Determining a mixed sett
When combining a variety of yarns in a warp, the appropriate sett to use depends on how exactly they’re combined. In our Weave-along, the four warp yarns are used in equal proportions and evenly distributed across the entire width of the warp. That is, each group of four warp threads will contain one thread of each yarn. The order may change, but the group of four will still contain one of each. In this case, a good starting sett is the average of the appropriate setts for each individual yarn.
Therefore, the first step is to determine an appropriate twill sett for each yarn on its own. (If you’ve decided to weave a different structure, use an appropriate sett for your chosen structure instead.) If you know from experience what sett you’d use for a twill scarf using that particular yarn, great! If not, but you do know what the yarn is, you can look up its suggested twill sett in the Handwoven Master Yarn Chart. If you don’t know what the yarn is, then you’ll need to come up with an appropriate twill sett in another way. My blog post “Deciding on a Sett” has a few suggestions that might prove helpful. Note that this “appropriate sett” may well be a narrow range, for instance “18-20 EPI”.
Once you have an appropriate sett (range) for each individual yarn, the next step is to find their average. Below, you’ll find a handy calculator for doing just that. If you’ve come up with a sett range for one or more of your yarns, you can move the sliders up and down within that range to see how much or how little impact the change has on the average. Try using the lowest value of one yarn and the highest of another, then changing to the opposite. You can also use the adjustment guidelines below the calculator to adjust the setts for each individual yarn on its own and see what impact that has on the overall average.
Adjusting the baseline sett (range)
This average sett is a good baseline for a twill fabric. Next you need to consider qualities of your particular yarns, what drape you’d like your finished scarf to have, whether you’re planning to showcase your warp stripes or emphasize your weft, and whether your yarns need room to bloom or structure to keep them from escaping.
If your warp and/or weft yarns are very slippery, err on the side of a closer sett/the higher end of your range so that the weft doesn’t pack in too much.
If your warp and/or weft yarns are very textured you won’t need quite as close a sett.
If your warp contains chenille, err on the side of a closer sett rather than one that’s too open.
If you want to showcase your warp stripes, use a closer sett or the higher end of your range.
If you’re using animal hair fibres and want them to bloom, use a more open sett/the bottom end of your range.
If you want a feather light scarf, use an open sett but plan to nudge the weft into place gently! (This isn’t a safe option for slinky yarns.)
If your weft is thicker than your warp threads, use a more open sett toward the bottom of your range.
If your weft is thinner than your warp threads, use a closer sett toward the top of your range.
If you’re still uncertain, opt for the closer sett. If your sett is too close, you can always beat the weft in at fewer picks per inch (PPI) than you’d planned, and that will still produce a scarf with a nice drape. If your sett is too open, the weft may beat in too much and cover the warp more than desired, which will result in a much firmer cloth that won’t drape nicely or be comfortable to wear.
And don’t forget: we’ve given you 18″ of sampling length in your warp so that you can test the sett among other things. Once the sample is off the loom, you can wet finish it and decide if you’re happy with the hand of the fabric or whether increasing or decreasing the sett will improve it even more.