Tuesday, June 7, 2022


 The bugaboo of so many weavers - their selvedges.

2:2 twill

16 shaft 1:3-3:1 twill

16 shaft fancy twill

New weavers will often times get tangled up in the fact that their selvedges are not 'perfect'.  They hear that there *must* be a plain weave interlacement at the selvedge or it's 'wrong'.  Or that there cannot be any draw in.  Or you have to pluck your selvedges (and then wonder why the selvedges break).  Or you can't possibly get good selvedges if you don't have a floating selvedge.  Or use a temple.  Etc.

Sometimes people will ask on a group how to get 'perfect' selvedges.

Sometimes I'd like to just point them to the thousands of words I have already written on the subject.  Because just like with everything about weaving, the reason why selvedges are 'bad' depends.

There are multiple reasons for selvedges to be 'bad'.  And new weavers who don't understand this want a magic potion solution.  There isn't one.

Getting 'good' selvedges doesn't depend on one answer because there are multiple causes.

Sometimes it's the yarn.  An elastic yarn will behave very differently from an inelastic one.  What process does the person use?  How consistent are they in applying it?  Do they understand the role of tension in warp preparation?  Or in the weaving of their cloth?

So if they don't give an example of how their selvedges are 'wrong' there isn't much I can say other than play 20 questions with them.  Or point them to my previous writing.  Or my bookOr my on line classes.

So, to new weavers who are having issues with 'bad' selvedges?  Pay attention to what you are doing.  Then, one by one, try different solutions.  Perhaps the warp was beamed with too little tension.  Or you are weaving with too little tension on the warp.  Or too much.  Or too much draw in.  Or not enough.

Or, or, or...the list does go on.

Sometimes the solution to 'bad' selvedges is in dressing the loom in the first place.  So it doesn't matter what you do while you are weaving.  You have to FIX THE PROBLEM THAT IS CAUSING THE ISSUE in order to get different results.  Applying 'bandaid' solutions won't always work because the problem happened before you started throwing the shuttle.  Sometimes it is the throwing of the shuttle.  And on and on.

If you don't want to pay someone for their expertise there are plenty of weavers who have written extensively about this issue - because it keeps being a problem.  I've linked some of my blog posts on selvedges in the first sentence of this post.  You can read what I've written here for free.

But each person must do the work of figuring out what is happening, then changing what they are doing to solve the problem.

A lot like life, honestly.

(Other 'experts' you might like to pay attention to:  Jane Stafford, Janet Dawson, Jette van der Meiden - spelling may not be correct, sorry), Peggy Ostercamp.  Each of us has unique experiences and may have different solutions to try.  Because we weave different things and have different perspectives.  Above all keep trying.)

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