Tried and True: Five Steps for Rag Rug Selvedges and a Quick Tip Video

What do you look for in a handwoven rag rug? How do you detect quality of craftsmanship? I look at the selvedges. First thing. I look for selvedges that are nice and tight, and that have a uniform twist at the edge. A few simple steps, consistently practiced, produce the kind of quality you can see and feel. It’s one more reason I find delight in weaving rag rugs.

Rag rug selvedges. Short quick tip video.
Rag rug selvedges. Weft is snugly wrapped around the selvedge warp ends.

Five Steps for Firm Selvedges on a Rag Rug

  1. Throw the shuttle, leaving a loop of the fabric-strip weft at the selvedge.
  2. Hold the weft out taut, and turn the weft under twice at the selvedge.
  3. Untwist the weft in the shed, straightening it, as needed.
  4. Pull the weft tight against the selvedge.
  5. Position the weft in the shed and beat it in.
Weaving a rag rug. Tutorial video of a quick tip.
Beater swings forward to beat in the weft with its just-formed firm and tidy selvedge.
Filming a short video on weaving rag rug selvedges.
Set up for filming the short tutorial. My husband does the filming and proves his patience through several retakes.

Watch this Quick Tip video for a short demonstration.

Rag rug on the loom. Tutorial about selvedges.

May the quality of your work be the first thing noticed.

Happy Weaving,

26 thoughts on “Tried and True: Five Steps for Rag Rug Selvedges and a Quick Tip Video

    1. Hi Dorothy, This warp is threaded in rosepath. It is 12/6 cotton in two colors, threaded in random order. The part of the rug you see in this post is woven as plain weave.

      Happy weaving,

  1. Thank you for that valuable tip and demonstration. Can’t wait to go and tidy my edges. The wise never stop learning!

    1. Hi Nannette, I don’t know how something that goes so smoothly when no one is watching suddenly becomes so awkward when a camera is turned on. Keeps me humble.

      All the best,

  2. Great tutorial, and beautiful work! Maybe my selvages can improve now 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing so generously!

    Have a wonderful winter day weaving!

    1. Hi Elisabeth, It certainly is a winter day here today, perfect for hunkering down at the loom. Your beautiful rag rug weaving is already stellar. Any improvement is icing on the cake!

      Happy weaving,

  3. Great tip and video, thanks Karen. I’ve already mastered the ‘shuttle-fumble’, but need some practice on the double twist!

    Best wishes,

  4. Hi, Karen!
    These posts on weaving rag rugs are so timely for me. I am threading a loom right now to begin a small sampler for Rosepath rag rugs as I have never done one before. I kept my notes from the class you gave at our WOW meeting last year but the video really clarified the technique.
    Thank you to both you and your husband.

    1. Hi Annie, Have fun with your sampler! Maybe you can make some little mug rugs with your samples. I’m glad the video added some clarity for you!

      Happy weaving,

    1. Hi Lou, Great question! I don’t normally turn the shuttle over to get rid of the twist in the weft. I just let it twist on the shuttle. Before long, the end of the weft is near and I straighten it out then.

      Happy weaving,

  5. Hi, Karen,

    What a beautiful rug you’re working on! I wonder if your weft twist might also work on rep weave wefts. Hope you’re enjoying the Hill country.

    1. Hi D’Anne, Thank you! I like how this rug is turning out.

      Good point. Yes, rep weave wefts also need that extra twist at the edge. If it is a fabric strip weft, I turn it under twice, as in the rag rug. If it is a stringyarn weft, I turn it under once.

      We are enjoying the Hill country immensely!

      Happy weaving,

  6. Hi Karen, Thanks for the video. I’ve got my loom warped up for a rag rug at the moment and can’t wait to try your technique. Love your humour in the video.

    1. Hi Treefrog, That’s great that you are all set to weave a rag rug. I hope you enjoy weaving rag rugs like I do. It’s good to laugh! Thanks!

      Happy weaving,

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