What is a Floating Selvedge

Dear Tabby,

I’ve heard of a floating selvedge but I don’t know when and how to use it? Your help is appreciated.


June in Jefferson City


Dear June,

A floating selvedge is an extra warp thread on either side of the weaving. It is wound on just like a regular warp thread, but is not threaded through a heddle. Therefore, it floats at the edge of the weaving. To weave, you place the shuttle over the floating selvedge when you enter the shed and under it when you exit. This will feel awkward at first but after a few inches, it will feel automatic. I like to add extra weight to my floating selvedges, which keeps them taut and floating.

A floating selvedge is handy when you are weaving a twill or other patterned weave where the selvedge thread is not caught every time. A floating selvedge is much more efficient than manipulating the shuttle around the edge thread to capture it. If you are planning a twill weave, then you should also plan to add floating selvedges at the edges. (By the way, because you don’t have a neutral–the threads are either raised or lowered–on a rigid heddle loom, you can’t have floating selvedges.)


Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960s and its accompanying craft resurgence. Their first loom was a simple tapestry loom, a version which they still make today. Over nearly 50 years, Schacht has developed a broad range of high-quality hand weaving and hand spinning tools, including their popular Cricket Loom and Ladybug Spinning wheel. Schacht’s mission is to create beautiful and well-designed products that enhance customers’ weaving and spinning experience through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service. Schacht’s family-owned business is located in Boulder, Colorado.