From time to time people ask which way of beating is the correct way.
Well, the 'correct' way is the way that gets you the results you desire. :}
That said, I have worked out a weaving rhythm that entails beating on a closing shed. I think this video clip shows what I mean the best: http://laurasloom.blogspot.com/2009/07/wider-weaving.html
By the time the beater hits the fell, the shed is pretty much closed and the beater is pushed back on the new open shed. This helps to clear out any stray threads that don't open properly.
This is my default method of beating, the one I use when nothing special needs to be accomplished, just needing to eat up the inches and yards as efficiently as possible.
However, there are qualities of cloth where this approach doesn't give me the results I desire and I need to adapt - control, if you will - how the picks are set into the fell line.
Here are two examples when I need to change how I beat:
A very open cloth. The picks do not get beaten in as much as they are pushed into place. There is a point in the laying in where there is a 'catch' in how smoothly the pick is being pushed. At this point the weaver has to decide how much further the pick needs to be pushed in order to achieve the openness required. Then the weaver must remember the degree of force and apply it consistently to the rest of the cloth.
A very dense cloth. The picks in a dense cloth need to get pounded into place. This may require one or more adaptations. For rugs, weavers sometimes add mass to their beater by attaching weights to it. Sometimes a double (or more) beat is required. Adding extra beats to a closed shed will help prevent the weft from popping out and away from the fell line. In some cases I've heard of situations where two weavers will sit at the loom to add the necessary force.
And all sorts of combinations in between the above two extremes.
Needless to say, any deviation from my default beat means that I have to go more slowly. But sometimes it is necessary to go more slowly in order to achieve the quality of cloth being attempted. In all cases, no matter how one beats, being consistent will result in better quality than not being consistent.
Remember if you can't be perfect, be consistent.
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Currently reading From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris