Weaving > Use of a Fanreed

Figures 1 and 2 show a photo of a Warp Fan Reed. When the fell-line lies along the bottom of the reed, then there are alternate sections which are crammed and loose. If the fell-line is halfway up the reed, the sett is uniform across the cloth and, when the fell-line lies at the top of the reed, again there are crammed and loose sections of warp but they are reversed from those along the lowest line. The immediate implication is that there has to be a mechanism for moving the reed up and down relative to the fell-line in a controllable fashion. Specialist reeds which can alter the warp or weft setting of a cloth have been known for many years. Sometimes referred to as an 'ondule' (=wavy) reed, they appear in 19th century literature [1]. Sutton and Sheehan [2] show how to make use of a Fan Reed and show some fine examples of weaving. A modern book on Fan Reeds is also available [3].

I have a warp Fan Reed mounted in a Louet Kombo (Figure 3) where I have rebuilt the beater and reed-holder to allow my Fan Reed to be wound up and down by hand (Figure 4). The mounting is hand-driven using two long screw threads, one at each end of the reed and a wing nut to drive the reed and its holder up and down the screw thread (Figure 5 to 8). Figure 9 shows a close-up of the warp clearly indicating the warp and weft faced sections.

The weaver has to decide what shape is required in the cloth. For example, if a uniform number of picks is thrown for an equal amount of vertical movement of the reed, then a straight line pattern will result. Figures 10 to 12 show a fabric of green cotton done in a linear pattern. The pattern will not have a sharp change when the reed movement is reversed but will be curved as the most crammed warp threads are pulled sideways. Figure 9 shows the characteristic variation between warp faced and weft faced fabrics as the pattern progresses. The pitch of the pattern can be varied by altering the number of picks thrown per 1 mm of reed movement. If the number of picks per mm of reed movement is varied as the reed is moved, then the pattern can be shaped in different ways (Figure 13). Some silk samples with different pattern pitches are shown in Figures 13 to 15. These show very clearly the changes in colour in going from a warp-faced to a weft-faced fabric. The silk is 60/2nm and is sleyed at 45epi.

Fan reeds are generally made to order and the version discussed here had 15 dents per inch and has two inch sections along the centre line. The height of 110 mm was selected to fit in with the Louet Kombo's dimensions but the whole of this height cannot be used since it is impossible to get a viable shed when the fell-line is less than 20 mm from the top of the reed. To make the pattern balanced, weaving has to stop at a similar distance from the bottom. Thus the working height of the reed is actually 70 mm. A counter-march loom would be an advantage with a fan reed.

[1] E A Posselt, 'Textile Machinery. Part 3, Wool Cotton, Silk from Fibre to Fabric', published 1905, P173-174, Section on 'Reed and Reed Motion for Specialities'
[2] Ann Sutton and Diane Sheehan, 'Ideas in Weaving', Batsford, London, 1989, p97-101
[3] N Smayda, `Ondule Textiles`,Schiffer Publishing Ltd, Atglen, USA, 2017