Though thread counts are indeed quite specific, they can be modified in certain circumstances, depending on the desired size of the tartan.

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However, on an "asymmetrical" tartan, the sett does not reverse at the pivots, it just repeats at the pivots.

Also, some tartans (very few) do not have exactly the same sett for the warp and weft.

In diagram B, the sett reverses and repeats in the same way as the warp, and also carries on in the same manner vertically.

The diagrams left illustrate the construction of a "symmetrical" tartan.

In the mid-19th century natural dyes began to be replaced by chemical dyes which were easier to use and were more economic for the booming tartan industry.

Chemical dyes tended to produce a very strong, dark colour compared to the natural dyes.The total number of colours, including mixtures, increases quadratically with the number of base colours so a sett of six base colours produces fifteen mixtures and a total of twenty-one different colours.This means that the more stripes and colours used, the more blurred and subdued the tartan's pattern becomes.In modern colours, setts made up of blue, black and green tend to be obscured. These shades are meant to represent the colours that would result from fabric aging over time.Muted refers to tartan which is shade between modern and ancient.The shades of colour in tartan can be altered to produce variations of the same tartan.