Ask Madelyn: To Unweave or Not to Unweave
I am weaving a silk scarf in huck lace (it’s actually a project from the new eBook Best of Handwoven: Weaving with Silk). I was advancing the warp and noticed that about four inches back I had made a serious treadling error. The thought of unweaving and reweaving all of those picks is daunting! Might I be able to reweave the picks (with a needle) off the loom, or is there something else I should do?
If I discover an error more than a few picks back, I usually cut out the weft threads rather than unweave them. Unweaving and reweaving means that the warp threads are stressed by heddles and beater in the same area two additional times (in addition to the stress of weaving the picks in the first place).
To cut out the weft threads, I use small, sharp embroidery scissors. I spread the warp threads apart with my fingers right above the fell a few ends in from one selvedge, and with the scissors, cut down as many weft rows as I can safely (without cutting warp threads). Then I do the same thing at the other selvedge. Releasing the tension on the warp a bit, I use the point of a blunt tapestry needle at the center of the warp to flick the cut weft threads out of the cloth (they come out really easily). When they are all out, I spread the threads at each selvedge to drop out the bits of weft beyond the cuts. It takes very little time to do this, especially compared to unweaving, and the edge warp threads are not stressed by any yanking of the weft against them. In minutes, my error becomes a dim memory. Even four inches will not take very long.
I almost never decide to reweave picks after something is removed from the loom. While this can sometimes be done (if only a pick or two are in the wrong shed), it is tricky and almost always the result is imperfect.
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