Rabbit Ridge Designs Yarn



Floating selvedges or not?

A floating selvedge is a tool to use to help catch the edge threads with every pick thrown. It can be useful in structures that do not interlace equally at the selvedges, such as twills. To create a floating selvedge, you simply thread an extra, matching warp thread at either side of the warp, through it's own dent in the reed, but refrain from threading it in a heddle. When the warp is at rest on a jack action loom, the two floating selvedge threads will float above the warp. When a shed is opened, they will float in the center of the shed. On a CM (Countermarche) loom, the threads will rest in the same place as the warp, but when the shed is opened, the floating selvedges will once again be in the center of the shed opening. To use them, make a habit of always going over the floating selvedge when entering the shed, and always exiting under it.......that way no matter which side of the web you are working on, your selvedge threads will catch evenly.

One other use for a floating selvedge is on fragile warps, such as a singles or very loosely spun wool like Jagger Spuns' Superfine Merino, which can not stand the weight or tension of a temple......a floating selvedge made of monofilament, or fishing line, spaced about three dents over from the outermost thread, will help maintain a perfectly even selvedge throughout the piece.

Do you really need a floating selvedge? No!

Here is a method in which one does not need to add floating selvedges:

In weaving a Twill, 2/2 or whatever, on a 4 harness loom, use:

  • Thread left side on an even shaft, 2 or 4.
  • Thread right side on an odd shaft, 1 or 3.
This catches the selvedges on both sides. This is the way it's threaded even if it's out of the pattern sequence. No floaters to fuss with, no wasted thread.

For a 8 harness loom, use:

  • Left side ends on an even numbered shaft. (2, 4, 6, 8)
  • Right side ends on an odd numbered shaft (1, 3, 5, 7)

So let's do a little 2/2 twill threading on a four shaft loom here:

1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4

Ok, this is the way it would be if threaded straight across, yes? You're looking at the loom from the front, the 1 is on the left, the 4 is on the right. But this should leave a dropped (not caught) warp thread, most likely the 1 on the left. (Assuming you start throwing the shuttle from the right.)

So to fix it so that doesn't happen, thread like this:

4, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1

The main thing about it is to have that last warp thread out of sequence.