Ladder Hemstitching Handwovens

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Hi Madelyn!

I am working a ladder hemstitching between the hem and body of a towel. I am weaving with 8/2 cotton at 20 ppi. For the spacer in my ladder hemstitching, I used one ply of a 3-ply mop cotton. I want a small space between the two rows of hemstitching. My process is to weave the amount I want for my hem in plain weave, do the first row of ladder stitch, weave in the spacer, weave two more picks plain weave for placing my second row of stitching, and then take out the separator before working the second row (so I don’t I catch the separator with my stitching thread). This seems like the hard way to do this. Is there a better way?

—Cheryl

Dear Cheryl,

It would be pretty difficult to work the second row of ladder hemstitching directly above the first row without a separator. And I’m guessing that your mop cotton was so soft that you worried you would catch strands of it when you worked the second row. I would leave the spacer in. Use use a firm, plied nylon cord (I found mine at a hardware store in the fishing department) to make sure you don’t accidentally stitch it in while you work.

Ladder hemstitching requires a spacer. But what kind of spacer yarn is best for hemstitching?
Ladder hemstitching with a spacer (left). The best spacer is a firm, plied nylon cord, as seen at right.

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Want to learn more about finishing your handwovens? Sara Bixler has a great webinar you can download, covering everything from hemming techniques, to fringe finishes, to decorative additions like beads. Check it out here! ~Andrea

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