Just When I Thought that I Understood Selvages…..

Marcy Petrini

September, 2023

For a long time, when weaving basket weave on four shafts, I use two shafts for the basket weave and I leave two shafts for the plain weave, so I don’t have to use floating selvages.

Below is the drawdown followed by the fabric. As for the floating selvages, the plain weave edges must be tensioned separately because the take-up is different. 




I carried that idea to my work when I started using more shafts, if the design would allow it. Below is a shawl with a 38-shaft plaited twill that uses two shafts for the plain weave selvage.



More recently I noted that on twills some weavers used basketweave on the selvages rather than plain weave. Regretfully I forgotten where I saw it (a past Convergence®, maybe, where all the events blend together and are blurred?) It makes sense since basket weave has the floats lacking in plain weave. I promised myself that I would try it next time I had a chance.


When I designed an advancing points twill on my 40-shaft AVL, I used 38 shafts for the pattern and 2 for the basket weave. The treadling repeat was 222 steps, so to keep things simpler, I decided to weave half a basket, one pick over two warp threads, with the next pick over the other two warp threads.

The results shown here were not stellar. Perhaps a true basket weave treadling would have been better. Or since there is so much plain weave in the background of the motif, plain weave edges would have worked just fine.


At the usual viewing distance, the edges of the scarf don’t look too bad, and I will certainly wear the scarf. I love the way the motif goes off the fabric on one side only to pick up on the other side.



The scarf is actually a sample. When sampling I like to have at least two repeats of the threading and of the treadling. With a beat of 24 epi, two treadling repeats of the motif weave 18 – 20”. I figured I may as well make a scarf!

Next, it’s a shawl. The pattern and the edges will be tweaked and hopefully I will have splendid selvages. Stay tuned.

Happy weaving!