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Archive for May, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things: #15 – Ready? Sett? Whoa!

Having the appropriate sett (also known as ends per inch or the abbreviation epi) can make or break an entire weaving project.  One of the most common missteps in weaving is weaving on a warp that has been under sett (e.g., too few warp ends per inch) .  As a new weaver many years ago I was guilty of this.  Why?  Warping fewer ends seemed like less work and appeared to use less materials, but it made it difficult (if not impossible) to achieve a good cloth.

Determining what an appropriate sett  is for the warp yarn can be challenging . . . but, never fear!  There are some resources available that may be an asset for your next weaving project.

First up is Handwoven magazine’s Master Yarn Chart.  Since 2000, Handwoven has maintained a list of all of the yarns used in projects.  It’s currently 7 1/2 pages long (I remember when it was less than one page).  For each yarn on this list, there is a picture of the yarn.  Below the picture is the following information:

  • The yarn desgination (e.g., 10/2 peal cotton, 60/2 silk)
  • Yards per pound
  • Meters per kilogram
  • Range of setts (when appropriate to use as warp) . . . three are provided . . . The number on the left is a wide sett that may be appropriate for lace weaves.  The number in the middle is a sett that may be appropriate for plain weave.  The number of the right is a sett that may be appropriate for many twills.

One thing is important to keep in mind . . . the setts are not absolute and really provided more as guidelines.  In other words, your mileage may vary.  For example, for 5/2 pearl cotton, I often find I need to sett my yarn higher than 18 epi specified in the Master Yarn Chart in order achieve the results I want (I’m often closer to 20 epi) . . . but, this list has been invaluable time-and-again when I’m planning a project using a yarn I don’t weave with very often or I want to make a substitution of a yarn.  I even downloaded it to my iPad so I have it on hand when I need it.

To download Handwoven magazine’s Master Yarn Chart, go to http://www.weavingtoday.com/media/p/70.aspx.  If you don’t have an account, you will have to make one . . . but, like many things I’m sharing . . . that’s free too!

Now, you may be wondering what to do with a “mystery” yarn that is not on the list.  Well, there are a few things you can do to help you determine an appropriate sett.

Use a McMorran Yarn Balance – this helps you figure out the yards per pound.

Handwoven magazine has a free article on what a McMorran Yarn Balance is and how to use one.  You may download it by clicking on the following link  http://www.weavingtoday.com/media/p/59.aspx

Ashenhurst Rule – Thomas Ashenhurst developed a method of calculating the maximum sett based on the diameter of the yarn.

S = Sett
T = Number of wraps per inch
R = Number of warp ends in one repeat
I = Number of times the weft intersects with the centerline in that one repeat

Simple Wrap Method – I often use a simple wrap method that looks like a simplified Ashenhurst approach.  I have found this guideline helpful when in vendor halls and looking at a yarn that I would like to use for a project.

Step One – Wrap your yarn for one inch

Step Two – Using the total number of wraps per inch (wpi), calculate a sett (at least a starting point) based on the following:

  • 50% = plain weave
  • 60% = twill
  • 80% = satin

Again, this is a guideline and adjustments may be necessary . . . to verify whether a sett will produce the results you want, the best thing is to sample.

Enjoy!   (But, wait . . . there’s more!)

After I posted this, I received an email message from Tommye Scanlin letting more know that there is a resource available for determining setts for weft-faced weaves and that Archie Brennan addressed the issue of warp sett for tapestry in his article, The Space Between the Warps for the American Tapestry Alliance. You can locate it at the following link.  http://americantapestryalliance.org/Education/Ed_Ar/BrennanWarp.html

Thank you, Tommye!

These are a few of my favorite things – #14: Out Damned Spot

I doubt if Shakespeare ever considered when he penned Lady Macbeth uttering out, damned spot  when she imagines a spot of the king’s blood staining her hand after her husband kills the king of Scotland at her urging would centuries later have anything do to with weaving . . . but, it does . . . well, at least today it does.

As I flew home last night from Oklahoma after teaching a workshop for the Tulsa Handweavers Guild (and experiencing the great Tulsa “bread caper”), I thought about how a mere moment that may not appear significant at the time can be have such an important impact later on.  As fiber artists we frequently are in the company of one another and pass along their insights.  That is what has led me to deciding to share the latest of my favorite things.

About 10 years ago, I was visiting different artist’s studios during an event in my area called Seattle Sampling.  At one of the locations I chatted with Bonnie Tarses, a member of my weaving guild.  During our conversation she shared with me two insights . . . First, if you want to know about what cleaning products really work, ask someone that works in housekeeping at a hotel.  Second, to get a spot out of carpeting, use Folex Instant Carpet Stain Remover.  Obviously, I’ve remembered this advice . . . but, at first I didn’t realize how important it was.  Bonnie was right.  hotel housekeepers know a lot about cleaning products.  And, Folex Instant Carpet Stain Remover works really well!  In fact, it has become a very important product for me.

Shortly after my conversation with Bonnie, I made my first purchase of Folex at my local grocery store (I found it on an ankle-high shelf).  At first I used it occasionally  for removing spots in my carpet that I didn’t know how they got there or what they were.  And it worked every time.  I then came across a pesky stain in a garment that I couldn’t get out.  The garment was ruined if I couldn’t get the stain out . . . and then I thought Why not try Folex?  It worked beautifully!  I’ve been using it ever since as my go-to stain remover!

When it comes to treating fabric, I avoid bleach because it can be so harsh on fibers.  Folex unnerves me a bit . . . it’s clear . . . it has no odor that I can detect . . . yet, it works.  (Perhaps it’s magic.) .  The manufacturer states the following about Folex . . . 

FOLEX is a Water Based Non-Ionic Surfactant

WATER BASED means that it uses water to wash the stain away, for safety, and virtually residue free cleaning. Unlike some soap, solvent, or oil based cleaners that could be smelly, toxic, flammable, leave a sticky residue, or damage the carpet backing.

NON-IONIC means that it does not have a positive (+) or a negative (-) charge… therefore it will not attract or repel dust and dirt, so that the cleaned area will soil uniformly with the surrounding area. The spot will not reappear!

SURFACTANT means that it is an emulsifying agent that reduces surface tension… So it breaks up the stain, and surrounds it, so that it can be removed by blotting with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Now, a product I occasionally use when I do laundry may not be of interest to many . . . but, this product has been critical in cleaning handwoven fabrics with mystery spots and  restoring vintage textiles without altering the color or damaging the fibers.  It has removed some really difficult stains (e.g., red wine, rust, grease, etc.) from textiles I’ve found at thrift stores and other places that were abandoned passed along when the previous owner gave up on it.  Has it removed everything?  No.  But, if it didn’t remove the stain, at least it minimized it. 

This latest resource may not be a free Internet-based resource, but it was too good to not pass along . . . especially when it only costs about $6.  In the meantime, I promise my next favorite thing will be another freebie!

If you’re interested in learning more about Folex, you may read about it by clicking on the following link   http://www.folexcompany.com/ 

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