Ask Madelyn: How To Sley Floating Selvedges

Hi Madelyn,

Sunny Towel Set

Sunny Towel Set by Margaretha Essen-Hedin

I have just delved into the May/June 1989 issue of Handwoven that my Aunt Liz passed down to me when I started weaving a few years back. I have decided to get out of my plain-weave rut and try to do the waffle weave “Sunny Towel Set” by Margaretha Essen-Hedin on page 47.

The draft calls for five shafts (in the Instruction Supplement on page 78). I have primarily used just four shafts on my 8-shaft Harrisville loom, but I am gradually getting into more complicated setups. This pattern calls for 561 warp threads at 24 epi, so 2 per dent in a 12-dent reed.

My question is simple. I have an odd number of threads, so my last dent will have only one thread on one side. Won’t this put extra stress on that thread?  Should I add floating selvedges?


Hi Grace!

I love the Sunny Towel Set! For those who might not have that issue of Handwoven, this project also appears in the Best of Handwoven’s Top Ten Towels on Eight Shafts eBook and in the Waffle-Weave eBook.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about that single thread in the last dent. It will function just the way it would if there were two threads there. The only issue is to be sure the weft doesn’t draw in on the edges; leave enough weft slack in each shed (I usually place the weft at an angle of about 30 degrees) so that the weft can make its path over and under warp threads without pulling the edges in.

towel draftYou don’t need floating selvedges (though it wouldn’t hurt anything to add them). With the tie-up and treadling given, the edge warp thread on shaft 5 is up for 2 picks in a row, which will mean the weft thread turns around the edge threads on shaft 4 instead of shaft 5 for 2 picks out of every 6. That won’t really be a problem with the waffle-weave texture.

You’ll love the towels as well as other projects you can weave on your 8-shaft loom.


If you have a weaving question please email Madelyn! Featured Image: Summer Lace Placemats and Mug Rugs by Suzie Liles Handwoven May/June 2017. View related & recent “Ask Madelyn” posts! Updated 8/10/17.

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