Tried and True: Weft Color Changes and Video

I have an efficient way to handle weft color changes. It’s very simple. This is for those instances when I need to end one weft thread and start a new one. As a rule, I take care of weft tails as I go. I don’t want to come back to them later if I don’t have to. If I tuck in each weft tail at the beginning of the row, thickness from the extra wefts builds up at the selvedge, especially if I’m weaving horizontal stripes. The method I describe reduces the extra wefts, and eliminates having to tuck any tails in.

Weaving tutorial about weft color changes.
Color changes add to the movement and excitement of the design.
How to change weft colors - simple!
Vertical and horizontal narrow stripes in six-shaft broken twill.

How to Start a New Weft Color

  1. Weave the last pick of one color.
  2. Change to the shed needed for the next color. Take the shuttle with the first color into the shed for about about 3 cm (1 1/8”), and bring the shuttle up and out through the top of the warp.
  3. Lightly beat (tap) in the 3 cm (1 1/8”) of thread. Carefully snip off the thread close to the warp.
  4. Weave a pick of the next color, with the end of the new thread overlapping the 3 cm (1 1/8”) of the previous color thread. Position the new thread such that the end is outside the selvedge just a hair.
  5. Beat in the new weft and continue weaving until the next color change.
Tutorial about efficient way to change weft colors.
Ending the third of four bath towels.
Stripes in towels. How to!
Hand towels waiting to be paired up with the bath towels…hopefully, before Christmas!

Watch this short video to see me demonstrate this method of changing the weft colors.

May your choice of weft colors give a glimpse of your best qualities.

Simply Weaving,

19 thoughts on “Tried and True: Weft Color Changes and Video

      1. Hi Marian, I can almost hear your voice when I read your comment! Thanks so much. I’m really looking forward to using these towels.

        All the best,

  1. what beautiful towels! The colors are wonderful together!

    Thanks for showing this technique – so nice and neat!

  2. This is a great invisible technique! Thanks so much for sharing!!
    I have an unrelated question: I didn’t see any evidence of a floating selvedge while you were weaving. How to you manage to not use them and do so many colors changes?

    1. Hi Robyn, That’s a reasonable question. You noticed correctly—no floating selvedges. I seldom find floating selvedges necessary. This is a 6-shaft twill, so there are some small floats in places along the selvedge (you can see this in the close-up shots in the video). Those small floats are not a problem and are barely discernible, especially after wet finishing.

      I tend to get better selvedges on my handwoven fabric if I don’t have floating selvedges, partly because that’s how I’ve been accustomed to doing it.

      Thanks for asking,

  3. Your towels are beautiful!
    And I very much appreciate that you so generously share your tricks of the trade, they are such valuable lessons. Thank you!

    Happy weaving on this beautiful winter day!


    1. Hi Elisabeth, Your encouraging words mean a lot to me. It’s a joy to have beautiful threads on the loom.

      I never thought of this as a “trick of the trade” until the other day. It’s funny how the details of what we do become so natural when repeated often enough.

      All the best to you,

  4. Hi Karen,

    Thank you for this excellent video. Do those tiny tails, 3 cm in from the edge, disappear with wet finishing? I’ve been doing something very similar, but leaving 1 inch tails that I have to go back and trim later. Eliminating that step sounds good!

    These towels are gorgeous! Have you considered selling the pattern?

    1. Hi Karen, Yes, those tiny tails disappear for the most part with wet finishing. Sometimes I find one that I want to trim a little closer at that point.

      Thank you for the wonderful compliment about the towels. For these towels I adapted a draft for a blanket from Favorite Scandinavian Projects, p.9, so it’s not completely my design. I had fun changing it to the size, yarn, and colors that suited me for these towels.

      Happy weaving,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *