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Reed density for fine yarn

Hello Jane, you were very helpful last year when I was researching the Louet Spring loom.  I finally purchased it, and I am delighted with the way it works.  I now have a question regarding reed density. My intention is to weave yardage fine enough for garments, which I could not do easily on my old Schacht Mighty Wolf, which had a very narrow “sweet spot” that resulted in obvious tension differences whenever I advanced the warp.  Most of my weaving from now on will range between 24 to 48 epi and hopefully even higher, depending on the results I get.  The loom came with a #10 reed; two of my sampling experiments with higher epis so far have resulted in channels running through the finished cloth, left by the dents pushing the fine threads to the side. So here’s my question: if I intend to weave very fine cloth from cotton, linen or silk, can I make do with a #12 or #15 dent reed, or should I invest in a #20 or even higher? I have never seen a #20 but they exist as special orders online.  I would assume that the dents would be so close together that I would need to use a different kind of tool to thread the warp through the reed. I would greatly appreciate any insight you could give me.  I would ask my local weaving guild these questions, but no one in the group has experience with weaving high-epi yardage.

You should be fine with the 12 and 15 for the 24-60 epi’s.  I have never had a problem with those.  Finer reeds would require a finer sley hook but I wouldn’t worry about even going there until I needed to.  The type of yarn you use also has a bearing on reed lines in the cloth.  The less elasticity in a yarn the more the reed lines hold….like linen, but the softer the yarn the less they hold…..like fine wools and silk.   Sometimes I just embrace reed lines and use them as though they were a shadow pattern, kind of like tracking….an added visual texture.    I have found that sometimes reed lines totally disappear the more the cloth is washed.   There are so many variables.  I’m glad you are enjoying the benefits of the Spring and I hope the above answer helps.