March 6th, 2012

Tuesday’s Weaving Tip – Using Fishing Line for Your Selvages

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Recently my co-worker Sara told me about using fishing line for your selvages to produce straight edges. I’ve always struggled with trying to keep the edges of my weaving even. So I couldn’t wait to try this in my next project.

The green towel I wove without fishing line, producing my usual uneven edge.

For the purple towel, I added fishing line (20 lb) to the selvages and weighted each to keep the tension taut. Not only was I able to easily weave an even edge, I was able to weave a lot faster. I could throw my shuttle across the shed without worrying about my edges pulling in unevenly. Weaving suddenly became a lot less fiddly.

Valley Yarns 4-Shaft Twill Towels

Once you take the weaving off of the loom, the fishing line can easily be slipped out of the finished fabric.

Edit: I’ve had some requests for additional information regarding this tip.

  • Tie the fishing line to the front apron rod.
  • Thred the fishing line along side the first and last warp ends in the reed.
  • Since the fishing line is a floating selvage, it does not go through any heddles.
  • If your pattern is a twill or other weave structure that would result in floats along the selvages, use the fishing line along next to your yarn floating selvage. (Thanks for pointing this out Sandra.)
  • The fishing line hangs over the back beam, weighted to keep the tension tight.
  • If you want to, you can reuse the fishing line for your next project after pulling it out.

I will definitely be using fishing line again for my next weaving project.

Happy Weaving!


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20 Responses to “Tuesday’s Weaving Tip – Using Fishing Line for Your Selvages”

  1. Mary Anne Finegan Cella Says:

    What gauge fishing line?

  2. Mary Anne Finegan Cella Says:

    What gauge fishing line?

  3. Tina Hilton Says:

    Is the fishing line used as a floating selvedge or as part of the pattern?

  4. Dena Childs Says:

    It’s used as a floating selvage.

  5. Dena Childs Says:

    20 lb

  6. Debullman Says:

    Love the weaving tips. Do you also use a floating selvage of warp thread?

  7. Debknits2 Says:

    Can you post pictures?

  8. Sandra Says:

    I’ve been doing this for a while now–the fishing line floating selvage makes things SO much easier! (Use the lightest gauge fishing line; wrap the extra around a little piece of cardboard and stick the cardboard in a film canister–remember those?!?–and put on the cap. Then hang weights off the line just above the canister. Unwind more line as needed from the cardboard and put the cap back on.)
    I’ve been told you can do this with all-polyester sewing thread, too–and the sewing thread doesn’t need to be pulled out afterward. I’m going to try that next…

  9. Pam Says:

    I have a Cricket loom and am new to weaving.  Do you put the fishing line through the heddle with the outermost warp? or is it in either the slot or hole by itself?  I hope this question makes sense.

  10. Susan Says:

    The article says she pulled the fishing line out after finishing. You cannot do that if it’s a twill or other weave structure that would result in floats along the selvages. Perhaps with those weave structures, you could have a yarn floating selvage AND the fishing line through the same dent in the reed and then only pull out the fishing line, leaving the yarn selvage in place to prevent floats.

  11. Annie Stratton Says:

    I’ve seen this before. I won’t say I’ll NEVER use fishing line, but it is plastic and something that then has to be disposed of.  I have difficulty using disposable plastic.  I’d rather live with a little imperfection in my life– handwoven things don’t have to look like they were woven by a machine.

  12. Dena Childs Says:

    I’m not sure how this would work for rigid heddle weaving since the reed and the heddle are not separate. Rigid heddle weavers, any suggestions for Pam?

  13. Diana Says:

    I also want to know this!  I’m new and using a Kromski 24″ Harp.  I’m kind of of the mindset of the fingertape on the violin, you can learn to play with out it, but it really does help you get better faster.  I’d like to give this a try, but maybe after I’ve learned how to make a better looking selvedge from scratch first?

  14. Krysta Says:

    Put the floating selvedges in slots on a rigid heddle loom. You may have to pay attention to make sure your weft catches this selvedge on each pass. I would use the warp yarn and the fishing line as one and pull the fishing line out after the project is off the loom.

  15. Jeanne Says:

    Years later you’re still helping people with this post! THANK YOU!!!!! ♥

  16. Sara Says:

    Great information never goes out of style!

  17. Kantu Malhotra Says:

    Selvedges are a major problem for me too. But can this be done on a frame loom also? If so, would it be a separate warp at each end? Or not? What/how/when/where/if where would the weft go in and out of there. I can visualize what you explained – sort of, on a floor loom or a rigid heddle, even though I don’t have either of these. But I cannot visualize this on a frame loom. Could you please post specific instructions for frame looms ? Please?
    Thank you.

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  19. Lana Schwellenbach Says:

    I warped 13 yards of 10/2 cotton for dishtowels. The fiber is old, maybe 10 years old. The first 5 inches of weaving I got 3 broken floating selvages. Yikes! I looked this up and added the fishing line FS. Presto, no more problems. Thanks so much for this article.

  20. Lisa Robinson Says:

    Thank you. I’ve heard of this, but hadn’t seen how to do it. The fishing line works great with my acrylic yarn. Thanks again.

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