Weaving Experience

It is possible to ruin hours and hours of handweaving efforts with a careless or ignorant misstep after the cloth is cut from the loom. Wet finishing intimidates me for that reason. Besides my own limited experience, I rely on instructions from advanced weavers, and any other research I can find. In the end, I take the plunge and hope for the best. If the worst happens, I take notes and chalk it up as a learning experience.

Halvdräll table squares just off the Glimakra Standard loom.

Just off the loom, four halvdräll cottolin and linen table squares await measuring for record keeping.

Linen pattern weft is characteristically wiry before wet finishing.

Linen pattern weft is characteristically wiry before wet finishing. Cottolin warp and background weft is somewhat stiff before it gets washed.

Halvdräll table squares with linen pattern weft. Karen Isenhower

Pieces are separated at the cutting lines, and cut ends of the cloth are secured with the serger. Then the cloth is placed in the top-loading washing machine, gentle cycle, with Eucalan delicate wash, with warm wash and cold rinse settings, adding several Color Catchers, and omitting the spin cycle. After rolling the wet pieces in clean towels to remove moisture, they are laid flat to dry. While still damp, they are pressed with a hot iron on the back side. And the linen comes out showing its true beauty!

Halvdräll table squares with linen pattern weft.

Waiting to be hemmed.

Wisdom is gained by those who pursue it. What is wisdom? Wisdom is truth being applied to real life situations. The wise become wiser still by listening with the intent to hear the meaning. Listening and learning. And then wisdom leads you to take action, often irreversible, because you believe the outcome will be right and good. How delightful when the wet-finished fabric exceeds your highest hopes!

May you become wiser than you are today.

In pursuit,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Betsy says:

    Really nice! I love halvdrall. I am admiring your selvedges. Do you always use a temple? I’ve only used a Toika temple and I always feel like I’m damaging the fibers unless I’m weaving a rug.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy,

      I love halvdräll, too! I find it immensely enjoyable to weave, and the results are satisfying.

      I am in the habit of using a temple on nearly everything. My Toika temples are reserved for rug weaving only. The metal temples are too heavy, and the teeth too coarse for fine materials, in my opinion. I much prefer the wooden temples by Glimakra, even for rag rug weaving.

      It seems like using a temple, and moving it frequently, does help with getting consistent selvedges. Wet finishing also helps. 🙂 I’m still trying to get “perfect” selvedges, so I thank you for your comment. I imagine yours are better than you think yourself, as well.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Anonymous says:

    Happy Weavers: Using or not using temples. perfect selvedges are really hard to accomplish with or without the temple. When linen is added to the process the perfect factor is thrown to the wind. Linen is notoriously hard to work with, and selvedges almost always have a “kink”, a twist, a slight pull in ,or a loop. Karen’s edges are BEAUTIFUL!. I personally do not use a temple and find myself pulling out at least once or twice until I get the magic writhem down (pedal, shuttle,pull edge, beat). SO Karen has inspired me to at least try a temple.I guess even OLD weavers can change. LP&J, linda

  • linda says:

    You all probably know this, but if one side of your weaving is less perfect than the other side, or you’re having trouble controlling edges on one side the solution, after all the usual tricks are tried, is to scoot your butt slightly to the troubled side. VOILA! edge gets much better and easier to control. L, lindaP&J

  • Kerry Fagan says:

    Could you clarify what is a ‘serger’, please?

    • Karen says:

      Kerry, Thank you for asking. A serger is an overlocking sewing machine the cuts the edge of the fabric as it sews an overlock stitch at the edge. You can accomplish nearly the same thing with a zig-zag stitch on a regular sewing machine. A zig-zag stitch may stretch the edge a little more than an overlocked stitch, but usually it works just fine.

      Karen

  • Leigh says:

    I really shouldn’t look at Google on my phone when I first wake up. Reading this title, having only recently opened my eyes, I had a horrible vision of your black and white towels with the red accent having bled red all over them.
    So glad that was not the case! And the Halvdral squares are beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      Leigh, Lucky for me that didn’t happen! oh wait… I haven’t washed the black and white towels with the red accent yet. They are still on the loom. Fortunately, I use only Bockens cottolin and cotton threads, and I have never had any problems with colors bleeding or fading. Still… when I put them in the machine I will hold my breath, and throw in several Color Catchers.

      I did have some concern about washing the red linen in the halvdräll squares, because I haven’t used that red before on a white warp. I did have some red linen lint to clean off the finished pieces, but fortunately, no bleeding or color transfer!

      Thanks for taking time to tell me what you thought! It gave me a good chuckle.
      Karen

  • […] may be intimidated at the thought of wet finishing other items (as I talked about in Weaving Experience), but not towels. Especially cottolin handtowels like these. They are made for a lifetime of […]

Leave a Reply