When to Use a Temple

Dear Madelyn,

I’ve been reading with interest over the years about the need to use a temple, seeing that some excellent weavers never weave without one.  Up until now, I have not used a temple, and, as long as I was mindful about how I placed the weft (depending on the characteristics of the project and the yarns), I have had minimal draw-in and decent selvedges.  I recently received a gift certificate from my sister for my birthday and thought, “Okay, now I should get a temple and start using it to see what all the fuss is about!”  But my inner rebel says, “You haven’t needed it up till now, why fix something that’s not (yet) broken?”

Is a temple truly necessary?


Hi, Ellen!

I’d say you don’t need one. If you don’t, it’s not only because you are paying attention to the placement of the weft, though. The need for a temple (or the benefit to using one) depends on several factors: how wide the warp, the yarn you are using, the interlacement, and warp tension.

The wider the warp, the less resilient the yarn (linen), the wider the weft floats (rugs, damask), and the higher the warp tension, the more benefit you get from a temple. If you never have broken selvedge threads, very little draw-in, and smooth selvedges, keep doing what you are doing!


Posted November 2, 2011. Updated July 26, 2017.

If you have a weaving question we would love to hear from you! Please email Madelyn! Pictured above: Summer Lace Placemats and Mug Rugs by Suzie Liles Handwoven May/June 2017. View related & recent “Ask Madelyn” posts!

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