time I think less that 80% turned out beautifully. (The sett is more open when less than the  80% figure is used.) One reason is that the threads were dense in the warp because of the double weave. That made friction in the reed that prevented the wefts from beating down too much as can happen when the sett is more open than the 80% figure.

The Blocks (click to enlarge)

Good Reasons to Use Ashenhurst’s 80% Figure

This is taken from my new book, Weaving for Beginners, on page 280. The information is also found in my Book #1, Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle. See the chapters devoted to sett (epi).
Make your weaving easier: Use the 80% number
(Ashenhurst’s percentage)

In industry, a balanced looking fabric is actually a bit more warp predominant than precisely balanced. It looks balanced at a glance, but upon inspection, you will see that there are more warps per inch than wefts per inch. We handweavers can use this principle, too. I almost always do when I want a generally balanced weave. The way to achieve this look is to take 80% of the maximum sett using the Ashenhurst calculation.
(More on the percentages on pages 280 (Beginner’s Book) and 93 (Book #1).
Why it’s so wonderful to weave with a slightly closer warp sett:
1. The edges of the cloth (selvedges) don’t draw in as much, so the selvedges
don’t break. The extra warps instead of 50-50 hold out the warp width.
2. You don’t have to make sure the weft is put in very loosely. The natural
diagonal the shuttle makes when you throw it through, from the last row of
weaving to the beater, is usually enough slack for the weft’s pathway. (If the
weft is put in without any diagonal, it will pull in the edges of your cloth.)
3. There is less trouble with warp breakage. Fragile warp threads can be used
because there are more of them to pull their weight on the job.
4. There are fewer wefts (picks) per inch so the weaving goes faster.
Now, don’t those reasons sound enticing?
In general, whenever I’m debating between two numbers for a sett, I’ll choose
the denser number for the above reasons. That means, if I were debating
between 6 and 8‑epi, I’d tend to choose the higher number of 8. If I’m weaving
an open shawl, however, I want it more open than the 80% number, for sure.
Of course, my sample will be the ultimate test. Read on for when not to use the
80% number.

Sett Basics and Ashenhurst

Balanced and Warp Faced Cloth

Ashenhurt and other sett charts tell you the setts for balanced weaves–where both the warp and the weft show equally. Weavers often don’t want both to show equally, they may want the warp to predominate in some cases, or the weft. Then you adjust the sett from the charts accordingly–more warps per inch (epi) for a warp predominate fabric or fewer epi for a weft predominate cloth. Read more in my new book, Weaving for Beginners, in the chapter on sett. These photos are found on page 277.

Weft Faced Plain Weave Cloth

What’s On My Loom

Undegummed silk for weft 9click to enlarge)

I’m still experimenting with sheer this time with a warp of sewing thread instead of the fine silk.

The weft is the lovely gold silk that took me a month to spool off from the skein. It is stiff because it is undegummed. That helps keep the beat open and there are variations in the thickness of the thread which make the cloth look nice.

I was very nervous about the sett–wasn’t sure if it was too open, but wanted the cloth to be sheer for sure. It probably is too open, but of course, I made do. What I had to do was beat gently (which I hate to do) and beat on a closed shed (also don’t like to do). So, it’s going slowly but I’ve got the cloth I’m after. (The next risk: will I be able to make  out of it what I have in mind?)

I have reed marks which are just fine–in fact they are a gift. The threads in the reed groups move around randomly which gives a bit of color variation. Nice, so it doesn’t look like commercial cloth. So, the next time, I think I’ll stick to this sett and just go slowly so I can get the color variations.  (I made the warp with  10 different spools of thread–so 10 different shades in the warp. Instead of a paddle, I have a wonderful heck block on my reel that I inherited from Jim Ahrens. This allows me to get a thread-by-thread cross.)

Make a Two-Stick Heading

Two-stick Heading, part One

Use this when you want to make a sample on a warp before weaving the entire project.

The two-stick heading (from Weaving for Beginners, beginning on page 134.)
This is a very useful heading. I have used it countless times. One reason is to eliminate the knots on the apron rod so that the cloth rolls up without lumps on the cloth beam. Another reason is so that you can cut off some of the cloth before the whole warp has been completely woven.
You need a pair of sticks that fit on your cloth beam and won’t interfere with
the ratchet.

Two-stick Heading, part Two

They can be lease sticks, dowels, or metal rods. I prefer thin and lightweight
sticks rather than thick ones because they take up less warp and aren’t so bulky.

Read the step-by-step directions beginning on page 134 in Weaving for Beginners.

A Sampler vs Samples

One reader suggested I talk a bit about sampling. How much to make, wasting “good” yarn, when and why, etc. etc.You can save yourself a lot of heart ache if you make a sample before weaving something and find out that it shrinks too much, or “doesn’t turn out.” You might make a sampler or weave samples. Read below how the two are different.

Beginning Sampler (click to enlarge)

A sampler is generally a warp designed to sample a variety of weaves and ideas. I’m making one in the studio right now. I feel like it’s a big gamble because I don’t know how it will turn out. But because it’s “only a sample”, there is no pressure to make it wonderful (although I hope it will be) and I can be free to try anything. I am not sure about the sett for what I’m visualizing so I need to weave with the sett I decided on and see if it works for me. I am worried that my sett is too open–but I know I can try different techniques (eg.fatter wefts, or beat lighter) if I don’t like the initial look. I can re-sley the reed if necessary. My warp is only 4″ wide so I’m not wasting much yarn–and 3 yards long. I planned the length to try to get a good piece or two after my sampling.
The sampler I have all my beginning weavers make  is shown in the illustration and is found beginning on page 93 in Weaving for Beginners.

Sampling: I had a student this week who wanted to make a baby blanket. Since it is a fairly wide project I suggested that she make the warp a little longer and weave a sample at the beginning and cut it off and wash it and be sure it suits her. If it shrinks too much or doesn’t look right. She can then make changes before weaving the entire project without wasting all the yarn and time. Use the two-stick heading from my new book, Weaving for Beginners, to reconnect the warp without wasting yarn to tie the threads back onto the front apron rod. You cannot make a narrow sample and expect the information to directly translate to a wide warp. Since there will be more friction in the reed, the wefts in a wide warp won’t pack down in the same way as for a narrow warp. I suggest allowing 6-8 inches, minimum for the sample. I really like to add an extra yard for sampling. That allows plenty to sample at the beginning and usually there is warp left for me to try out more ideas at the end. (This is when I am the most creative.)

Think about Ashenhurst’s Rule

I use Ashenhurst’s rule to take the mystery out of sett (warp or weft-wise). Check this out in my Book #1, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle” and also in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners“. In both books I’ve devoted a chapter to determining the ends per inch (epi) or sett. Book #1 has more details. In upcoming posts I hope to explain it and say why it’s so very, very useful. If you can read the book(s), you’ll be ahead of the game.  I’m swamped with getting my room in my studio emptied–more about sett next week or so.