Sunday, June 1, 2008

Setts

A bunch of very accomplished weavers have told me over the years that to get a really nice drape I just have a closer sett. Is this true with wool, also? I can kind of understand that pertaining to silk or cotton, though I tend to weave loosely rather than tightly, but with wool, wouldn't I need to let it breath and expand a bit?

Suddenly I felt as if I've been missing something so blatantly obvious to everybody else. Like I've been standing rather naked in front of a bunch of nice weavers in a big guild room!!

3 comments:

  1. An item that hangs down lengthwise, like a scarf, will have better drape if it has more warp threads per inch than weft threads per inch. You can think about the way the threads hang and see how the horizontal threads want to pull the cloth out sideways and the vertical threads want to hang down straight. A weft-faced scarf will hang like a placemat. If you make the cloth too dense in either direction, it will be more stiff and more durable; too loose will make it lighter but less durable because it will catch on buttons or jewelry or fingers.
    If you have woven a scarf with a yarn you like and you remember the sett used, try a new warp with the same warp and more ends per inch. Wash the finished items and compare them.
    Using a closer sett will make the weaving go faster but will take longer to thread the heddles. Production weavers always warp for many scarves so it saves time to use a dense set and it gives a nicer product.
    Bonnie Inouye

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  2. Anonymous is right about the drapeability of slightly warp-faced weaves. But structure is also important. Plain weave, or any structure based on plain weave, will not be nearly as drapeable as a twill weave structure. Fibers and their preparation are also important. Cotton normally is the least drapeable of the three fibers you mention. Silk tends to be very drapeable as a fiber even when close sett, though again, there are different silks. The organzine I am working with is quite a bit stiffer than bombyx silk. Wool spun tightly for worsted is not particularly drapeable, though extraordinarily hard wearing. Wool spun woolen style has more potential for drape, especially if woven in a twill. The implication of what anonymous says--and I agree--is that it is dangerous to use sett as a way of achieving drape. People tend to use very open setts with wool to get drape, but that does not work very well. The reason to use an open sett with wool is to full and bring up the halo or nap.

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  3. I just realized, while reading Bonnie's comment, that without thinking I've been visually aiming for epi=ppi more or less, even if I say something else.

    Good thing my SS warp is still hanging on the back beam. I shall warp it using a closer sett today.

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