For some folks, their love of weaving is just that — they love the act of passing the shuttle back and forth and placing the weft. Warping and finishing aren’t in the same bucket. The handwork involved in finishing a piece of fabric can be very satisfying, but I know it can also be stressful.
Here are a few specific tips to finish off your throw. For general tips, see this column I wrote for Knitty last year that is chocked full of finishing informaiton.
Removing the Cloth from the Loom
Back off the tension slightly, and using a sharp pair of scissors, cut the cloth from the loom. Be sure to leave yourself enough length to work the knots. Disengage the brake on the front, and carefully pull your throw off the loom. Untie your warp from the front beam to give myself plenty of length to work with.
Heed the Header
In the video, I demonstrated spreading the warp by weaving both layers together. This gives you a firm start to your weaving. I love my headers and this blog post gives all the reasons why. However, one thing I do and forget to mention in the video, is that I also weave a few picks of header once my pick-up sticks are in place. This allows me to keep my weft in place as I work my knots. If you haven’t finished your throw yet (I haven’t!), weave a bit of scrap using the same sequence you are using to weave the throw.
These pics are from last year. I snap pics as I work so I can refer to them later. I didn’t use my normal lights/camera set-up so the colors are a bit hot.
It is best to work on a large, flat surface, such as the finishing room table or floor. Shown here is one end of the finished throw with the doubleweave header in place. I have already removed the “spreader header”, and what is left is a few rows of scrap, woven in the doubleweave sequence.
If you whizzed through your throw, you are likely have the layers connected by your header. No worries. Carefully remove the header and lay the work out flat, disturbing the weft as little as possible. If you tucked your weft tails in the last shed, carefully remove them and let them hang free. Start tying your overhand knots from the opposite side of the tail. (I’ll come back and add photos of this when I get to this step!)
As you work, that last weft pick is going to become untidy. Grab the weft in chunks and use a blunt needle to press it back in place a few inches ahead of where you are working.
It can also help to periodically take both edges of the throw in your hands and gently pull it taut to align that last thread. This is where having the working tail loose will come in handy. That last pick is free to align itself as you pull on the sides. If there is enough weft tail, needleweave it back into the throw or you can leave it and trim it flush later.
If you wove scrap after the header in the doubleweave sequence, then lay the throw flat and cut away the header in sections, working the knots as you go. The header will keep the weft tidy as you work.
Tie the second row of knots offset from the first, using the second half of the first knot and tying it to the first half of the second. Tie your knots loosely so you can go back and adjust them if needed. Don’t fret about making them line up perfectly. Your throw is always going to be draped over something, even if it is just itself. You will rarely see the fringe lined up in real life. No one will ever notice that a knot is a centimeter off alignment.
Check for Floats
Check the fabric for floats. In the video, I showed you how to fix a float across an entire row. Use this same principle to fix small floats by needle weaving a piece of weft yarn in the same path as the weft yarn row with the float.
To do this, needle weave the new yarn in the correct path extending the yarn about 2-3 inches on either side of the float. Leave a 2” tail sticking out on either side of the fix. You will leave the new thread in place during wet finishing. After the throw is washed and dried, use a sharp pair of scissors to snip the tails and the float flush with the cloth.
If you have a double thread in the fold, remove it now. I do this this by carefully cutting it away in chunks.
While your throw may seem less than perfect when you remove it from the loom, it will all come out in the wash.
Yarn manufacturers put the most conservative washing instructions on their yarn labels. Most will instruct you to handwash. I have found that many yarns, including this one, will hold up to machine washing on the gentle cycle and even benefit from it. Do this at your own risk, though. Not all machines are created equal. Here are my suggestions for both hand and machine washing.
To prepare your throw for washing, trim any tails to about 2 inches so they don’t snag in the wash. I leave my fringe long and trim it to length after washing.
Fill a large tub or bathtub with enough lukewarm water to submerge the cloth. Use either a mild or no rinse detergent and let soak for 20 minutes. Gently swish before removing from the water. Rinse if necessary.
Remove the throw from the water and press, don’t wring, to remove excess water.
Fold the throw in half and roll it in a towel like a jelly roll and press to further remove excess water. Dry flat on a couple clean towels.
Machine Wash Gentle Cycle
The secret to machine washing is to know thy machine. They are not all created equal. I have an upright waster with no agitator and use the gentle cycle most of the time for my handwovens. Most front loaders have a hand wash cycle, which will also work. Be more conservative if you have a washer with an agitator. With large projects, the fringe could snag and distort your fabric. The most conservative washing method is to hand wash.
If using the machine, air dry, or you can put the throw in the dryer for five minutes on the no heat/fluff cycle. This can help add air to the fibers and make them puffier. Again, know thy machine. The more machines involved, the more that can go wrong.
Trim the Fringe
Once the throw is dry, trim the fringe to your desired length using a sharp pair of scissors or a rotary cutter and a self-healing matt. Cutting large projects evenly can be challenging. I use a large mat and lay the throw out on the floor, aligning the fringe as evenly as possible and use a rotary cutter, moving the mat carefully if possible. Some folks like to use a yardstick as a guide, but I find that I push it with my cutter, even if I’m holding it down with pressure, so I’m better off free handing it.
Trim any tails and floats flush with the cloth.
Give yourself a huge pat on the back! You just DOUBLED YOUR FUN! The rest your fellow doubleweavers are celebrating with you.
Please share a photo of your finished throw in the Facebook group or Ravelry thread or on your favorite social media site with the hashtags #yarnworker #doubleweavefun.
P.S. Let’s get real here for a minute. I know that some of you might run into snags along the way. This is not a project for the faint of heart. Things go wrong, stuff happens, yarn doesn’t do what you tell it to do, all the time. Sometimes it is just a matter of not liking your choices. If, for whatever reason, you don’t finish your throw, or it is just not working, it it is totally OK to give up on it.
I wrote a blog post about projects that just did not live up to expectations. Below is a picture of a doubleweave throw I had to abandon after making a bad yarn/sett choice. The “pin-sanity” of the internet leads us to believe that everyone else gets it right except us. That is just not true. I don’t think “fail” is a four-letter word. Well, technically it is, but you know what I mean. Don’t let “failure” stop you from weaving, fail fabulously and weave on!