Weft Angle

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn


 Hi Madelyn,

Is the weft angle in each shed always the same angle?  What angle do you recommend, if there is a standard?

––Joanne Cyphers

Hi Joanne!

This is an excellent question, and, as with most everything in weaving, the answer is not straightforward. The optimum weft angle depends most on two factors: the width of the piece and the weave structure. (It could also depend on some other lesser factors like the yarn being used and any special desired effects.) What the weft angle must accomplish is to allow enough give in the yarn to make the over-and-under interlacement with the warp that the weave structure requires without pulling in the edges of the cloth once tension is released. The wider the piece, the more actual inches of "extra" weft will be required. If the piece is weft faced, more "extra" is required than if the structure is plain weave. If the structure is warp rep, almost no "extra" is required.  (There are even formulas derived by industry to figure this out relative to specific orders of weft interlacement.)

Usually, though, how to place the weft is not hard to determine. I start out with about a 30-degree angle and weave a few picks. If I see that there is too much weft (loops at the edges or slight weft loops in the cloth) I narrow the angle. If the edges draw in and/or the temple becomes difficult to insert (if I'm using one), I increase the angle. For wide and/or weft-faced pieces, an angle doesn't work so well because there is more extra weft at the exit side than at the start side. So then it's good to bubble the weft, drawing it down with a finger toward the fell at intervals to distribute the extra more evenly.

I hope this helps!


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