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Yet more selvedge questions

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Weavin Steven's picture
Joined: 02/19/2010

Hi all,

I have four selvedge questions which I don't believe have been answered on this site. At least I couldn't find them. I have a Fanny but I think these questions could apply for any loom.

First, I've read that you shouldn't double-up selvedges if using a temple. But what if you're threading the reed at two or more threads for the rest of the project? For example, threading a 10-dent reed at 2 threads per dent for 20 epi? Should the last 2 reed slots only have 1 thread to accommodate the temple?

Second, how do I tell if a draft pattern will need a floating selvedge? Do I look at the tie-up part of the pattern or the treadling part? Some patterns will let you know if a floating selvedge is needed, others don't and I don't want to wait until I start weaving to find out "Oh, looks like my selvedges aren't catching. Drat!"

Third, on a narrow project, say less than 8 inches, does anyone have tips on how to actually throw a shuttle? On such a narrow project, even with a small shuttle, one can't really "throw" anything – but rather just hand it over from one hand to the other. Do you still pass the shuttle close to the reed for something like this? Does it matter for proper selvedges?

Fourth, would it help to have an odd number of warp ends in a project to avoid one selvedge edge looking better than the other? 

I know there a lot of questions in this one post, but any help is greatly appreciated! I've asked my very smart corgi but all I get in response is a blank stare.

Bonnie Datta's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009
Selvedge Questions

There are so many excellent weavers on Weavo I'm sure you'll get lots of help on this one.  I'll take a shot at answering your questions,  sharing my experience but certainly not the last word...

I always double my floating selvedge warps and I always use a temple.  Doubling the selvedge ends helps prevent the twist from loosening on one side.

I use a floating selvedge unless I KNOW I'm only going to be weaving plain weave, such as a tapestry.  A good compromise is to have a floating selvedge, and if you find you don't need it and want the selvedge ends to be loom-controlled, just tie them to a heddle on the appropriate shaft, or make string heddles for them.  Then they can be untied and returned to floating if you want.  A really important thing is to be sure that the first loom-controlled warp end isn't always lowered when you enter the shed over the floating selvedge or raised when you exit the shed under the floating selvedge, otherwise that end will just group in with the 2 floating ends.

On a warp-faced piece, often weavers pass the weft, beat, change shed, and THEN pull the weft to the desired tension.  For other narrow weaving I tug, then pinch the weft turn at the selvedge, and lay the weft at about a 30 degree angle, close the shed and beat.  Consistency is the key.

Sometimes you need an odd number of warp ends to balance a threading unit of the pattern.  The floating selvedge principle still works, but in pattern weaving it is possible for the edge loom-controlled warp ends to rise and lower with the floating sevedge ends and this needs to be avoided by adding or removing one end.  If you have drafting software it is easy to spot this by adding two more shafts than you actually have and treadling them to reflect the actions of the floating selvedges.

A final tip is one that I learned in Norway in a class on a traditional warp-weighted loom.  I call it the Norway Selvedge, and although it slows the weaving down a bit it does produce the most lovely chained effect on each side of the weaving, while at the same time eliminating those troublesome edge floats.  The red warp ends are double floating selvedges:



LauraFry's picture
Joined: 05/25/2009
re: doubling up - what

re: doubling up - what exactly is meant?  Two warp ends in one heddle?  Two warp ends in a dent?  Personally I sley according to the epi I want and that may mean one, two or even three ends in a dent.  If I need to use a temple, I use it regardless of my sleying.

I have just posted a video of how I hold and throw a shuttle to YouTube.


Regardless of how wide my warps are I always hold and throw the shuttle the same way.  Of course if you are using a stick shuttle you may hold that differently.  I don't weave weft faced weaves much so if you are weaving weft faced rugs a rug weaver could give you better tips on that.  :)

But for a 'balanced' weave I still throw/pass the shuttle close to the reed, leaving a good angle on the weft and beat on a closing shed.



Bonnie Datta's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009
Thanks Laura, that wasn't

Thanks Laura, that wasn't very clear so I've edited the post to say what I really meant.



Joanne Hall's picture
Joined: 06/11/2009
Selvage questions

Hi Claudia,  You already have some good suggestions.  Many selvage problems seem less important when you weave with finer threads.  For instance, if a thread is not catching on a fine warp, you can simply cut it out and continue weaving, always putting the shuttle in on the same side.  I never use a floating selvage unless a thread is not being caught and I don't want to just cut it out.  Goose eye is one of the few weaves that does this.  If the weave has plain weave as a base, the selvage thread will always be caught.  But it may not be caught with every weft.  With satin weave, the selvage thread is caught only every 5 threads, but that is fine. 

I prefer not to use a floating selvage as it is tedius, so I avoid it considering the ease of throwing a shuttle without it.

Doubling selvage threads is usually done, not for weaving sake, but for use.  If a rug for instance, will get a lot of wear on the floor, doubling the selvage thread may strengthen the edge.  But, two threads may not be stronger than one.  Actually, making your weft snug at the selvage does a better job of making the rug last longer, as well as towels and other items for that matter,  as a loose weave will wear faster.   But it is hard to make your weft snug if you do not use a temple.

The comment about not doubling selvage threads when using a temple is, I think, a little backwards.  It might come from someone who does not use a temple and instead doubles the selvages in hopes of not having draw-in.  That person might then say that it is not necessary when using a temple, as the temple solves the draw-in problem.

In VAV magazine a weaver recently said that she doubles the threads in her damask table cloths just to get a harder edge, which helps to make it lie flat.  So, perhaps experience will tell you what you need to do.

Weaving a narrow warp is a challenge.  Try using a shorter shuttle so that you do not need to pull the shuttle so far out from the selvage.  The less thread you pull out of the shuttle, the less likely you are to have a weft loop at the selvage that needs to be corrected.  The other thing is to actually throw the shuttle, and throw it faster, even though the warp is narrow.

Now you have too many things to try.  Let us know if any of this helps.


debmcclintock's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009
Do a drawdown...

To address the #2 part of your question.  Try doing a draw down of the left and right 8 threads of your draft.  Fairly quickly with some graph paper you can see how far in your weft thread throws and make a decision accordingly.  Faster than threading or rethreading your loom! Some twills will also catch if you switch which side you start throwing the shuttle.  I've had many a "duh" moment with that fix....