A question was asked about warp and weft. I'll address warp in this post. My answers here are based on what I've been taught, on my own experiences and preferences based on those lessons. My studies have been with several teachers, especially with Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei, and their combined years of experience in tapestry making count in the decades and they are both experts. That said, I recognize that other people will, of course, have their own opinions and suggestions.
The article describes a way to determine a classic ratio of a selected warp to weft. Brennan suggests that one can find a starting point for the number of ends per inch for any warp by wrapping the warp in a centimeter space, placing the warp wraps closely together, and then using that number of wraps as the number of ends per inch.
He also discusses why one might want to vary that sett... opening up the warp spacing more or making it even closer together. For instance, the number of wefts that might be included in a weft bundle might be one of the factors in the choice of sett. In the two examples below, there's a sett of 8 epi with a 12/12 cotton seine twine as warp. In the top example, 3 strands of weft of Vevgarn are being used; in the bottom example, same warp sett and size, there are 5 strands of 20/2 worsted wool being used. Using a smaller wool (the 20/2), more color blending options were available in each weft.
|8 epi, 12/12 cotton seine warp, three strands of 2-ply wool combined for weft|
|8 epi, 12/12 cotton seine warp, five strands of 18/2 worsted wool weft|
Here's the difference in effect of warp sett with pick and pick:
|Detail of Kathe Todd-Hooker tapestry|
The size of each of those is different, with 12/6 being the smallest and 12/18 the largest, as the sett indicates. Cotton seine twine has the advantage of having flexibility and so the weaver can have some bit of discrepancy in the warp tension and the warp has a bit of forgiveness to cover that. It's also firmly twisted and a bit smoother to put one's hands in and out of when weaving. The cotton seine twine is available in several sizes, both smaller and larger than what I use. Here's a selection from my collection:
|10/3 linen warp|
|Churro wool warp from Tapetes de Lana|
One more thing I want to mention, though, is that sometimes the examples shown in various books of how to do techniques have a small size warp that's widely spaced. Possibly that's done for the methods/techniques shown as easier to photograph that way. I think that beginners see that warp/weft relationship and think that's the way it ought to be. But, in making tapestry if the sett is too open, the resulting tapestry cloth is sleazy (weft moves around too much).
I'll add and amend this list occasionally. I have no affiliation with any of these companies and individuals for personal profit and gain.
- Tynt Kunstvevgarn (and heavier weight Spelsau Norwegian yarns), weft
- Frid Vevgarn weft, and warp thread
- Alv (Elf) worsted wool, weft and also warp thread
Albany, Oregon 97321-2744
- Mora worsted 2-ply and Faro singles, weft; many warp selections, including seine twine and linen