As weavers we know that the project isn’t finished as soon as it comes of the loom. We need to tidy it up, fix any errors, sew the hems or twist a fringe, and otherwise make it as close to perfect as we can. And then we need to get it wet, and give it a first washing to set the yarn and make it usable. This can cause us to procrastinate, to hesitate, to fear what might happen. Perhaps it will shrink. Maybe the colours will run. What if it doesn’t soften up but just stays stiff as a board? What if I hate it? What if everyone else I know hates it?
Well fear no more. Along comes Laura Fry to walk us through the wet-finishing process for all kinds of natural fibres. If you had an opportunity to see her earlier limited edition book “Magic in the Water” you will know that wet-finishing a woven fabric properly is a passion of Laura’s. And now she is about to launch her DVD “Wet Finishing for Weavers” to demonstrate how easy it is to finish our woven cloth.
I had the opportunity to review an advance copy of the DVD “wet finishing for WEAVERS” by Laura Fry, presented by Handwoven.
Wet finishing gives instructions on how to use water to finish many types of woven fabric including woolen cloth, worsted cloth, cotton, linen, silk, and rayon. Fabric as it comes from the loom is stiff and not very usable. Through the wet finishing process it magically becomes soft, pliable, stable, and luxurious.
The information given in the DVD is clear and complete, and you can see the dramatic changes to the cloth throughout the demonstrations. Laura Fry is very real and personable and I felt like I was standing right beside her as she worked. Laura takes us well beyond just putting fabric in water, to teach us when to agitate a fabric and when to leave it alone, when to use hot or warm water, how to full a woolen cloth and how to brush a fabric to create a nap. She shows us which fabrics need a gentle hand and which need a firmer hand, when and how to press, what to do about fringes, and explains how weave structure and finishing are related. Laura’s tips and techniques show us why we do what we do to finish a cloth, and the order in which to apply the finishing processes.
By the end of the video I fully understood why I would choose a different method of wet finishing for each type of handwoven fabric. It takes the fear out of finishing. I definitely recommend “wet finishing for WEAVERS” as an excellent resource that will be referred to for many years to come as each project is removed from the loom.