Every new weaver learns about floating selvedges. In case of any doubts, here’s where the shuttle goes and why it works. Upcoming posts will have more in-depth selvedge “talk”.
There will be one extra thread on each side of the warp for the floating selvedges. I sometimes add these two extra threads, and other times I just use the outside threads on the existing warp. (I make new threads if using the two already in the warp will spoil the design at the edge.) Floating selvedges are commonly used when the outside warp thread doesn’t weave into the cloth, or when it isn’t caught often enough because of the structure of the weave.
These floating selvedges give a warp thread for the weft to go around on every shed, so there is never a thread left dangling out of the cloth at the edge.
These floating threads move neither up nor down when the sheds are made but stay in the middle of the sheds.
If you are using threads from your existing warp and the warp has already been threaded, remove the two outside warp threads from their heddles and replace them in the reed. If you are using separately made threads, take them through the castle but not through any heddles and put them in the outside dents of the reed as shown in the previous photo. Tie them on to the cloth apron rod as usual. (How to tension threads made separately follows in the next post.)
I never use floating selvedges unless they are needed because it slows down the weaving a bit. Twills that only weave in one direction do not need them. Only twills that change directions need them, such as herringbone. Use a floating selvedge when two shuttles are used so you don’t have to worry about the rotation of the shuttles to catch the outside thread.
How to enter the shed:
There is a certain way for the shuttle to enter and exit the sheds to make the wefts always catch the outside warp threads. Here is what I do.
Enter the shuttle into the shed over the floating thread and exit the shuttle under it. It’s easy to push the warp end down with the nose of the shuttle when entering the shed.
How to exit the shed:
The shuttle naturally leaves the shed at the opposite side going under the floating selvedge. There are many ways you can enter and exit the sheds to make the floaters do their job; you just need to do it the same way all the time. I prefer the method here because it’s easy and works naturally with the way the shuttle enters and exits the sheds. Next: Adjusting and tensioning floating selvedges.