In answer to a question raised on the JST Online Guild Forum ……..
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 use them when I have to. Sometimes we do need them in our lives to keep our selvedges on the straight and narrow…haha! SO I probably wasn’t thinking about all the different weave structures that need selvedge treatment when I blurted that out. I think the point I was trying to make was that you absolutely don’t need a floating selvedge on Plain Weave and there were 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 where you have 2 picks in the same shed. 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 whatever thingme I have hanging around that I have 2 of…., so they are equal on both sides.
Some 4 shaft weave structures allow us to thread vertical plain weave sections into our warp….like the laced weaves. With those, we don’t need a floating selvedge if we’ve got plain weave threaded at the selvedge. Even pure M’s & O’s can have plain weave threaded into the warp which really cleans up the scallops on that structure.
Supplementary weft structures like Monk’s Belt, Overshot, Crackle and Summer & Winter have alternating picks of plain weave between each pattern pick. But, with those, I do use a floating selvedge just because you could then have longer pattern floats at the selvedge and the floating selvedge helps clean up the edge.
I think the best way to look at this topic is simply this….. there are 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. Sometimes you need em, sometimes you don’t.