A Fickle Selvedge

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn


Dear Madelyn,

 I am weaving the deflected doubleweave scarf on page 68 of the January/February 2007 issue. I am not quite sure why the right selvedge is somewhat messy while the other selvedge is very neat. I am pretty sure it has to do with carrying the yarn. You say to take the black weft "around" the resting white. Do I go under or over the white? And do I do the same thing with white over/under the resting black? I've woven quite a lot and don't know whether I should take it out.

 —Kathy Hogan

Hi Kathy!

In this scarf, a black weft and a white weft each weave 4 picks alternately. You wouldn't want to end off and start a new weft every 4 picks, so it's better just to carry the inactive weft up the selvedge until it's used again. If you just used each weft as needed, there would be loops on the selvedge. I treated the inactive weft as if it were a floating selvedge (encircled it along with the floating selvedge) and always went around it with the active weft (it wouldn't really matter if you went under it and back into the shed over it or vice versa; I just included it with the floating selvedge). On the loom I used, I could loop the inactive weft over the upright side board that the beater is attached to so that the thread sort of stayed in the same position as the floating selvedge.

That edge will still look a little less neat than the other edge; you could even up the appearance of the edges by carrying one weft up one side, the other one up the other side.

Try it, and if you like it, I'd say take out what you've woven and start over. You'll forget you ever did that later, but you'll never forget it if you leave it in.


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