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Project Planning Worksheet Tips

This digital version of our project planning worksheet was designed to help Yarnworker Patreon community members make use of the multi-heddle threadings we have been working with. It will help you plan projects and determine how much yarn you need to weave them. It is a good idea to keep a calculator handy, since the worksheet won’t quite do all the work for you.

If you are weaving a project in plain weave, the process is fairly straightforward, but as we dive more into structure and design, there are other factors to take into account, such as repeats, balances, borders, and selvedge ends.

Don’t stress if you feel like you don’t have all the answers. Project planning is about taking your best guess based on the know-how you have at the time, weaving the thing, then circle back with more experience based on your previous projects or input from your fellow weavers.

Weave, repeat!

Project Planning Example

I created an imperial and metric worksheet.

Here is my goal: I want to weave four coasters in a mostly solid rust-colored colored warp with a 2-end white border the same color as my weft. I plan to use the Hopsack structure, woven with different weaving orders using a standard two-heddle threading at 200% density in a sett of 16 using two 8-dent heddles. The warp is Brassard 8/4 unmercerized cotton, The weft is Gist Yarn 3/2 Beam. This structure has a 4-end repeat and requires a single end to balance the threading. I plan to to use slotted selvedges and create a border using two white ends. I would like each coaster to be around 3.75″ (9.52 cm) long and 4″ (10.16 cm) wide with about a .25″ – .5″ (.64 cm – 1.27 cm) fringe. The threading looks like this and is woven with variations of Heddle 1 Up and Heddle 1 Down, sometimes with more than one pick in a shed:

Let’s do this!

Note: Calculations are shown to the nearest two decimals. There is some opportunity to round up as you go.


The figure you want to use is the number of ends in each inch or centimeter of your threading.  Sett refers to the number of ends in a unit of measure. In the U.S., this is an inch. Sett is often discussed as equivalent to the size of your heddle, and sometimes this is true, but as you begin to do more crammed or multi-heddle work, the size of the heddle and the sett may cross ways.

There are all kinds of decisions that go into determining sett, including the size of your yarn and the weave structure you are using. To determine sett, weavers often start by determining the balanced plain weave (BPW) of their given yarn. A BPW has the same number of warp and weft yarns per square inch. The easiest and most conventional way to guesstimate a BPW sett is to wrap a yarn around a ruler using light tension that mimics how the yarn will behave when relaxed. Count the number of wraps and divide this number by two. By taking half the yarns away, you allow room for the weft to interlace with the warp in equal proportions—assuming you are using the same weight weft.

This is just a place for you to start. You need to take into account the setts available to you, your structure, and the desired look of your fabric. For instance, a lacy scarf requires different materials and sett than a mat. Some structures and yarn combinations like a sett closer than a balanced sett, and some like a little more open sett. There are many aspects to sett, as your knowledge deepens, so will your approach to setting your fabric. Here are a few blog posts that will help you think about selecting sett.

Open, Balanced, and Close Setts

How to Use a Sett Chart

Sett In a Multi Heddle World includes a discussion of Ashenhurst calculator

Project Planning Example 

The 8/4 cotton I’m using has a suggested sett range of 10-18 (see how to use a sett chart above). In general, Hopsack likes a close sett, but this can be fiber dependent. Bouncy wools need more room to move than cotton. I want a cloth on the dense side and I’m using cotton, so I’m choosing 16 ends per inch (e.p.i.) in the upper end of the suggested sett range that works with the heddles I have.

To determine a metric equivalent of a sett based on inches, divide the sett by 2.54. In this case, 16 ÷ 2.54 = 6.299. I’d round up to 6.3.


Take-up is the amount the fabric will rebound once it is released from the loom. Shrinkage is how much the fabric will change once it is washed. The amount of take-up and shrinkage, depends on the fibers used, yarn construction, and the weave structure.  A general rule is to allow 10-15% for cotton, 15-20% for wool, and 25-30% for highly elastic yarns, but results vary, and if being precise is important, then swatching or sampling is a good idea.

When doing your calculations, convert the percentage into a decimal. If you were using 15% extra that would be a total 115% (100% + 15%). Converted to a decimal your multiplier would be 1.15. Common percentages would be as follows: 10-15% (1.1-1.15) cotton; 15-20% (1.15-1.2) wool; 25-30% (1.25-1.3) highly elastic yarns.

Take-up and shrinkage rates can also be influenced by structure. Plain weave fabric or fabrics with plain weave between picks, for example Summer and Winter and overshot, take-up less than fabrics that don’t have plain weave picks, such as twill and lace. In general, I calculate my take-up on the fiber content, and if I know my structure will take-up more, I’ll use the upper end of the conventional range. You may not choose to use the same multiplier in all your calculations, so you will have to manually enter this multiplier each time. If you are new to project planning, use the same guesstimate in all your calculations as a place to start. 

Project Planning Example 

I’m using unmercerized cotton which shrinks more than other types of cotton, although my experience of the 8/4 in the warp doesn’t shrink quite as much as some. Hopsack is essentially a twill derivative and tends to take up like a twill.

Based on previous experience, I’m going to choose a take-up and shrinkage of 12% using a multiplier of 1.12, or middle of the suggested range for cotton. You may or may not have experience with the materials and structure you are working with. Take your best guess based on the information you have and dive in!


This calculation determines your guesstimated warp length needed to weave your project. To calculate this figure, you need your total finished length you would like your project or projects to be, extra length or “loom waste” to tie onto the front and back apron rods, and any extra length required between projects if you are making more than one project on the same warp.

When using the direct warping method, 16″- 18″ (40.64 cm – 45.72 cm) is an average amount of loom waste. When using the indirect method, about 22″-24″ (55.88 cm – 60.96 cm) is the average.  The amount can vary depending on your loom, your project, and your warping style. If you are using a pick-up stick or more than one heddle, you may want to add a few extra inches to your normal amount of loom waste. It is always better to be generous with your loom waste, keeping in mind that loom waste isn’t all “waste”, it can be used for fringe.

You can use the exact calculation if using the direct method. If using the indirect method, you may need to adjust this figure to fit on your warping board. There is a calculation box for any adjustments that need to be made. This box must be filled in, so if you aren’t making any adjustment, type in the same number as the total. This is the figure that will populate throughout the rest of the calculations.

Doing a Loom Waste Audit

Direct vs. Indirect Warping

Project Planning Example 

Inputs into forumla

  • Finished Length: 15″ (38.1 cm) four 3.75″ (9.52 cm) coasters*
  • Take-Up and Shrinkage: 1.12
  • Loom waste: 24″ (60.96 cm)
  • Length between projects: 6″ (15.24 cm)**
  • Length of your project in inches = 46.8″ (118.87 cm)
  • Adjustment for warping board fit = 52″ (132.08 cm) ***

*You may need to weave a little bit more than 3.75” to achieve it as a final finished length. This is taken into account with the take-up and shrinkage number. See Woven Length at the end of the tips page for more thoughts on this.

**This allows for 2” (5.08 cm) of open warp length between my coasters—generous wiggle room to end up with 1/4″ – 1/2″ (1/2 – 1 1/4 cm) fringe. Sometimes I leave my fringe a little long so I can trim it up with wear.

***46.8″ (118.87 cm) won’t fit easily on my warping board. 46″ (116.84 cm) is the closest number that will, but to be on the save side, I’m going to round up to 52″ (132.08 cm), the next length that will fit. I’ll enter this number in the adjustment for warping board box. If you don’t need to make an adjustment, enter the same number as the length of your project in inches. This box will populate into all the other calculations as required. You can take the opportunity to add a bit of extra length here even if you aren’t using a warping board just to add some padding into your equations.


This formula calculates the total number of warp ends in your project, regardless of the color or style. If you are using the direct warping method, keep in mind you are threading 2 ends at a time when threading the slots, so you have to divide your total number of ends by two to determine how many slots you need to fill to get the correct number of ends. If you are using odd-ended structures or colorwork, the indirect number is recommended.

Project Planning Example

Inputs into formula:

  • Finished width: 4″ (10.16 cm)
  • Sett (auto-populates): 16 (6.3 cm)
  • Take-up and shrinkage: 1.1*
  • = 70.41 warp ends

*This number does not automatically populate because sometimes you want to make a different choice for width and length. If you are new to the process, just use the same number. In my case, I know that since Hopsack is a twill derivative, it tends to take up more in length than in width, so I’m going to adjust down a bit for my take-up estimate.


Once you have your estimated ends, you may need to do some further adjustments based on color or structure repeats, balance(s), and other elements, such as borders and selvedges.

repeat is the fundamental element of your cloth. It could be the structure, or color order, or both. This element is repeated over and over again to your desired width and length. You can have more than one kind of repeat in your fabric. For instance, if you are using stripes in your design, the repeat would take into account the structure and the color. For example, if you want to weave our theoretical Hopsack example with blue and white stripes that are one structure repeat wide, your total repeat would be 8 ends—one structure repeat of blue and one structure repeat of white.

A balance is a small portion of the repeat that creates either an even distribution of structural repeats across the width of your warp, or the same interlacement at either selvedge. Balances are sometimes, but not always, needed to give the cloth structural integrity. Carrying forward our blue and white stripes in the Hopsack threading,  if you want the same colored stripes on the edges, you would add an additional four ends of the color you started with. This would be a color balance. Then you may need to add a structure balance to have the same interlacement at either edge. In the Hopsack threading used here, that would be 1 end.

A border could be an additional element or part of a balance or a repeat. Our striped example in the previous definitions doesn’t have a border, but our planning example does.

Selvedges Depending on the threading, I often add additional slotted ends to make managing the selvedges easier.

Once you have determined the number of ends it takes to weave your optimal width, divide it by your structure or color repeats to determine if they fit evenly into your width and to accommodate any other design elements. To do this, divide the number of ends it takes to complete one repeat into the number of ends. You may need to add ends to complete a repeat or add a balance. Enter this number into the “end adjustments for repeats and balance” space.

Project Planning Example

Looking at the threading, my design has structure repeats of 4 ends, a border of 2 white ends is made from the first and last H1 end. To determine a number of ends that will accommodate my design, start by inputting the size of your repeats into the formula. The number of warp ends will autopopulate.

Inputs into formula:

  • Number of Warp Ends (auto-populates): 70.4
  • Repeat: 4
  • Number of repeats that fit into number of ends = 17.6.

This next part takes a calculator and some trial and error. I want to find the closest whole number that I can divide the repeat evenly into the number of ends, then add in any extra ends required for balances or selvedges. In my case, I would need 1 additional end for my balance, and 2 additional ends for selvedges.

My repeat is 4. I have the choice of rounding down to 68 or up to 72 as my closest number of ends divisible by 4 that results in a whole number, 17.

17 is also the number of repeats I’ll have to warp to achieve my design.

I also need to add 1 end for my balance and 2 ends for my selvedges, I’m going to choose 68, because I don’t want my fabric to get too wide, which gives me a total of 71 ends as the optimal number to accommodate my design.

Type in 71 in the Adjusting for Design Element box.


The total number of warp ends divided by your sett, will give you the width of your project in the rigid-heddle reed. Use this figure to center your project.

Project Planning Example

This formula will autopopulate with your previous inputs in other formulas to give you the total yardage you need to weave your project.

Inputs into formula:

  • Adjusted number of ends (auto-populates): 71
  • Sett (auto-populates): 16
  • Width in the rigid heddle = 4.44″ (11.27 cm)


The total amount of yarn in yards needed to warp your loom.  This figure is a gross calculation and auto populates from your previous inputs. 

Project Planning Example

Inputs into formula:

  • Adjusted number of ends (auto-populates): 71
  • Warp Length (auto-populates): 52″ (132.08 cm)
  • ÷ 36 (inches in a yard) or 100 (centimeters in a meter)
  • Total amount of yardage needed = 102.56′ (93.78 m)


If your warp has more than one color or yarn style, you may need to do some additional calculations. I’ve included three additional warp yardage calculations, colors A, B, and C, that you can manually enter inputs. If you have more than three colors in the warp, you can use a calculator for additional yardage estimates.

Project Planning Example

My warp is made of two colors: 4 ends of White and 67 ends of Rust. I can use the additional warp yardage calculations to determine how much yardage I need of each color. I’ll call Rust, color A, and White, color B.

Inputs into forumla for Color A (Rust):

  • Number of color A ends: 67
  • Warp Length (auto-populates): 52″ (132.08 cm)
  • ÷ 36 (inches in a yard) or 100 (centimeters in a meter)
  • Total warp yardage needed of color A = 96.78′ (88.49 m)

Inputs into formula for Color B (White):

  • Number of color A ends: 4
  • Warp Length (auto-populates): 50″ (132.08 cm)
  • ÷ 36 (inches in a yard) or 100 (centimeters in a meter)
  • Total warp yardage needed of color B = 5.78′ (5.28 m)


If I’m only using a single color of weft and weaving a single item, I tend to keep it simple and calculate 70%-80% of the warp yardage as my weft yardage figure. You need less weft since you won’t be weaving the loom waste. There are times when you want to be more precise. For instance, if you are weaving a weft-faced fabric that has a lot of picks per inch on an open warp or if you are weaving multiple items where there is open warp between project. The formula to figure out your exact yardage is weaving woven length in inches × width in heddle x picks per inch × take-up and shrinkage ÷ 36 inches in yards = weft yardage (See Weft Color Yardage).

Project Planning Example

Inputs into formula:

  • Warp Yardage (auto-populates): 102.56′ (93.78 m)
  • × .80%
  • Total estimated weft yardage = 82.05′ (75.02 m)


In order to be more precise with your weft yardage requirement, you need to determine how much extra length you need to weave to end up with your desired final finished length. This can be a bit tricky.

The weaving width naturally takes up or draws in a bit as it travels from the reed to the fell of the cloth. This natural draw-in is taken into account in the take-up percentage you used for the weaving width, but you still may need to weave a bit more length than width to get your desired results. (If you can’t get a clean beat because it is drawing in too much you need to adjust the angle of your weft or the positioning of your hands on the heddle.)

Sometimes I just punt and weave a single additional repeat if that works for my design, but other times I’ll use about half of my take-up percentage to more precisely guesstimate how much I need to weave. This takes into account the loss in width that naturally occurs during the weaving process.

If you use this forums for warps that have multiple pieces on a single warp, base your desired woven length on a single item if your warp has more than one.

None of this matters a great deal if you are weaving something like a scarf, wrap, or yardage where you are just weaving until you can’t weave anymore!

Measuring Your Weaving on the Loom

Project Planning Example

I want my length to be a little bit shorter than my width so that once I add fringe, my coasters won’t appear too visually long. I’m going to weave about 6% extra or 1.06 as the multiplier, half of my estimated take-up and shrinkage. 

Project Planning Example

Inputs into formula:

  • desired length of a single project in inches: 3.75″ (9.52 cm)
  • take-up and shrinkage: 1.06
  • woven length = 3.98″ (10.09 cm)


There are three additional yardage calculations if you either want to be more precise with your weft yardage or have more than one color in the warp. If you have more than three colors, you can use a calculator for additional yardage estimates. This calculation does require that you guesstimate your picks per inch. A good general rule of thumb is to use the same number as your sett. If you know your picks are going to be more or less than this, you can use your best guess. This is just to be able to acquire enough yarn, and it is always a good idea to plan on using more than you think you will need.

Project Planning Example

I only plan on using one color in my weft, White.

Inputs into formula for Color A (White):

  • woven length in inches: 16″ (40.64 cm), four 4″ (10.16 cm) woven pieces*
  • width in heddle (auto-populates): 4.44″ (11.27 cm)
  • picks per inch: 16 (6.3 per cm)
  • take-up and shrinkage: 1.12**
  • ÷ 36 (inches in yards) or 100 (centimeters in a meter)
  • weft yardage = 35.36′ (32.33 m)

*This is a manual input and I’m rounding up to 4″ (40.64 cm) for each coaster, based on the previous calculation, and then multiplying by the total number of items I will weave on this warp, which is 4.

**This figure takes into account the over/under path the weft will travel and shrinkage. I tend to use the same figure I did to calculate my warp take-up.

Note this is a lot less yardage than if you used 70%-80% of the warp figure. Part of this is because you also don’t have to weave the open fringe between projects. I always add a 20% bonus to all my warp and weft yardage calculations and extend my warp length a bit, just to be on the safe side.

If you want to save or print your calculations, click on your print function, then save as a PDF.

To the loom!


Here are my finished coasters. I had about 12″ of loom waste in the back and 4″ in the front in addition to the bits between the coasters that I trimmed away using a rotary cutter, self-healing mat, and quilting ruler. Before trimming I used a comb to align the fringe.

I wove two coasters using the weaving order: Heddle 1 Down, Heddle 1 Up, Heddle 1 Up*, Heddle 1 Up*; and two coasters using the weaving order: Heddle 1 Up, Heddle 1 Up*, Heddle 1 Up*, Heddle 1 Down, Heddle 1 Down*, Heddle 1 Down, Heddle 1 Up, Heddle 1 Down, Heddle 1 Down*, Heddle 1 Down* (*catch selvedge)

Liz Gipson Widgets
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