Which size reed do I use for this yarn?
We've all been there. We've found some long forgotten yarn at the back of the cupboard, the ballband is missing and we have no idea what it is but we just know if will make a great woven scarf. Or, we're longing to use the handspun yarn we are so proud of and which we know is strong enough for a warp but have no idea what weight of yarn it compares to. Or, we've been gifted some lovely fine cotton that's just perfect for a woven cloth but have no idea what the recommended sett is.
What you need is an Ashford yarn gauge
You can use the Ashford yarn gauge (or any other yarn gauge) to determine the number of wraps per inch. You wrap your yarn around the 1 inch slot and count the number of times the yarn goes around to give you the number of wraps (threads) per inch. The trick is to wrap gently – don't stretch the yarn or tension it or wrap it tightly – a stretched yarn will become thinner and give a false result. Make sure the each thread is lying right next to it's neighbour with no gaps and no bunching up.
To calculate the number of ends required
To calculate the number of ends required to achieve a good sett, just halve the number of wraps. Of course, this will only give you an approximation, a guide, a starting point and you might want to sett the yarn closer for a dense fabric or further apart for a looser fabric, but it will help you select the right size reed for your loom.
Knowing the number of wraps per inch of your handspun or your unidentified yarn can also help you identify the closest yarn category or weight (DK, Aran etc) for knitting and crochet projects. The table below may help.