To Sew The Ends Or Not?

If you don't sew the ends, you need to overlay perhaps 3 inches or more.

If you don’t sew the ends, you need to overlay perhaps 3 inches or more.

Recently, I made my first cotton rugs. For all three of them, I mixed each, having two distinct colors twining through each rug. On the first one I had this lovely deep golden selvedge edge material that would be remarkably boring all on it’s own. But then I also had this softer, pastel yellow in strips (that would also be remarkably boring by itself). I decided that they should be smushed together into one beautiful rug.

Here you can see an end that escaped the warp.

Here you can see an end that escaped the warp.

I also made the snap decision to not sew the pastel yellow strips together into long lengths suitable for filling a shuttle. My mom, Sandy Voss of Cabin Textiles, has does this before too and prefers sewing the ends for several reasons. She strongly recommended that if I wasn’t going to sew the ends, then I needed to give them a lengthy overlap of at least 3 inches. This is done to help ensure that the ends won’t wriggle free over time (think the type of usage such a rug might see) and create a hole in the weft. Additionally, unsewn ends are more prone to sticking up through the warp and will require a little trimming before the rug could be considered ready for sale and/or use.

From my personal experience of making this rug, I found it a pain in the backside to lay each pale yellow strip in and fuss with the overlapping ends. I think it doubled the amount of time it took me to weave this rug. I also had a very direct comparison to the selvedge edge I was twining with it – it being one unending streamer of deep gold. This selvedge edge laid in swiftly with minimal fussing.

Here is a simple blue & white cotton rug.

Here is a simple blue & white cotton rug.

The next two cotton rugs I made, I sewed the ends of the blue bedspread strips. Yes, it took me a little while to sew all those little ends, but it saved me time and hassle on the weaving side. Plus, I feel that it makes a more durable product in the end. Those sewn ends are not likely to worm their way out over time, even with many, many washings, and create a hole in the weft. Also, I found there were way fewer little ends that stuck up upon vacuuming that needed a trimming.

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3 thoughts on “To Sew The Ends Or Not?

  1. All I can say is: Wow! These are so beautiful and you really know your weaving. Sounds like your mother may have taught you? My mother is also an artist and I think it really expands the mind and creativity to grow up with an artisan.

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