Avoiding Floating Selvages!

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    • #43664

        I am a new weaver and a new member of this group!  I am looking forward to having an opportunity to learn from fellow weavers.

        My first question is about floating selvages — Jane said she only uses them for basketweave and twills. Peggy Osterman wrote in her wonderful book, that any structure can be modified to eliminate floating selvages by adding a PW on extra shafts. I’ve tried to apply her instructions and other suggestions I’ve found by searching online blogs. None of them have worked. I’m still in the planning stages for a Summer & Winter project and working on “Weaveit” software.

        What am I missing? Help!

      • #43746

        I am not sure why I would want to avoid floating selvedges.  It is good to know how to use them.  Sometimes they make life so much simpler.  Two ways of avoiding selvedges are:

        • as Ms Osterman suggests is to add 4 to 6 ends on either side of your fabric in plain weave.  The threading for this may vary depending on the structure you are using.  This results in a plain weave border on each side of the fabric which may react differently to the rest of the structure.
        • sometime, if you start the shuttle from the other side, the weft will caught all the edge threads, if you are lucky.  If you change your treadling the problem may occur again.

        Do not be afraid to try floating selvedges.  They are helpful.

        Hope this helps.


      • #43951

          Hi Kids,

          Sorry I haven’t answered sooner.  I hope I didn’t actually say….’avoid floating selvedges’.  I personally don’t like floating selvedges because they slow me down so I only used them when I have to.   Sometimes we do need them in our lives to keep our selvedges on the straight and narrow.  ha ha.  SO I probably wasn’t thinking about all the different weave structures that need selvedge treatment when I blurted that out….I was only thinking about simple weaves like plain weave and twills.  I think the point I was trying to make was that you absolutely don’t need a floating selvedge on plain weave and there are some beginner weavers in my life who were doing that.  I want to encourage all new weavers to develop control over their selvedges and if we can ace this on plain weave we are well set for further adventures.  So plain weave doesn’t need it, but twills on 4 shafts do.  Other weave structures that pop into my mind are basket weave and canvas weave. Sometimes we start a plain weave project and we decide to throw in a little bit of twill for a border or something like that…then you will need a floating selvedge especially if you are reversing your twill directions a lot.  In this case I just cut off my first and last heddle and I have an instant floating selvedge. I weight those ends with an S hook and what ever thingme I have hanging around that I have 2 of….so they are equal on both sides.

          What Peggy Osterkamp is referring to when she says you can just PW on extra shafts is just that….you need 2 separate shafts that you thread your plain weave on and add them to your tieup.  However, you can’t do this on a 4 shaft loom.  If you wanted to add them to a twill you would need 6 shafts….4 for your twill and 2 just for your plain weave.  Same with summer and winter.  We can reserve shafts for extra ground fabric with S&W but again you need more than 4 shafts.

          On 4 shaft S&W I don’t use a floating selvedge because every other pick is a tabby pick and I dive my dip and jump my bump as I demonstrate on the Online Guild….I have never had a problem.  However I never look for a problem I just go for it and then solve problems when they arise.

          I think that the best way to look at this topic is simply this…..there a a million different weave structures out there and they all have different requirements in regards to many things.  We can’t treat the selvedge the same way with every weave structure.  Somtimes you need em, sometimes you don’t 🙂

          Hope this helps




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