Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Talking about Selvedges

I'm going to tie up the rest of this warp on Friday and weave it off. I plan to follow Madelyn's advice from the January/February 2008 issue of Handwoven. I would recommend you find the article and read it in full, but the things that struck a chord with me are the following. If you don't weave, the rest of this post probably won't be of interest - just an fyi.

Warp Tension: Tie the warp onto the front apron rod in small (1/2") groups at the same width as the warp in the reed. Large groups create draw-in and differences in warp tension. Make sure tension is even on all the groups. If it is not, the fell will not be straight and the selvedges affected.

Weft Angle: A weft angle steep enough to accommodate take-up in weft-faced weaves would place more extra weft at one side where the shuttle exits. Close the shed before beating to avoid pulling weft straight as you beat. (She shows close to a 45 degree angle in the photo.)

Pull of the Weft: So that the only drag on the thread is the rotating bobbin, the thread must be wound evenly, smoothly, and tightly on the bobbin. The "tightly" part is critical. If the bobbin is wound loosely, as you throw the shuttle the unwinding thread will sink into the loose threads, stop the bobbin, and yank on the selvedge.

Do not start by winding a lump at the ends of bobbins with flanges. Smooth and straight is your goal. The unwinding thread will catch on any lumps, stop the bobbin and yank on the edge threads. When the bobbin is full to the edge of the flanges, continue winding only in the center, without overfilling.

I've extracted just a portion of the two page article. I has excellent illustratory photographs and is the the most helpful treatement on selvedges I've read - recommended reading.

I also found a 2007 blog post from Peg where she offers this advice:

First, to have a consistent amount of draw-in, the warp has to be moved forward frequently, probably every 1-2 inches. Consistent draw-in is very important for consistent beating. Consistent draw-in may not guarantee even beating throughout the cloth, but it will definitely help.

Second, a decision has to be made as to where to maintain the fell. Close to the front beam? Halfway between the front beam and the shafts? Close to the shafts? I tend to keep the fell close to the front bean. Doing this allows me to beat in more weft yarn and to beat more closely. As the warp threads on the edges get closer together because of draw-in, it becomes more difficult to beat as closely as I want to. That is the main reason that I often use a temple.

You can read the complete post here - more recommended. Thank you all for your suggestions and advice. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I would not be weaving were it not for all of you in the virtual weaving community.


Laura said...

I'm glad you decided to weave the rest of the warp off. It's really nice, and I think you've learned from the first one. The hints you listed are good ones, particularly tying the warp on in small bundles. I usually use 1" chunks because that's how I have my reed marked off and that works for me.

Another trick - when you have the warp retied and tensioned, take some fat, fluffy roving (3+ times the width of your warp) and WITHOUT BEATING BETWEEN SHEDS, make 3 passes. Then, and only then, do you beat. This will help enormously to even out little discrepancies. I usually do this twice...

At least you're weaving - my loom is still an upright storage implement...

bspinner said...

Great advice. Guess I'll have to dig out my old Handwoven and read the complete article. I'm glad you've decided to weave the rest of warp off.

Sue said...

I'm thinking a lot about selvedges and draw-in today too! I just started weaving a long (for me) warp that will be 5 or 6 towels. Last time I did something like this, by the end my tension was very uneven and it was a pain.

Did you just cut the towel off, and then re-tie as if it was a brand new warp? So if I get halfway through my warp and it's starting to get all uneven, I could just take scissors to it and start again? Just the thought of that is freeing!

I'll have to find that issue of Handwoven! Thanks for posting about this!!


Leigh said...

Excellent tips Sharon, thanks for taking the time to summarize them. Very helpful to all of us.