Comparing selvedges

As I posted while ago, the one thing I wasn’t happy with in my turned summer and winter experiments was the selvedges. I’m not brilliant at selvedges, which is one reason I like wool so much: it is a very forgiving yarn! But alpaca is not, and I do seem to be making a habit of weaving with alpaca… so before warping up with it again, I thought I would compare a couple of alternatives on the leftover bit of cotton warp I happen to have sitting on a loom.

In fact, my freeform samples on the cotton warp had rather ropey edges too: the process of changing the shed several times for a single pick means that the yarn has less freedom of movement when you are beating, and I think that is a contributing factor.

My immediate thought was to add double weave selvedges, like this:

(I have left out the patterned area to focus on the edges.)

But thinking about double woven selvedges reminded me of an article we published in the Journal for WS&D a number of years ago, in which Satu Hovi described how she wove a Viking-style cloak using an adaptation of their tubular selvedge method. Why not try that too?

Satu’s adaptation was for a twill cloth woven on a four-shaft loom, but I had four spare shafts to use so I set mine up like this:

Essentially you are weaving a plain weave cloth in one direction only, and on the return trip folding that cloth over to make a tube at the edge of the fabric.

Here are the three different edges after finishing. From the top: no special edge, double woven edge, Viking tubular edge.

The straightforward double weave is certainly the most regular, isn’t it?

The tubular edge wasn’t bad, but tended to be lumpy on the same side as my ordinary selvedge. It was slightly alarming to beat, as the weft wasn’t really happy until it had done its U-turn and headed back into the cloth. On the whole though, I think it is an improvement on the plain edge and I daresay I would get better with practice.

Another option would be to go for an extra-dense sett at the selvedge, but I must admit to not getting on very well with that approach… and with the fuzzy nature of the alpaca, I am already conjuring vivid images of future struggles.

However, this was cotton, so the alpaca remains to be experimented upon. I think double weave to start.

Comparing selvedges” was posted by Cally on 14 Oct 2017 at

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Weaving Space website

I’ve made a new website! I wanted to give my teaching practice its own space and blog, so all my classes and a few other goodies can now be found at

And the Warp Space blog is where I will be writing posts with a more practical focus aimed at fairly new weavers, starting with a series on reading and understanding drafts.

If that sounds like your kind of place, I hope to see you there! Meanwhile, loom-based blether will continue over here.

Weaving Space website” was posted by Cally on 13 Oct 2017 at

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ETN: Crossover Borås – Impressions

One of the things I appreciated most about the ETN conference was the opportunity to see so many exhibits. We were based in the Textile Fashion Center, a fairly new facility which includes the university’s textile faculty and a museum of textiles (among other things), so there was a great deal to look at without ever stepping out of doors. I really enjoyed Everyday Matters, a  juried exhibition by Nordic Textile Art, which considered questions of textile and value – a theme that came up several times throughout the event, but with more questions than answers. Wherever we went people were generous in allowing us to take photographs, which was great: if I didn’t have the images to remind me, I would have been too overwhelmed to hold on to any impressions at all!

Some of my favourite pieces from Everyday Matters (mouse-over for captions or click an image to enlarge; links to artists’ websites are at the end of the post)

The Finnish organisation TEXO has been celebrating its sixtieth anniversary with an exhibition called Narrative Thread which we saw at the Rydals Museum. In the rush of being herded back onto the bus I clean forgot my intention to buy a copy of the catalogue on the way out. However, I have tracked down an online version here.

Some of my favourite pieces from Narrative Thread

Other pieces I especially liked were Merja Keskinen’s Transparent Colors weavings (is it surprising I failed to photograph them effectively??) and Heijastus by Ulla-Maija Vikman (who had another piece of the same construction in Everyday Matters and I couldn’t catch either of them accurately). You’ll just have to look them up in the catalogue.

One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the Nordic Award in Textiles. This has been awarded annually for a few years, and the 2017 winner was Grethe Sørensen, a weaver from Denmark. We had the opportunity to see her astonishing solo exhibition at the Abecita Art Gallery. Below is my partial photo of ‘Rush Hour 5’ – visit Grethe’s website to see proper pictures. And you can read the jury’s statement about her work here.

The gallery used an adjoining room to show an accompanying exhibit of one piece by each of the previous winners, which was a great way of putting the award into context for those of us who didn’t know much about it.

Not an exhibition – but just as good! – was our visit to the studio of Kerstin Åsling-Sundberg when we were on a tour of Gothenburg’s Konstepidimin, an artists’ studio complex in a former fever hospital. The weavers in our little group all sighed with pleasure when we walked in and saw her loom surrounded by these lovely pieces. Kerstin has retired from teaching at the art college and this is her stash-busting project. There is a lovely profile of her here. It is in Swedish, but I found Google translate didn’t make too much of a mess of it.

Some artists’ links

Deepa Panchamia

Elisabeth Brenner Remberg

Elina Helenius

Grethe Sørensen

Helga Palina Brynjolfsdóttir

Janna Syvänoja

Kari Hjertholm




ETN: Crossover Borås – there and back again

Since I last posted it has been my turn to go a-travelling. I’ve been a member of ETN (European Textile Network) for a few years now, but had never managed to attend the biennial conference. This year I finally decided it was time to do it – after all, who knows how easy it will or won’t be to travel to the next one – and as the plans took shape, they also got increasingly elaborate. S & I ended up making a one-thousand-mile road trip from Dundee to Borås (with the assistance of the Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry over the parts where there are no roads).

The outward journey was lengthened due to bad weather – in fact, from the lack of progress across the sea, I would have sworn we were going backwards – but these ferries are so large and stable that we hardly noticed the high winds. We *did* notice that we had to drive through the night to make up for lost time, but by day two we had caught up with ourselves and managed to cross the Øresund Bridge in appropriately Scandi-noir rain. Thereafter, alas, the sun shone on us for a week. We just had to grin and bear it.

I’ll need to organise my thoughts about the Crossover conference. There were two days of talks, giving me much to ponder on, and in addition I reckon I saw thirteen exhibitions across seven museums and galleries (not to mention two, or was it three, pop-up exhibits), visited three factories, two art schools and a complex of artists’ studios. So while I mentally process that little lot, you’ll have to make do with (mainly) photos of the sea.



When we planned our itinerary, I was a wee bit disappointed that I wouldn’t also be able to visit Väv in Växjö, which started last Thursday just as we were getting back on the ferry. As it turned out, Crossover was plenty for me, and by the time we were done I really, really didn’t want any more input!

ETN: Crossover Borås – there and back again” was posted by Cally on 23 Sept 2017 at

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