Setting the reed

As mentioned previously, I was living in Switzerland when I learned how to weave. (Learning to Weave and, no, I don’t receive anything for mentions in this blog post.) My friend and I also bought looms at the same time from the same company. (Zuercher Stalder AG http://www.zsag.ch/)

Weaving reeds

My good husband, Wood, said to buy the loom and as many of the weaving accessories as I thought I would need then; he wasn’t sure what we would find when we returned to the USA. So without much cajoling I bought loom and bench, reeds (with a specialized stand), lease sticks, warp sticks, warping reel, and a lot of yarn (a store was discontinuing its weaving supplies).

Buying the reeds in Switzerland meant that I would be weaving metric rather than in inches. I have never budged from that either. When I’m planning a project I decide how many centimeters wide and how many meters long I want it to be.

I used to subscribe to a Swedish language weaving magazine, but it just became too costly to have it shipped to the USA. I currently subscribe to a weaving magazine in English. That can sometimes be a problem. I weave metric, and the English weaving magazine has directions in inches.

The reed is what spreads the threads across the loom. The closer together the metal part are, the closer the long threads (warp) will be when the fabric is finished. One cannot have directions for a project in inches and directly translate that to the appropriate metric reed.

When I did a bit of browsing recently I found that currently the most common reeds are 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, or 15 dents per inch. In Switzerland we bought a whole lot more metric reeds than that: 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80 dents per 10 centimeters. When sleying the reed (putting the warp yarns through the reed), one can sley one thread per dent, or multiple threads per dent.

If my English weaving magazine had instructions to use a reed with 5 dents / inch, that would convert to 12.7 dents / 10 centimeters. I don’t have a reed exactly like that. I could use a 25/10 reed and sley one warp thread every other dent. That would give me 12.5 warp ends (threads) per 10 centimeters. Even if I had a project that was 1 meter wide, that would give me two less threads per meter. That would probably come pretty close to the original project.

Previously I have depended on charts that other people have given. Examples include: this one and this one. But that just wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted exactness. And I was tired of trying to read my scribbles in the reference book I used. So I have converted my scribbles to nice PDF files. Not only that, but I will share them with you. Here is a link to these files. For good measure I included one for substituting Imperial measurement reeds as well.

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