Selvedge edge forms a pile?


I've been weaving for a short time and I'm working on production weaving with Tencel. I'm having a bit of difficulty with an odd situation happening with my selvedge and I was wondering if anyone has a suggestion for how to solve this. 

The problem I'm having is that my selvedge is getting pulled into something resembling a pile, when I would like to have a smooth selvedge. I would normally make a tabby-weave selvedge to minimize this problem, but I haven't figured out how to make a tabby-weave selvedge with a four-shaft pattern. 

I'm including pictures so you can see what I'm seeing. The first image is what happens if I pull the weft out so the loops are on the edge and the cloth itself is smooth. 

Selvedge neatened by hand

Next I keep hold of the selvedge loops while I raise the shaft.

Selvedge neatened by hand, shaft raised

Then I release the loops, and you can see that the inside two warp threads pull the slack into the cloth.

Loops released, shaft still raised

Then I lower the shaft, and you can see that the loops look almost like they're a pile woven into the fabric. I've tried to smooth them down a bit so they show up for the camera but they're not entirely clear. The loops in this image are set above the two warp threads just inside the edge, not directly on the edge.Shafts lowered, pile forms in cloth

Can anyone help me figure out how to solve this problem? I originally thought it was because of how I was winding my poems, but it now looks like a warping issue and I'm not sure how to fix it. 





Posted on Sat, 06/24/2017 - 23:27

Dear Sadb;

It looks like you are perhaps experiencing difficulties in your weaving habits.  I always beat my weft picks on an open shed before changing to the next pick.  There will be a selvage formed no matter what; an area where the warp threads are a little condensed at the edge.  Leaving a loop of weft to try to keep your fabric perfectly the width you warped it in the reed is impossible to keep consistant.  Practice practice practice.  Dee Dee King, California

Posted on Sat, 06/24/2017 - 23:39

Hi Deirdre,

Thank you! I'm actually trying to get a slightly packed selvedge. I'd like to eliminate the loops, since I need to do extra finishing to get  a ride of them. I might try the packing on an open she'd to see if that changes something, though. 

Posted on Sat, 06/24/2017 - 23:48

Hi Deirdre,

Thank you! I'm actually trying to get a slightly packed selvedge. I'd like to eliminate the loops, since I need to do extra finishing to get rid of them. I might try the packing on an open shed to see if that changes something, though. 

This is my other selvedge. I like it much better! Still a loop every now and again, but they are few and far between, and much smaller.A nicer selvedge


Posted on Sun, 06/25/2017 - 01:50

I've experienced this problem, too.  I find if I slow down, and maybe move myself closer to the problem selvedge, it tends to get better.  But the best solution is to use a temple.  It holds the warp to the intended width, and using it results in a much nicer fabric. 

Posted on Sun, 06/25/2017 - 02:08

It is normal for one selvage to be better than the other, with greatest difference for a novice. Diagonal thread placement consistency has a relationship to handedness. Beating on closed shed/next shed is also helpful. 

Your cloth has different packing at the selvedges suggesting something is not square--beater itself? Grasping the beater in the center helps to keep the beat square.

Loose cloth on one side can also be caused by uneven tension particularly at the side tied on first.  Lashing on can be helpful for evening the tension.  

Recheck the basics in an orderly sequence and you can figure it out




Posted on Sun, 06/25/2017 - 03:55

Hi Francine,

Part of that was from me messing with the selvedge, but yes part of that was warping with inconsistent tension. I'm still working on that issue. My original warping job had too few warping sticks, and the material was too flimsy and essentially started collapsing at the edges to such a degree that there was more than a yard of difference between the center and the edges of the warp. Once I re-beamed I got much better tension. It's definitely not perfect, but I'm happy that it's as good as it is!

Maybe next time I will try lashing on instead of tying on. I went over the knots multiple times but I know there were still some small inconsistencies.

Thanks for your advice. Maybe this is just something that improves with time.

Posted on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 03:47

The type of shuttle and how you use it has a lot of control on your selvedges.  If you use a boat shuttle with a bobbin that spins without control. you have to tension the pick and snug up the selvedge.  If you use an end feed shuttle, the tension on the weft supplied by the shuttle will do that.   EFS are more expensive, but faster and easier.  Your photos look like you have used a boat shuttle without adjusting the weft with each pick.

Posted on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 13:21

I am actually using an end-feed shuttle with pirns (got it secondhand so I could actually afford it) which is part of why I'm confused since I know lots of people use them with great results. 

I think I may have found something that's helping, though. I like high tension on my warp but I think I've been putting it under too much tension, just by one ratchet click or so. The extra tension seems to be exacerbating a slight tension difference in the warp ends at the problem selvedge and I think leaving just a little extra slack is helping. To be clear, the tension is basically from tight tension to firm tension. Not enough slack to let the warp ends droop or move around, just enough to minimize the slight tension differences at the end.

Posted on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 14:12

Do you have any tension on the warp as it leaves the shuttle? What kind of shuttle do you have and how is the tension adjusted? When I start seeing a less-than-firm selvedge, I adjust the shuttle tension. You keep talking about adjusting the warp, but the loops are caused by the weft tension. Uneven warp tension can give all sorts of problems, but not selvedge loops.

Posted on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 16:24

Agree with big white sofa dog.  The weft needs to be tighter to snug the loop against the selvedge.  If you are plucking at the selvedge, stop.  It is a balance between the correct tension on the warp and weft.  Pay attention to what you are doing and make one change at a time to see what brings better results.  I have blogged about this and have video clips on you tube (as well as the DVD The Efficient Weaver).  

Posted on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 16:24

Agree with big white sofa dog.  The weft needs to be tighter to snug the loop against the selvedge.  If you are plucking at the selvedge, stop.  It is a balance between the correct tension on the warp and weft.  Pay attention to what you are doing and make one change at a time to see what brings better results.  I have blogged about this and have video clips on you tube (as well as the DVD The Efficient Weaver).  

Posted on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 17:53

Hi Sadb,
I see that you're a new weaver working on production weaving. I would agree with Queezle, Bigwhitesofadog and Laura Fry: slow down and pay attention to what you're doing with the weft. I know you want to develop speed, but if you develop good technique speed will follow. I would also suggest checking out Laura's The Efficient Weaver and/or Madelyn van der Hoogt's Weaving Well, both available at Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress!

Posted on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 20:12

if the selvedge pictures are from the same warp (which I think they are), to my mind it means that you are doing something very different when shuttling right-to-left than when shuttling left-to-right.

Only you (or an observer) can determine what the difference is - . However: one side is ok, the other is Very Different - thus: your shuttling from side A is ok, but from side B it is Very Different. (IM(NotVery)HO the difference in shuttle type should not be crucial, but then, I am a dinosaur... and a Scandi, to boot. Us Scandis have not heard about EFS shuttles until recently - )

Posted on Wed, 06/28/2017 - 13:39

I think that EFS are more common here in the US because handweaving here has adopted several technologies from industrial textile production; the EFS, fly shuttle, and rotary temple among them.  (I am insanely jealous of  Laura Fry's pirn winder!)  Speaking of industrial textile technology; I don't know where SadbAn is, but here in the US you can buy old mill shuttles quite cheaply.  These are about 2 pounds (a little less than a kilogram) with sharp steel pointed ends.  New weavers sometimes buy them thinking they are a really good deal on an EFS.  They are EFS, but they are big, heavy, sharp and often have little or no tension control, because they are designed to work across large looms at about 30 miles per hour.   I have heard of people who use these as hand loom shuttles.

Posted on Fri, 06/30/2017 - 02:00

I actually am at the end of the warp and I was able to adjust the tension of the warp on this selvedge. The selvedge looks much better now. 

Posted on Fri, 06/30/2017 - 16:30

Hi all,

I just pulled the cloth off the loom. The problem was that the warp threads on that selvedge were tighter than the rest of the cloth (which a friend confirmed - those threads were noticeably tighter), which caused the weft to get drawn into the cloth when I threw the shuttle from that side. The tension on the weft was ideal - the weft thread set itself against the selvedge but did not pull the selvedge in toward the cloth, which lead to a very even edge on the other side.

The solution I found was to lighten up the tension on the warp just a tad, so those threads weren't pulling the weft as much. This solution was confirmed after I got near the end of my warp and I was able to release that side of the warp a bit. The loops almost disappeared. For future projects, I will need to make sure that the selvedges are beamed at the same tension as the rest of the warp ends. This warp had a rough start to life so I had to re-beam the whole thing, and for a problem I can fix in finishing the cloth it wasn't worth re-beaming the whole thing again and potentially losing all the work I had already done. This problem should be fixed for the next project.


Posted on Fri, 06/30/2017 - 16:35

I'm in the US, but this shuttle came from the stash of a handweaver. I think it's from the '60s or '70s, but it's all wood except for the spring metal that holds the pirn, and it's definitely not an industrial shuttle. The pirns I'm using are antiques from an old factory, but they're indistinguishable from pirns I could find for handweavers - nice and small, and they fit perfectly into this particular shuttle. I have some other industrial pirns that I use for embroidery thread storage, but they're about a foot long and won't fit into any of my hand shuttles.

I might be able to post a photo of the shuttle in a bit - for some reason only the mobile Weavolution site will allow me to upload photos right now.

Posted on Fri, 06/30/2017 - 16:44

Believe me - I'm taking it *very* slow. The speed I'm developing only comes when I find a good rhythm and I only go as fast as my hands can comfortably work, otherwise I do things like drop the shuttle, and I pause when I notice that something needs to be fixed like a big ol' weft loop.

I'm only adding small new things with every project, so I can figure things out without too much of a disaster. First I worked on table looms on small things like a bit of (terrible) chair upholstery and later a rug, and I made plenty of mistakes there. Now that I have a floor loom I started with a dishtowel kit, then a single scarf, then a wide project (a pair of baby blankets for twins), and this one is new because the warp was very long. Next up will be wide and long, but tabby weave to keep things nice and simple. Each project has brought its own challenges, but my loom and I are getting to know each other very well :)


Posted on Fri, 06/30/2017 - 22:28

Selvages (even floating selvages) can have different takeup from pattern warp that does not extend to the selvage.  The most perfectly even tension can become uneven due to difference in takeup. Some weavers weight selvage threads separately - almost like supplemental warp for ease of adjustment. 

Posted on Sun, 08/27/2017 - 19:22

I am having difficulty with my selvedges on a table runner. I have floating selvedges of 5/2, and the rest is 10/2 & 5/2 overshot. I am using a LeClerc temple but I am having trouble with my selvedges on both sides turning down toward the breast beam. I have good tension not to tight and a firm even beat.

Any ideas on how I can fix this problem? Any input is greatly recommended as this is my first table runner - and a gift for my Aunt & Uncles's 50th wedding anniversary.

Posted on Sun, 08/27/2017 - 22:06

This is usually from the weft turns at the selvages being a little loose.  Try snugging up the weft at the selvages as you weave.  Or, it can be from the warp sett being too open (too low a number).  Weaving an overshot pattern with 10/2 cotton warp, I would sett it at 24 per inch in a 12 dent reed.