Turning a Sample into an Actual Piece


Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn

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Hi Madelyn!

I have just woven a sample on the loom and am satisfied that the threading is correct, so now I’m ready to start my actual piece. I want it to have fringe with hemstitching. What is the best way to allow for the fringe and start my new piece?


Hi Ann!

There are several ways to do this and none is necessarily right or wrong. What I usually do is allow the unwoven warp length after the sample (advancing the warp to do this)) and then weave a few picks of the new piece. The first few picks will be a bit askew but the fourth and fifth picks, say, can be beaten in firmly at the desired picks per inch of the final piece. I then hemstitch over those two picks and continue weaving. I hemstitch at the final end and remove the piece from the loom. I then remove those first two or three loosely-spaced picks that I wove before the hemstitching.

I almost always do the beginning hemstitching of any piece this way, that is: weave until the warp is spread and the weft achieves the desired picks per inch and appearance, and then I hemstitch over the last two picks, later removing whatever I wove before the hemstitching. It is much easier to hemstitch over picks at the fell of the cloth than it is to try to hemstitch over the first few picks you make.

Some weavers use spacers for the fringe area to provide something firm to beat against, but those first picks against the spacer are hard to hemstitch over, so I’ve found it easier to omit the spacers and just sacrifice those first few loosely spaced picks.


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