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Tartan Ferret
Asymmetric Tartans

Asymmetric Tartans

You've read that the vast majority of tartans are symmetrical but now we must deal with those that aren't. Basically the difference is that instead of the sett pivoting and repeating itself backwards as in the design on the left, the sett repeats itself by starting at the beginning again as can be seen on the right.

 

An example of a symmetrical tartanAn example of an asymmetric tartan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The thread count for the symmetrical tartan on the left is R/20 W20 B20 K/120 whereas the count for the asymmetric tartan on the right is R20  W20  B20  K120 . . .

Because there are no pivots in an asymmetric tartan, none are marked by the forward slash (/) and the fact that is asymmetric is shown by the . . . which indicates that you just start again with the R20.

 

Different warp and weft.

Whilst we're dealing with exceptions to the conventional tartan, we must also mention the situation where you can have a different warp and weft. This is not recommended unless there's a pressing reason for it such as the designer needing to incorporate more than the conventional maximum of six colours. Once again, modern looms distort tradition by being able to accommodate more than six but good taste normally prevents that since most examples end up being aesthetically challenged (a euphemism for 'ugly').

But there are occasions when a design brief can insist on more than six and the best way of tackling that may well be by swapping the extra colour(s) with some of the basic six and incorporating them into the weft or warp alone. However, the width of the newly introduced colours needs to be carefully judged and if the change applies to a band rather than a line, then the effect can be disconcerting and may well be unacceptable.

Another - and rather extreme - example of different warp and weft can occur where the designer uses the same colours in both but alters the thread count so drastically that the finished design is hardly recognisable as a tartan. This is to be avoided at all costs.

An example of a different warp and weft.





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