Too Late to Use a Temple?

I am weaving a twill scarf using JaggerSpun’s 24/2 Superlamb. I am experiencing a higher than usual degree of draw-in, and the floating selvedges are breaking. The piece is so narrow that I didn’t think I’d need to use a temple. If I get one that is the right size, won’t using it change the width (I am about a third of the way into the scarf)? Is there anything else I can do?


Hi Judith!

The weaving widths of scarves are usually anywhere from 6–10”. Usually, fabric that narrow doesn’t require using a temple. Temples that narrow also don’t have quite the right leverage to do a really good job. And, as you are wondering, if you did start using one now, it might be tricky to get selvedges and woven width to look just like the part you’ve already done. I would work first on allowing more weft slack in the shed (a steeper angle as you turn). You should be able to turn the weft smoothly at the selvedge yet have enough extra length in it so that when it is pressed to the fell it doesn’t pull in on the selvedge. If you do this for an inch or two and discover that it now looks too different from what you have already woven, I would recommend (as painful as this might be) either abandoning what you have done and starting over, or (if you don’t have enough warp length for that) cutting out the weft you have already put in.

To go back a great length (really, any more than a half inch of weaving), I never unweave, but instead cut the weft out. I use a small pair of sharp scissors and cut the weft just inside each selvedge. Then I flip out the weft lengths using a blunt tapestry needle at the center of the warp and afterward fluff off (gently) the bits of weft still around the selvedges. You’d have quite a long process doing this if you have woven 20 inches or so, but it will be worth it if that is what you have to do to get a consistent selvedge in the scarf. (I always remind myself that I’ll never remember having had to take something out when I’m wearing the perfect scarf. But I’ll never forget that it isn’t right if I don’t.)

24/2 wool is a very fine yarn. With a little bit of draw-in, the reed can abrade the threads at the edge. To minimize the potential for breakage, in addition to allowing more weft slack, advance the warp very very very often to keep the heddles and reed from rubbing on the same area of the warp threads.

And then, if the floating selvedge breaks a time or two, live with it. This might be a good situation in which to add the floating selvedge after the scarf warp is beamed instead of beaming it with the rest of the warp. Weight it, and let a long length of it hang from the back beam. That way, when it breaks, you can just pull the broken end forward, wind it around a pin, and continue.


Posted December 16, 2015. Updated July 31, 2017.

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