Ask Madelyn: How to Sett Turned Taquete

Ask Madelyn

Hi Madelyn!

I want to design some towels in turned taqueté, which I have not woven before, but I love the possibilities with patterning. The only problem is I have no idea how to sett the warp using 8/2 cotton. I’ve looked at a few different projects online and in the magazine and each one is sett differently: 20, 24, and 30. How does one determine the sett for turned taqueté for 8/2 cotton or any yarn for that matter?

Thank you!

–Erica

Hi Erica!

Taqueté is a complementary-weft structure usually used for sturdy pieces, especially rugs. The warp is spaced relatively far apart, and two wefts interlace so that one of them shows on the face in a block, the other on the back, or vice versa. Each of the two wefts passes over (or under) three warp threads and under (or over) one. When the draft is “turned” 90 degrees, the complementary wefts become complementary warps. A single finer weft (the warp of taqueté) interlaces with both wefts.

When taqueté is woven as a weft-faced weave, the beat is very firm, usually as firm as the loom and warp width will allow, especially for rugs. When the draft is turned and the weave becomes warp-faced, it is not usually possible to achieve the same sett in the warp as in the weft. So in choosing the warp sett for turned taqueté, the first consideration is a sett that will allow opening a shed. (Another factor in shed formation is the loom: a light loom will require a more open sett than a heavy loom).

A second consideration is the desired hand of the finished fabric. For runners or rugs, the closer the sett of the complementary warp threads, the sturdier the fabric. The number of picks per inch of the fine weft in turned taqueté can be variable: the closer the warp sett, the more open the weft sett can be. To plan runners or rugs (using smooth strong warp threads), I’d wrap a ruler and then choose a sett close to the number of threads wrapped in one inch—and then sample! Your question, however, is about weaving towels. For the right fabric hand for towels, the warp should be much less dense than for rugs or runners. There is a project in Handwoven (May/June 2001) that I have always loved, “Turned Taqueté Towels,” by Betsy Blumenthal. (It also appears in the Best of Handwoven A Dozen Projects in 10/2 Cotton). The warp and weft she is using are both 10/2 cotton; the warp is sett at 30 and the weft at 20. Since 8/2 cotton is heavier than 10/2 (3,360 yd/lb as opposed to 4,200 yd/lb), I’d probably start with a warp sett of 26–and sample!

Send us photos so we can see how it works,

–Madelyn

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