Inkle experiment: Weft Thickness

Here I’m talking about weft thickness for inkle band weaving, though it should basically translate for other warp-faced band weaving too, like band looms, rigid heddle for bands, or backstrap. Here is a band (same one as in the tripling warps experiment) with three different weft thicknesses. None of them are very thick: I’m not talking about repp weave, here. Just the affect of smaller difference in the weft thickness.


Bottom third: #10 thread. Middle third: 5/2 mercerized cotton. Top third: 3/2 mercerized cotton.

The band is folded into thirds and each section has a different sized weft in it. The bottom third has the thinnest weft, the middle third has a middle-sized weft and the top third has the thickest weft. The middle-sized weft is closest to the size of the warp, and is probably the size range I would normally select. I paid no attention to colors, so please ignore again.

I beat about the same for all the weft sizes, and here are my results:

  1. No appreciable difference in band width. But see #4.
  2. No appreciable difference in the pattern.  By this I mean that the warp pattern isn’t stretched out noticeably with the thickest weft, or noticeably more compact in the thinnest weft. This was unexpected.
  3. The thickest weft is most prominent at the selvedges. This isn’t surprising. I don’t like it here, as I think it is pointlessly distracting but doesn’t seem intentional like a real repp weave would.
  4. The warps are not packed tightly enough to cover the weft in the bottom third. I did not expect that. I was pulling the weft with about the same amount of tension at all the different sizes. I think I should have pulled it tighter with the thinnest weft so the warp would slide together and cover it. I may experiment with that later, but for now I can see that with the same tension width-wise (the weft) and lengthwise (the beat), I get the same size but different weft-coverage.
  5. On the middle third, to the right selvedge, one of the warps is oddly concealed — there should be a light spot there in the middle of the turquoise like in the other thirds. While weaving, that surface was actually the bottom of the left side of the band. I will have to pay attention to my movements to see what’s up. I’ve worked hard to get into habits that make my two selvedges look the same, so I shall have to investigate further. Since this is the weft size I’d normally go for, I must see what has gone awry.

So I have two new questions now, from this experiment! What about pulling the thinner weft tighter? And what is up with my weaving at the underside left selvedge?

I have chopped this band up for use in a woven heart a la a fun post by Inkled Pink from a couple of years ago. The different wefts don’t make enough difference to bother about for that application.