Sleying and Reeds

Marcy Petrini


I wanted to sley my fall color warp (see Blog of 11/30/15) at a sett of 20 ends per inch, but I don’t have a 20-dent reed. I do have a 10-dent reed, and conventional wisdom would have me use it and sley 2 warp ends per dent (epi).

I often dent multiple warp ends; I think that, when threads are sett more closely, sleying one per dent may cause the threads to rub the metal slats of the reed and be weakened by it. So, I sley a 36 epi warp double in an 18-dent reed; a 48 epi warp is sleyed 4 per dent in a 12 dent reed, and so forth. Of course, not all combinations have to have the same number of threads per dent.

Somehow, though, this 20 epi warp seemed “too lose” doubled in a 10-dent reed. I think that the multiples work better when the threads are a bit smaller. The 36 epi warp doubled in an 18-dent reed mentioned above works just fine, but a 10 epi warp doubled in a 5-dent reed can bunch up and not spread out evenly. So, for this 20 epi warp I wanted another sleying. I have reeds with 12, 15 and 18 dents for that loom. What would my denting look like? The principle is to make the sleying as even as possible across an inch; but we also must remember that the last dent of an inch is followed by a dent for the following inch, and the evenness must continue.

For these reasons, I like to figure out my denting for two inches, here superimposed because of space. Following is what my sleying would look like in the 12, 15 and 18 dent reeds for the 20 epi warp; the first row in each table, with the red numbers, represents the dents in the reed; the second row is the denting of the 1st inch (beige background) and the third row is the denting of the 2nd inch (in light blue).

Notice the transition between the 1st and 2nd inch: for example, in the 12-dent reed, the 2, 2, 1 denting at the end of the 1st inch is followed by the 2, 2, 1 denting at the beginning of the 2nd inch. The same even progression is true for the other reeds. Ultimately I decided to use the 15 dent reed; I was afraid that doubling every 9th thread in the 18-dent reed may show up as vertical lines; the 15-dent reed is more regularly spaced, as is the 12-dent, but the warp is more spread out in the 15th. The weaving has begun…

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