How to Keep Your Sides Straight While Weaving

How to Keep Your Sides Straight While Weaving

Do you have a hard time keeping the sides of your woven wall hanging straight while weaving? 

Keeping your sides (also known as selvedges) even while weaving is a frustrating thing to deal with. It’s something I struggled with before learning these easy techniques. 

Weaving is a repetitive motion where each woven line of yarn builds on the next one. 

When your warp threads are pulled too tightly the woven rows start bowing inwards. Each row after can continue to bow inwards as the weaving builds on the row before it. This creates a curved edge to your woven wall hanging or project. 

It's extra frustrating if you don’t notice it right away and now you’ve got rows and rows of curved warp threads. 

But don’t lose hope! There are some really simple steps you can follow that will help you keep your edges from bowing in.

How to weave without pulling your warp threads

Weave at a diagonal

Start by weaving horizontally across your loom with your shuttle or needle. Then gently pull the yarn upwards at a diagonal instead of straight across the loom.



Hold onto the yarn

While you pull the yarn in a diagonal gently grasp or pinch the edge of the yarn with one hand while gently pulling on your yarn with the other hand. Key word here: gently! 

Holding onto the far edge of the yarn should stop you from immediately pulling the yarn too tightly and bowing in the outermost warp threads. 

If you pull too hard no matter what technique you use, your warp threads will bow and there go your wonky edges.

Don’t leave the extra loop there, it's just part of the process to make you more aware of your weft thread. Gently (there's the word again) pull the yarn the rest of the way through the warp threads making sure that your outermost warp thread from the direction that you started in is not pulled inward (see my farthest left warp thread below).



Create an arch

After the weft is all the way through the warp, pull the end of the yarn down, your goal is to create a half moon or arch shape on the loom.



Bubble your arch

After you make your half moon or arch shape starting at the middle of the half moon gently push down at regular intervals creating “bubbles” in your weft yarn.



Press down the yarn

Once your bubbles are made use your hands or weaving comb to finish pushing down all of the yarn. (This technique is appropriately known as “bubbling”).

Push the yarn down in the direction you wove it across the loom (in this case left to right).

Pressing the yarn down in stages helps distribute the yarn evenly across the warp threads without causing the threads to pull inwards.



Get comfortable

You want to make sure you leave plenty of weft yarn through the warp threads, the yarn should lay there comfortably.  

This is what you want it to look like when you're done.



Straight selvedges

Notice how none of the warp threads are being pulled inwards? The weft yarn is evenly distributed across the loom and ready for the next row.

Weaving in intervals

You can also try weaving in intervals. This is helpful if you're having trouble with weaving all the way across the loom or if you're creating a shape or smaller section.

Start by weaving across the section of warp threads you want to use. 


Create a small arch.  Depending on the size of the section you may not need to bubble, the small arch may be able to act as the only bubble. Do what works best for you!



Press down on the yarn making sure none of the warp threads are being pulled awkwardly.



Continue this across the rest of the section you're weaving until you're done. This should help you keep your warp threads from bowing in and creating weird gaps in your woven wall hanging.


If the yarn is too tight the outermost warp thread will be bowed in. If the yarn is too loose there will be a large loop of yarn hanging off the outermost warp thread. 

If either of those things happen, just pull the yarn back upwards into a diagonal again and adjust the yarn before starting the arch and bubbling process over.

Either loosen the yarn across the warp threads so the warp doesn't bow inwards if its too tight, or if its too loose pull the yarn a bit more firmly.

Practice until you get the hang of it

It takes a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it weaving like this comes naturally.

Weaving is a slow craft. Sometimes you need to slow down a little bit more to keep an eye on your selvedges. Once you do that the whole process goes more smoothly!




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