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Thread: Favorite Mill?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Here, I would guess that the gent on the right has around a 6 inch sett.
    Funny that you mentioned the Colquhoun example for that. When I was contemplating my custom Colquhoun mill run, that painting was part of my decision-making process. I don't know how tall he was, but I had crudely photoshopped him into a picture of me wearing a standard 6-inch sett Colquhoun kilt. The sett size on his appears a smidge larger, but it may just be the proportions of the painting. When I count the number of sett repeats each direction on his kilt versus mine, it's pretty close. So I'd tend to agree that his sett is "around" 6 inches.

    But compare that to Sir Iain Colquhoun who sported a very large sett Colquhoun tartan. This is more what I'm after. It's still not double the size - I'd guess that's more like a 7.5" sett, possibly 8", but it makes a big aesthetic difference. More of a proper kilt look to my eyes. Our current chief, Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, wears a similarly large sett. It makes the smaller setts look more like what you'd see on a "plaid flannel" shirt.


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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    But compare that to Sir Iain Colquhoun who sported a very large sett Colquhoun tartan. This is more what I'm after. It's still not double the size - I'd guess that's more like a 7.5" sett, possibly 8", but it makes a big aesthetic difference. More of a proper kilt look to my eyes. Our current chief, Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, wears a similarly large sett. It makes the smaller setts look more like what you'd see on a "plaid flannel" shirt.
    There's a nice reference in Wilsons' letter from New York in 1824 in which the writer says:

    Tartans continue in demand & as you may be preparing some think I had better send you a parts of the patterns most esteemed, the best of all is the Colquhoun of a very large size as inclosed pattern and nearly one half shd be like it some with silk & some without.

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  5. #23
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    This makes me wonder if I should bump up the size of my sett. It's designed as a 6 inch sett now but perhaps 7.5 would be nice.

  6. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemileswallace View Post
    This makes me wonder if I should bump up the size of my sett. It's designed as a 6 inch sett now but perhaps 7.5 would be nice.
    How did you determine it is a 6" sett, number of threads in the repeat divided by the cloth density?

    Weaving the pattern in a different weight of cloth, lighter or heavier, would change the size of the sett. Amending the size for a given weight means amending the threadcount.

  7. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    How did you determine it is a 6" sett, number of threads in the repeat divided by the cloth density?

    Weaving the pattern in a different weight of cloth, lighter or heavier, would change the size of the sett. Amending the size for a given weight means amending the threadcount.
    To be fair, I'm assuming it's a 6" sett because I worked backward from the Wallace and Flynn sets which I think were 6-6.5". I'd have to look again. Looking again would answer my question though as my design is a derivation of the two mathematically. Or maybe not because of the cloth weight variation.

  8. #26
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    The issue of Sett size should not be viewed as an absolute. There are many factors which effect the size of the Tartan pattern in the finished cloth.

    One of these factors is the weight of the fabric. here is an example of the same Tartan woven in 10oz for ties and vests on the left, 13oz in the middle and kilt weight 16oz on the right.
    The only difference is the weight of the fabric and that weight can be changed in a couple of different ways.
    This weaver chooses to change the width of the individual yarns when the loom is warped.



    If you are considering a custom weave you may ask the weaver to warp the loom to produce the exact Sett size you desire. They may add yarns to the design but as long as the ratio of the number of yarns per color, and the pattern the colors appear in, remain the same, the Tartan is unchanged.

    This is one of the reasons that Tartan designers will often say that you should have no color stripe of just one yarn, and if possible, you have stripes or blocks of colors with even numbers of yarns. This allows you to halve or double the Sett easily without changing the design.

    One of the reasons that a Sett of between 6.5 inches and 7.5 inches is most common today is that this size allows kilts to be made without needing excess amounts of fabric per pleat and gives the appearance that many are accustomed to today.

    FYI - If you choose to create box pleats in your kilt a Sett size of 7.5 inches will give you exactly 2.5 inch wide pleats. And if you decide to have 3/4 inch knife pleats, with a 3 inch depth, the Sett size would be exactly 6.75 inches.

    The best advice is to speak to your weaver or kilt maker.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 21st May 20 at 12:51 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

  9. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ashton View Post
    The issue of Sett size should not be viewed as an absolute. There are many factors which effect the size of the Tartan pattern in the finished cloth.

    One of these factors is the weight of the fabric. here is an example of the same Tartan woven in 10oz for ties and vests on the left, 13oz in the middle and kilt weight 16oz on the right.
    The only difference is the weight of the fabric and that weight can be changed in a couple of different ways.
    This weaver chooses to change the width of the individual yarns when the loom is warped.

    If you are considering a custom weave you may ask the weaver to warp the loom to produce the exact Sett size you desire. They may add yarns to the design but as long as the ratio of the number of yarns per color, and the pattern the colors appear in, remain the same, the Tartan is unchanged.

    This is one of the reasons that Tartan designers will often say that you should have no color stripe of just one yarn, and if possible, you have stripes or blocks of colors with even numbers of yarns. This allows you to halve or double the Sett easily without changing the design.

    One of the reasons that a Sett of between 6.5 inches and 7.5 inches is most common today is that this size allows kilts to be made without needing excess amounts of fabric per pleat and gives the appearance that many are accustomed to today.

    FYI - If you choose to create box pleats in your kilt a Sett size of 7.5 inches will give you exactly 2.5 inch wide pleats. And if you decide to have 3/4 inch knife pleats, with a 3 inch depth, the Sett size would be exactly 6.75 inches.

    The best advice is to speak to your weaver or kilt maker.
    Steve, this was incredibly helpful. Thank you!

  10. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemileswallace View Post
    To be fair, I'm assuming it's a 6" sett because I worked backward from the Wallace and Flynn sets which I think were 6-6.5". I'd have to look again. Looking again would answer my question though as my design is a derivation of the two mathematically. Or maybe not because of the cloth weight variation.
    If you're designing a new tartan, or trying to scale up an existing tartan thread count, you'll want to work directly with a weaver on the details to get the sett size you're looking for. You can, of course, just let the weaver figure it out for scaling up existing tartans. But with a new tartan design where you have a yarn count already, it's best to get their input on how to adjust the sett. They will be looking at how it needs to be set up on the loom, in terms of centering the pattern when warping the loom, etc.

    In my dealings with Robin at Andrew Elliott Ltd., I learned that he warps the loom for 16oz cloth at 37epi, or 37 ends (yarns) per inch. But when the cloth is woven, that number changes a little bit as the yarns tighten up from the beating. Also, when the cloth is sent for finishing, there's as much as 10% shrinkage.

    The tartan threadcount I started with was 270 threads in a sett, which would have yielded a 7.3" sett in loom and about 6.5" after finishing. I wanted a larger finished sett, so I bumped it up to 302 threads. The scaling doesn't work exactly, depending on how many colours are in the sett, so the final proportions of the stripes can vary a little bit. My 302-thread sett ended up being 8.16" in loom. I specified only minimal finishing because I wanted a loftier cloth, so it didn't get as much shrinkage as it potentially could have. I ended up with a 7.75" sett in the finished cloth (not 7.5" as I said earlier). This ends up being at the top end of the ideal range for kiltmaking.

    Anyway, those numbers will vary by weaver and by different nominal cloth weights. But it's somewhat of a starting point for your planning. Again, I'd highly recommend getting into the technical discussions with your kiltmaker and/or weaver as part of finalizing your tartan. They will have a lot of "reality checks" to throw at you in terms of how it will turn out, and how practical it will be to make.
    Last edited by Tobus; 22nd May 20 at 07:20 AM.

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  12. #29
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    I am not as bothered with the technical details as Tobus and some others are and I suppose, I don't know for sure, "scaling up" an existing tartan is an easier thing to do. Anyway to be clear, I went down the route of choosing the colours that I wanted, an approximate cloth weight plus the sett size required and with no comment from the weaver although he had the opportunity so to do, I assumed that I had not trodden any of the weaver's technical or professional toes and in a surprisingly sort time the cloth was ready. With one very happy customer with a length of cloth that fitted his minds eye perfectly.

    I did not bother to find out what the thread count was going to be or is, I have no idea of the thread weight/gauge, but the end result felt right to me, I assumed there was/is a selvedge of some sort, but have never looked and even if I had done I would not know what I was looking at and finally, I have no idea of the exact size of the resulting sett , as I have never felt the need to find out.

    For me the feel of the cloth was/is fine, the weight was/is right, the colours were/are fine and the sett looked right to my eye. Job done and I have no reason to question my decisions and happily wear my kilt to any event that I see fit without second thought.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 22nd May 20 at 08:54 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  14. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    If you're designing a new tartan, or trying to scale up an existing tartan thread count, you'll want to work directly with a weaver on the details to get the sett size you're looking for. You can, of course, just let the weaver figure it out for scaling up existing tartans. But with a new tartan design where you have a yarn count already, it's best to get their input on how to adjust the sett. They will be looking at how it needs to be set up on the loom, in terms of centering the pattern when warping the loom, etc.

    In my dealings with Robin at Andrew Elliott Ltd., I learned that he warps the loom for 16oz cloth at 37epi, or 37 ends (yarns) per inch. But when the cloth is woven, that number changes a little bit as the yarns tighten up from the beating. Also, when the cloth is sent for finishing, there's as much as 10% shrinkage.

    The tartan threadcount I started with was 270 threads in a sett, which would have yielded a 7.3" sett in loom and about 6.5" after finishing. I wanted a larger finished sett, so I bumped it up to 302 threads. The scaling doesn't work exactly, depending on how many colours are in the sett, so the final proportions of the stripes can vary a little bit. My 302-thread sett ended up being 8.16" in loom. I specified only minimal finishing because I wanted a loftier cloth, so it didn't get as much shrinkage as it potentially could have. I ended up with a 7.75" sett in the finished cloth (not 7.5" as I said earlier). This ends up being at the top end of the ideal range for kiltmaking.

    Anyway, those numbers will vary by weaver and by different nominal cloth weights. But it's somewhat of a starting point for your planning. Again, I'd highly recommend getting into the technical discussions with your kiltmaker and/or weaver as part of finalizing your tartan. They will have a lot of "reality checks" to throw at you in terms of how it will turn out, and how practical it will be to make.
    This gives me a pretty good idea of what I'm dealing with, thank you! Mine is 254 threads a sett so should be right around the 6" mark. It is also all even numbers which should make it simpler to scale and I'll probably leave that determination to the weaver.

    Thanks, guys!

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