Floating Selvedge - To Beam or Not

When using a floating selvedge is it better to include the threads as part of the warp and then beam them as part of the warp. Or add the selvedge threads after beaming the main warp and then weight the ends to give them the necessary tension?


Posted on Fri, 07/20/2012 - 18:27

I beam floaters along with the rest of the warp. Then I hang weights on them beneath the back beam using "S" hooks or paper clips. Since the hooks hang free they just slide along when I advance the warp and, unless the weights actually hit the floor, I don't have to get up and mess with them much if at all.


Posted on Fri, 07/20/2012 - 18:49

Through trial and error I have found (for myself) it is better if I remember to include them when I'm warping; you can always add them after if you forget :)

Posted on Fri, 07/20/2012 - 19:16

If the floaters are beamed with the rest of the warp and I assume then tensioned with the rest of the warp, why is It necessary to then add weights to them?

Posted on Fri, 07/20/2012 - 21:05

You have to add weight to floating selvedge threads beamed with the warp because the floaters will not take up as much as the rest of the warp. After a little weaving the floaters will be slack. A little weight fixes that.

I hook metal shower curtain rings onto the loop formed by each floater and add washers to get the right tension. Easy!


Posted on Fri, 07/20/2012 - 22:38


I don't beam my floating selvedges; I add them after everything else is done. Sley separately, hang them over the back beam, use scrap yarn (and a slip knot) to tie whatever you're using for weights to the selvedge. As you advance the warp, from time to time you slide the ties further along so that they and the yarn continue to dangle over the back. If you have a very long warp, you can wind-up the selvedge into butterflies (like for weaving tapestry) and gradually release the yarn as you need it. When you get near the end, you can tie a little knot at the end of the selvedge for the tie to catch and keep the weights hanging over the back.

It's essentially the same thing you would do to add a new warp yarn when one breaks.

good luck.


Posted on Tue, 02/19/2013 - 21:59

I learned to weave in the late 70's.  Nothing was ever mentioned about floating selvedges.  I am getting back into weaving after a 10 year hiatus.  Now I am reading about floating selvedges which some weavers use and some don't.  What is your opinion?  Are they really necessary?

Thanks and happy weaving!


Posted on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 01:16

On my countermarche looms, I beam the floaters with the warp and have never had to hang weights on them. Not sure what to giive credit here, but it just works.

Posted on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:55

I also started weaving in the 70's and never use them.  There are some weave structures that behave better with them.  If appropriate use them, otherwise....



Posted on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 16:32

Sometimes a floating selvage is used by weavers who do not want to purchase a temple.  They think that if they put a weight on the selvage thread that the tightness it adds will prevent the draw-in that naturally occurs.  But, it is better to use a temple.

A floating selvage is used when the outside thread is not caught by the weave, such as when weaving a reverse twill, like a goose eye pattern.  95% of the time, you do not need a floating selvage.  So, the floating selvage has a purpose unrelated to the draw-in. 


Posted on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 20:49

Sara, Laura, and Joanne,

Thank you for your input on the floaters. I guess it is a matter of preference? Both of my looms are jack.  Does the type of loom make a difference w/floating selvedges?


Posted on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 21:45

Hi Maribeth,

The type of loom should not make a difference in whether you want to use a floating selvage, as it is the weave structure that determines that.  However, a jack loom, especially a small one requires that you weave with the warp tension a little looser than on a counterbalance or a countermarch loom.  That might give you more draw-in.  But that problem is solved by using a temple, not a floating selvage.  Some jack loom weavers who do not want to invest in temples may think that tightening the selvage thread will lessen draw-in, but a temple solves the problem better.


Posted on Thu, 02/21/2013 - 00:15

I have a jack loom and I don't weight my floating selvedges.  I wind them with the warp and then take them right through the frame to the reed without going through a heddle.  It's appropriate to use floaters whenever the pattern would not otherwise catch the selvedge every 2 to 3 picks.  They prevent jagged fabric edges.  As long as you don't tug on your selvedge threads when weaving (a beginner's cardinal sin) then the tension should be the same as every other warp thread. 

Posted on Tue, 02/13/2018 - 14:26

when using a floating shelvedge, is the choice to enter the shed over or under the first selvedge just personal preference or is there a reason to do one or the other.  I like to enter the shed under the first and exit over the last.  Just curious if it makes a difference?

Posted on Tue, 02/13/2018 - 17:18

Sometimes, by doing the same entry on a FS repeatedly over long yardage, you may notice one of the FSs is gradually untwisting, to the point of breaking. The solution is to reverse what you have been doing.

My go-to is "enter > over, exit > under" but I'll switch to "enter > under, exit > over" if I start to notice a problem.