Thursday, March 2, 2017


The turquoise in this yarn is hand dyed so I used hot water to wet finish it because I expected the cyan dye to be somewhat fugitive.  And so it was.  

Dealing with fugitive dye is one reason to wet finish, either yarn or cloth.  

I learned to spin in the early 1970's when roving wasn't available, or if it was, it was quite expensive.  So I learned how to card rolags and spin supported long draw.  Since I pretty much use my hand spun for knitting I also prefer to ply rather than use singles.  As such I spin fairly tightly and even after plying my yarn frequently has active twist in it so I'm pretty aggressive when I wet finish it.  Just like I can be aggressive wet finishing my cloth. 

Some people consider me an expert in wet finishing.  Some people are appalled at how I 'abuse' the yarn/cloth in the wet finishing and prefer other more gentle approaches. 

At the end of a workshop on wet finishing, one of the students commented that she had always been trying to weave the cloth in the loom how she wanted it to be 'finished'.  Now she understood that she had to factor in the wet finishing to complete the process.

As for 'experts' - you can find an 'expert' to argue both sides of a question, plus another to take the middle.  In the end, it is up to the practitioner to decide how they want their finished cloth to be and what they need to do to make it be like that.  As close as they can get it.

It is why I tell my students that, while I think I have pretty good processes, it is up to them to weave like a 'pirate' -  Accept; Adapt; Reject.  AAR.

As for the wet finishing, I'm not as aggressive as some experts, more than others.  I use hot water to saturate the fibres and generally either throw the skein down against the bottom of the laundry tub or squeeze firmly during rinsing (which applies intermittent compression, a type of fulling).  I want the fibres to entangle and full a wee bit to add structural stability but not so much that the yarn becomes a wee bit 'hard'.  This is for knitting shawls, scarves, cowls, after all.

Whenever a student says to me that you can only do X, Y, Z, I want to know their particular circumstances - what were they trying to achieve?  What fibres were they using?  For weaving, what weave structure?  What density?  

Because it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  Change one thing, everything can change.

For anyone interested in my book Magic in the Water, a few months ago, a hard copy was available on for about 3 times the original purchase price.  Or you can buy the digital version either on my website (with Paypal payment option and a pdf emailed to you) or on Weavolution

You can also ask me questions, either via the Magic in the Water group on Weavolution, or email me:
laura at laurafry dot com

Currently reading Dark Waters by Robin Blake

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