Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mangled Towels

I'm finally getting into the swing of this retirement thing :) That's a whole separate post but it's what makes all of these possible. I highly recommend retiring as soon as you are able. It's awesome!

I've had the Louet Spring loom for 3 - 4 years, but have only had 2 warps on her. The first, a "holly" dish towel design, was a limited success. I had a lot of tension problems and the selvedges were pretty terrible. When I put the second warp on, I re-read all of the materials, watched the Jane Stafford video, and I'm pretty sure I didn't lock the breast beam when I put the 1st warp on. This was an enjoyable weaving experience.

I wove 2 towels each of 3 different pinwheel tie-ups. I've looked all over for the drafts, but I may have (gasped) tossed them since I got it off of the interwebs and would be easy to find them again. Not. I did put them in Fiberworks. That's something.

Fibers (used in warp and weft):
Blue 8/2 Mercerized Cotton
White 8/2 Unmercerized Cotton
Red 10/2 Mercerized Cotton
White 20/2 Mercerized Cotton for plain weave hem warp

24 EPI in 12 dent loom

Width on loom:
Used Glimakra temple

Things I did different:
  1. Well, warped it right... locked the breast beam, back to front, lease sticks, raddle.
  2. Used a temple. This kept the weaving from pulling in, no shredded floating selvedge.
  3. Advanced the warp more frequently.
Things that needed improvement:
  1. Those red threads were not the effect I was looking for. I need to really work on color theory.
  2. Uneven PPI. All the pinwheels should be the same size. You can tell my mood by how packed the weft is. Not a good feature.
  3. Left too much hem between towels, so the last towel was a little short.
  4. Not totally happy with my method for carrying threads up the selvedge for color changes. There was a method explained in Handwoven last year and it made my head hurt. I'll have to revisit that. (
Things I learned:
  1. The red mercerized warp and weft didn't shrink at the same rate as the other fibers. 
  2. Each weave structure shrunk at different rates. Each towel was the same size on the loom, but each structure ended up different sizes after finishing.
  3. Finishing is more than washing, hemming and pressing.
Hence the title of this post.

I didn't feel like I was getting the finished look I wanted from simply pressing with my iron. And I pressed HARD. I decided to try cold mangling as demonstrated by Laura Fry in this YouTube video.

Laura uses a much larger rod than I had. DH had a closet rod and that was good enough to test the process. I was mostly concerned about the trauma to my hands.

I have Dupuytren's Contracture in both hands, but it's worse in the palm of the left hand. After rolling one of the 6 towels, it was apparent that this qualified as trauma. To protect my left hand, I wore the brace I have from the last procedure. This worked well. For the right hand, I held a 4" x 4" x 1" block and rolled the rod using the block (kinda sorta like the Swedish method on a very small scale).

The results were worth it as far as I'm concerned. I don't know if these pictures really show it:

Before mangling
After mangling

The motifs look crisper in the "after", as they do in IRL. The hand of the cloth is softer, drapier, and more cohesive. The threads don't seem to shift withing the motif as the cloth is handled.

I'll be headed to the hardware store to look for a large maple round this week. We'll see what I find! I've heard that Vavstuga will be importing powered cold mangles from Sweden. I sent off an email to them as I WANT.WANT.WANT!


P.S. I am a big fat liar about UFO's. I found "a few" more. I'll share as I work them off.

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