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Reed delivery

We have just taken delivery of a large order of Toika Stainless Steel Reeds including some new dent sizes in metric and imperial measurements as well as some new lengths we have been asked to stock. The website should now be up to date with stock that is now available. We are pretty confident that you will find a Toika reed to fit your loom even if it isn’t a Toika! Toika reeds are still made in the traditional way and in our opinion offer high quality and excellent value for money. If you aren’t sure if a Toika reed will fit your loom please drop us an email or give us a ring and we can advise you. As we now very well stocked with reeds, it seems like good time to offer some information on substituting a reed.

Reed Substitution Charts

If you only have one or two reeds you will probably need a reed substitution chart. This is the easiest way of finding out how to thread the reed if the sett you have decided upon doesn’t fit easily into your reed in equal numbers. There’s lots of choice for imperial measurements, but less choice when it comes to metric. If you have reeds in several different sizes you may well be able to find a better solution to those offered in the substitution charts. Don’t forget that if your beater is open ended you can fit a longer size in than if it is closed at the sides. It is almost always possible to use a narrower reed than your loom requires as long as it is wide enough for your project. You may be able to borrow a reed better suited for your chosen sett from a weaving pal or your local Guild.

Ashford have a downloadable pdf reed substitution chart.

Just remember that sett recommendations are fairly arbitrary and should only be used as a starting point. Thinking about the use for the cloth, how it will change when taken off the loom, what effect wet finishing are just a few considerations we need to take into account when planning a project. Even when following a pattern from a book or magazine you may be making adjustments to suit your loom, the yarn you are using or the final use of the cloth. Setts are not set in stone, and sampling often yields the best outcomes.

Jane Stafford – whose subscription weaving course draws universal acclaim – also has a chart which includes 5dpi and 18dpi reeds.

While US weavers almost exclusively use imperial units, If you have European weaving books or magazines they will almost certainly only use metric reed numbers. The other important thing to remember with metric reeds is that the dent size is expressed as dents per 10cm, approximately 4 inches, something that I remember not understanding when I first read a Vav magazine!

Karen Eisenhower however has kindly worked out the conversions for us. You can find it on her website Warped for Good. Karen gives us accurate conversions, not approximations and her advice on choosing and using metric reeds over imperial has given me a great deal of thought. Many of us of a certain age muddle along using a hybrid of imperial and metric measurements. Karen also points out that “the math is much easier” in metric so I am going to give it a go on my next project for all of the calculations and measurements, and use metric reed in the process.

 Karen also has a brilliant weaving glossary, another source of excellent information as well as lots of weaving information and beautiful weaving to admire and inspire. You can sign up for updates if you like what you see.

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A smart low-cost application available for Apple devices via the Apple iTunes Store.

The App helps with creating, designing and displaying Weaving drafts and patterns using the touchscreen of your device. It can also import WIF files from or found elsewhere. Weavers create the threading, treadling and tie-up and WeaveIt will display the draft as a drawdown.

There are 3 add ons that are well worth the extra cost.

Designer Tools give options to turn drafts and find floats and more.

The treadle and threading tracker is priceless IMHO!

Finally the project calculator works in metric and imperial, and as well as calculating how much yarn your project will take there are several other very useful features.

I have found this App very useful and well worth its modest price. More information on the WeaveIt website.

There are also WeaveIt Pro versions for both MacOS and Windows. The layout is very similar so upgrading doesn’t feel totally unfamiliar and although more expensive than iWeaveit the huge increase in in features justifies the price tag. As with all of the major weaving programmes currently available it is possible to download a fully functioning demo version from the website, the only features usually disabled are save and print. If you are thinking of buying a weaving design programme it is definitely worth trying before buying.

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Online Weaving Resources

Recently I have been thinking about some of the great weaving resources that can be found on the internet. Sometimes I need to quickly look something up, find the answer, and move on. But other sites I find myself going back to time and time again. It’s good to share, so here are two that fall into the second category. if you haven’t already found them here are two of my favourites.

Helen. has thousands of weaving drafts, hundreds of articles, books and monographs as well as some basic but nevertheless very useful weaving draft software. Lots of this content is available with a free account but to access everything an annual subscription is required.  This is currently $29.99 (US). New features and improvements are ongoing.

Probably the best value weaving resource money can buy!

Peggy Osterkamp

Peggy is the author of several really great books and her website is full of information.

Peggy advocates using Ashenhurst’s Rule  to calculate sett and explains it very clearly on her website. It is based on based on yards per pound or metres per kilo meaning the sett is calculated using the size of the yarn regardless of fibre content.

There’s a lot of reference information for both novice and seasoned weavers, including some great tips on warping, using lease sticks and weaver’s knots, but my two most used (and bookmarked) pages are: