Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

I checked Osterkamp’s extensive discussion of figuring out sett in her book, Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle. Usually I go the yards-per-pound route. This time, however, I decided I wasn’t going to fiddle with that. Instead I decided to work with the wraps per inch*.

My measurements of the wpi came in at 16.  I’m never sure of the accuracy of these measurements.  The finer the yarn gets, the more problematic it can be. But 16, accurate or inaccurate, is what is is going to be.


Yarn weight per-pound is much more accurate than working with wraps per inch. Working with 60/2 silk forces me into using yards-per-pound.  However, that figure is already provided by the manufacturer. For me to work that out on my own, I would have to use the McMorran Balance**. But I’m not so sure of my ability to be accurate with that either.

16 wraps per inch it is.


The next step is to multiply 16 by 0.67 (or 2/3) to get the maximum sett for twill.  The answer to that calculation is 10.72.  That, however, would be the maximum sett for twill.  I want a softer fabric than that.


To get a sett for a softer fabric I multiplied 6.9 by 0.65, the number that Osterkamp suggests for woolen.  That calculation gave me a sett of  6.9.  So the sett I would then use should be 7 epi. 


However, the last handspun I wove, with identical grist, was sett at 8 epi for twill.  And this was decided only after enormous amounts of time spent thinking and worrying. I still have the piece so I checked it. That sett was exactly right.  I will use 8 epi as my sett for this piece. 

There is another reason I prefer a sett of 8 epi over one of 7. At 8-epi I can sley an 8-dent reed with one end per dent, instead of using a 5- or 6-dent reed with varying numbers of 1 and 2 ends in each dent.  I worry about possible warp streaks when I have to mix the number of ends in a dent.

*To learn how to measure wraps per inch, go to this illustrated explanation:  http://www.heartstringsfiberarts.com/wpi.shtm

**To learn how to use a McMorran Yarn Balance, go to this illustrated explanation:   http://www.allfiberarts.com/library/aa00/aa022800.htm

Related Post:  Thoughts on Designing

"Determining Sett for Handspun Scarf” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on November 10, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina.



Dave Daniels said...

There are so many variations to my methods and math. I'm finding, for me, the WPI works best. I've had ok success with YPP (yards per pound), but when it comes to sett, 2/3 the wpi has worked pretty well. I'm interested to see your yarn, I'll bet it's beautiful.

fibresofbeing said...

I don't have experience to offer, but I had the impression that yards per pound didn't work so well with wool, where how it's spun (woollen, worsted, somewhere between) can make such a difference to the grist to weight ratio of the yarn.

Dorothy said...

Hi Peg, I want to weave a handspun scarf for my Mum for her birthday (25th Dec.). I haven't used my handspun yarn in weaving before, so I feel I'm being very ambitious, but if you and Dave can weave with handspun, I guess I can try. Thanks for writing about this.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Dave, yes, I agree that with handspun wpi works best. And thank you for letting me know that 2/3 the wpi works for you. One of the problems with wpi, is that two different people can come up with two different numbers and one person can come up with two different numbers....... For example, I think I may have wound mine too closely? But I did follow the rule of turning the rod, not wrapping the yarn around it. That is one other reason why I chose the sett I did.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Fibres of Being, I don't think the issue is wool versus say silk or cotton. I think it has more to do with the size of the yarn. There is very fine wool (NOT handspun by me!), which I would have to use ypp. Also, handspun often tends to bloom more than commercial weaving yarn (but not necessarily than commercial knitting yarn). This yarn didn't really bloom at all significantly, hence a closer sett is probably needed.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Dorothy, If Dave and I can do it, so can you! As long as your warp yarn is a 2-ply, there is no reason to expect any trouble with breakage (which is what most new weavers with handspun worry about). Have you ever cut steeks in knitting? I have and it was absolutely terrifying, But I did it and then wondered what all the fuss was about that I made............