The Zen of Hem(stitching)

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A few people asked, after my post about the Colour Shifting Scarf, if I could share a tutorial on how I hemstitch my ends. I am by no means a weaving pro, so how I do it may not even be the ‘right’ way, but it works for me and I love how it looks!

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1. When you have finished weaving your leader, and you’re ready to start with your first colour, pull off a length of yarn that’s at least 4 times the width of your piece.

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2. Weave your first colour, leaving that extra yarn to the side for now.

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3. Work a few inches of weaving to stabilize your fabric, then go back and thread a blunt tapestry needle with the extra yarn.  It sounds silly to point this out, but it’s a mistake I’ve made; don’t advance your fabric until after you’ve hemstitched!

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4. Decide how you want to divide up your warp strands. This number is arbitrary and completely up to you and the effect you’re going for. In my case, I knew there were 16 beige strands, and 12 of every other colour, so I decided to do groups of 4 for the beige and 3 for everything else.

5. Go under your chosen number of warp threads, in my case 4.

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6. Go around your warp threads, wrapping them.

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7. Go through the fabric – bring the needle up 4 warp threads over, and 3 weft picks up. Again, these are my numbers, but they are a good place to start.

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Pull your thread snug.

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My hemstitching mantra looks like this:
Under. Around. Through.

8. Under

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9. Around, and through.

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10. After a bit you will see a pattern. See that gap that’s forming above the hemstitch line? Don’t sweat that gap, it will totally block out when the fabric is washed. Some techniques actually use that gap to create intentional lace, but in our case it’s so small that when the yarn expands and relaxes, it will disappear. 10

Work your way across the piece, when you reach your last gap pull your working thread through the knot a few times to fasten it, and you’re done!

Hemstitching at the other end of your piece can seem weird because it’s reversed, but just remember your mantra; go under some warp threads, around to wrap them, and then through the fabric 🙂