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Posted by Marla Mallett on December 31, 1998 at 12:17:42:

In Reply to: HELP !! MARLA posted by Daniel Deschuyteneer on December 31, 1998 at 09:29:14:

Daniel, Michael and all:

I presume that you are seeing the selvage correctly, Daniel. But this all opens a nasty "can of worms"! The matter of selvage descriptions is, from my perspective, the single biggest problem in rug analyses. A selvage can, of course, be INTERLACED (flat and "woven") by either the ground weft or by a separate selvage yarn, in which case it is designated REINFORCED. Or a rug or bag's selvage can be OVERCAST (that is, "wrapped" around and around to make a round edge) either by the ground weft or by a separate selvage yarn. (Repair work done later can also be correctly called "overcasting.") A true FIGURE EIGHT selvage, though, is a rare item--a double-looped selvage that appears most often on a small group of Afghani Baluch rugs. It is unfortunate that the term has been used so loosely to describe common selvages.

But we need to look also underneath selvage interlacing or overcasting to see how the ground weft has handled warp units at a rug's edge. Rarely are a group of warp yarns merely overcast; there is nearly always a separately interlaced ground cloth underneath. With either interlaced or overcast selvages there may actually be free-floating warps or warp units that are ATTACHED to the rug by the selvage yarn. On some rugs, selvage yarns even interlock with the ground wefts! There are so many distinctive variations that the subject becomes quite complex.....But it is precisely because there are so many variations that the information conveyed by these details has such dramatic significance for potentially separating groups of weavings. Believe it or not, in my book I have devoted 24 pages and 78 illustrations to sorting these out, and to sorting out the terminology for describing them correctly. Sound absurd?! Of course! I'm proud, though, of my work on this subject and think that it should help anyone who wants to bother with such stuff.....Now aren't you sorry to have raised the question?!

Marla Mallett

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