Keeping Fine Weft Threads From Becoming Distorted

Hi Madelyn!

I tend to beam my warp under tight tension, and I like to weave that way, too. Recently, as I have been working with finer threads, I am finding my weft gets distorted, becoming like waves as I advance the warp and the fabric rolls over the breast beam. Sometimes the threads straighten out with wet finishing, but often they do not. What can I do to prevent this? Thanks!


Hi Sally!

I’m assuming what you mean is that the weft threads get pushed out of place by the edge of the breast beam as you advance the warp and add tension (that it’s the edge or surface of the breast beam that is distorting the threads). This probably also means that the threads you are using are somewhat slippery (like silk or fine mercerized cottons) and the warp sett not extremely close so that the threads have room to move.

I did have this happen once when I was weaving a huck-lace shawl in 60/2 silk. I could see that the weft threads caught irregularly on the edge of the breast beam as I tightened the tension after advancing the warp. My solution was to protect the threads with a piece of green felt. When I was ready to advance the warp, I released the tension, placed the felt under the just-woven cloth, moved the warp forward, and tightened the tension. The felt kept the threads from moving out of place as they passed over the breast beam. Each time I’d advance, I’d release the tension and move the felt up so that the newly woven cloth rested on it as it crossed the beam. I’m not sure where I got the felt, but I bet a craft store would have something like it. It needs to be flexible, but not as flimsy as flannel (though you could try that, too).


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