So how nice does the back of a weave have to be? I have been asked this question a few times by people making wall hangings, so I thought it would be something interesting to talk about. When I first started out weaving I was trying really hard to make the back of my weave look really, really nice and clean. But as I continued weaving over the years I have thought about some things:
What is the purpose of the weave?
There is a big difference between weaving a wall hanging and weaving something like a scarf. When weaving a scarf, you’re making an item that will be worn and looked at from all sides. With a scarf, you would obviously want your thread ends super secure and as hidden as possible. But with a wall hanging, we gain some freedom with the patterns and textures that we create since they will be sitting on a wall all day. You’re able to take more risks and make something that wouldn’t hold up to everyday handling.
Some fibers, like wool roving are really hard to secure in a way that looks visually nice. There are some weaving techniques that also don’t look really pretty on the back. And what about when you are changing a lot of different colors? Sometimes it makes more sense to just tie a knot in the back between threads. Which leads me to…
Now I always recommend to do what you feel most comfortable with, and this is no exception. However, if you think about it, making the back of your weave look extremely nice does take a lot of time and energy. That is time and energy that you could be spending on your next weave. And I’m not saying you don’t have to secure your threads, because you definitely do, but securing them in a way that works but might not be the prettiest can save a lot of time.
So those few weaves I spent so much time making look perfect in the back, guess what? No one ever looked at the back! I know it’s really obvious, but it gave me that ah-ha moment and was very freeing to know that no one cares about the back of the weave. If the weave is secure (won’t fall apart under reasonable movement) and it lays flat against the wall then it’s all good.
Since starting out, I have realized aiming for a extremely perfect back of my weaves was limiting what I could create with the front and it was eating up my time. And of course, no one was ever looking at the back!
Have you been struggling with this also? Do you strive to make the backs of your weaves very nice? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? I’d love to hear your opinions on this too and gain some more perspective.
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