Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Such a fuss about selvedges at times.
What I've found over the years is that there is no one thing that will guarantee good selvedges.
First of all, the warp must be evenly wound onto the beam with good tension. If it isn't, selvedges are likely to be terrible. The warp must be well packed too. A cigar shaped warp will mean poor selvedges. I use bamboo blinds between layers of the warp on the small loom. On the big loom with the sectional beam, each section is wound under tight tension so that threads cannot cut down into lower layers.
A good rule of thumb is that the warp should have equal to or slightly greater tension as it is being beamed as will be applied during weaving. It can be a little less, but any slack left in the warp as it is beamed may show up in the woven cloth in the form of uneven fell line, uneven beating, excessive draw in or poor selvedges.
The weaver must then throw and catch the shuttle well, leaving a good angle on the weft and not trapping the weft into the opposite selvedge with too little slack on it to allow it to seat properly into the cloth.
Watch my videos (click on video clip label below) for hints and tips on how to hold, throw and catch the shuttle.
Adding a plain weave selvedge to a weave structure with much fewer interlacements will make a smily fell line - unequal build up of the cloth at the selvedge. This will result in bad selvedges.
A floating selvedge is not necessary when weaving an ordinary fabric. A float length of 2 or 3 picks at a set of 24 epi/ppi is not going to result in a poor selvedge.
Picking at the selvedge will just elongate the yarns, resulting in worse and worse results. Don't touch them (unless the weft gets jammed, as with the pesky linen, and then don't pluck the warp threads but open the shed releasing the trapped weft as I showed in a previous post).
Keep your hands out of the shed. Shoving your hand and arm into the shed at regular intervals will elongate the threads causing uneven tension - and poor selvedges.
Currently reading What Remains of Heaven by C. S. Harris

1 comment:

Sandra Rude said...

" Keep your hands out of the shed. "

Amen! If you can't keep your hands out of the shed, you ought to be using an end-delivery shuttle, which avoids the need to fiddle with the selvedges. I just wove 550 picks in an hour, not with the fly shuttle but with an end-delivery hand shuttle. The selvedges, which I never touched, are perfect. It really does work.