Compensating for Draw-In

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn



I am planning to weave a king-size bedspread in summer and winter. Due to the size of my loom it will need to be woven in three panels. The biggest conundrum that I currently have is how do I compensate for the draw-in on the edges of the individual panels? I am unsure what to do. Should I double up on the floating selvedges to create a firm edge to work against? Or should I create a slim plain-weave selvedge? The blankets that I have woven in the past are throw size and the selvedges draw-in a little bit, creating a “squished” edge. I’m afraid that this will be a distraction in the final product when I sew the panels together. The ground cloth is black and the pattern weft is a bright red. I would prefer to keep the bedspread reversible. 





Hi Tegan!


Since including a plain-weave selvedge would not make your blanket reversible, your goal is to make the unit(s) of summer and winter on each selvedge the same width as all other units. Use a temple. Make sure it is spread to the width of the cloth in the reed, insert it very carefully just inside the floating selvedge, and advance it every ¾”.  (I would never double the floating selvedge as that would create a heavier ridge on the edges.)


It might also help to slightly spread the sett of the threads on the edge, say the last six warp threads. If your sett is 20 epi and you are sleying 2/dent in a 10-dent reed, instead sley the first (and last) 2 ends 1 per dent, then sley the next four ends 1-2-1. 


Remember that the temple can do most of the work if you use it very carefully. Spend the first few inches sampling to achieve exactly the edge you want. The temple must be inserted at the very edge and advanced OFTEN, the more often the better.


When you throw the shuttle, let the unwinding bobbin pull the weft snug around the edge thread, leaving an angle across the warp of 20 to 30 degrees, and beat on a closed shed (there are other ways to insert the weft for the right amount of take-up, but this is the one that works for me). Then study your edge to see if there is a smooth turn of the weft, without pulling in and without leaving a loop. Make changes in your technique until you get it right and know you can continue of the length of the panel.


A plus with your black warp and tabby weft is that changes in density in the edge threads will show a lot less with it than would show with a warp and tabby weft of light value.



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