Weaving F.O. and question about finishing

I think I copycatted one of you who wove these towels from Handwoven. This is my fourth project on the old Leclerc Fanny and I learned so much from this attempt - made friends with the CB loom by re-hanging the whole shaft assembly a little lower (replaced hodgepodge of inherited cords with Texsolv) and making the upper cords and the treadle cords even. I was struggling with every pick to get firm sheds until I did this, and then BAM, everything snapped to attention and I could finally concentrate on the work.

Question: When I wet finish these bold colors, do they all go in the wash together? What temperature? Regular clothes detergent? What level of agitation? I have finished towels before but they were all the same color. Any details are much appreciated.


I wash my handwoven, 100% cotton towels the same as my regular towels. Although, I have to admit, I don’t quite treat them that rough for a load or two or three. :slight_smile: I use warm/cold, regular cycle, and ALL laundry detergent. Now for the bold colors. Last year, I had a bad bout with Zephyr wool/silk red which almost ruined the ruana I had made. Jane Stafford had included a sheet of Color Catcher and I used that over and over until the water ran clear. I now keep a box of those on hand. If I have a suspicious color (for me, red usually is a pest but I still use it. :-)), I first test the newly woven towels in the sink. If no colors bleed, then into the tub they go. If it bleeds, I’ll keep the colors sorted for a while until the dye exhausts and use one of those color catchers. I got a box of them on Amazon. Hope this helps.

I love this! Thank you - sounds like a good, cautious approach and I do love color catchers.

I do my woven towels this way also. And I second the use of color catchers!! They have saved me many a headache.

I use them for washing anything handknit also, like dark socks, until they are running clear. But I do use them also for most of my cotton products, like woven dishcloths and towels as well. Those are beautiful towels, by the way! Is this an 8-shaft project? I have discovered, sadly, that my Mighty Wolf is not a 4N4L–it is only a 4-shaft, but I guess that will still keep me busy for quite some time!

Thanks - the towels are 4-shaft. I am enthralled with what can be done with 4 shafts. And to me one advantage of the Mighty Wolf 4-shaft only loom would be less bulk and weight, which is in my view is part of the point of the Wolf series. Right now I’m studying overshot and it is definitely 4-shaft friendly. Do you have the Anne Dixon book by any chance? This one:

@crossstitchlinda Thanks for the weighing in on this topic - I will be wet finishing them this week, Color Catchers at the ready! For prepping some red quilting fabric I recently repeated three washes, each with a Color Catcher, until the CC came out out unstained. What a great invention!

That is good to know! I think the 4-shaft will give me lots of things to try. Your towels are absolutely beautiful. I definitely want to try overshot. Right now I have my first project on my loom and it is a twill. I was nervous about getting all the heddle threading right, but it is a fairly simple pattern and thankfully it all looks good except for missing 1 slot on the reed. I think it will still be okay. I love how it looks so far!

I did order that book and I’m waiting for it to come–I hear so many recommendations for it! The postal service is just a bit slow these days… I think it’s supposed to come tomorrow. I am eagerly awaiting it! I did sign up for a year of Jane Stafford’s classes and I’ve been watching the first season. I also took Kelly Cassanova’s class on floor loom weaving. I haven’t done her project since I’m still waiting on the yarn to come (again, the mail…), but I did watch some of it a couple times, enough to give me confidence to go ahead and start a project. I actually just found a twill and set up my own pattern, using yarn from my stash. Learning the basics of weaving with the RH loom has definitely helped my confidence level.

That’s exciting! I saw your picture - it looks fantastic! I love Jane Stafford. I will sign up for another year even though I am not doing all the projects. I also love Kelly - it is so hard to do all the classes that are out there. I’m also doing the Janet Dawson Overshot class (now closed) and it is fantastic. I think she will open it again once everything is recorded. We have such a great array of online teachers to benefit from. I’m way behind with a Liz Gipson RH project but I love that too. I agree, the RH gives such a good background for new skills. I’m really glad you found the M.W.

@Carlota - I think I will add Janet Dawson to my list of online classes to try! I suppose it’s probably good her overshot class is closed for now anyway. I need to focus on just learning to use the loom, and I think the first several seasons of Jane Stafford are really good for learning the basics.

I’m also excited–I just got my copy of the Handweaver’s Pattern Directory today. I am blown away by what my 4-shaft loom can do!! Lots of fun ideas coming to mind already!

Oh that’s great that your book came - I had another look through mine last night and got all excited again. My first floor loom project was a twill scarf out of 4 skeins of Noro Silk Garden from my stash, same warp and weft, 8 ends per inch, using a draft from Pinterest. (I searched for 4-shaft weaving drafts.) It came out great. I did not have a boat shuttle at the time so I used a stick shuttle from the RH and it was fine. I didn’t manage the colors, but let the Noro do its thing. I learned so much from setting it all up. It’s super that you got going right away. What size reed came with your loom?

Another book I had to get was Marguerite Porter Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book (sometimes called “the Green Book”). It is an old classic and has a lot of overshot patterns. The best ones are hard to find - usually go for $100 or more used. There is an orange reprint of an earlier version of the book, much cheaper, but I was disappointed with it for the small print, and some designs I heard people refer to are missing. So I finally found a used copy of the green book. You might find one in your local library to see if it would appeal to you before spending a lot.

@Carlota , I have seen that book recommended and I’ll try to track it down.

I bet your first scarf came out beautifully with the Noro yarn! At some point you have to jump in and get started! Just watching videos and reading vs. actually doing it the first time is a bit scary, but it does increase the confidence once you get going!

My loom only has a 10-dent reed, so I’m trying to make do with it for now. I figure if Kelly Cassanova can make do with a 10-dent reed, I certainly should be able to for now. I am sure I’ll want one for thicker yarns at some point, though. Do you have multiple sizes?

Mine came with an 8 and I immediately used it with the Noro and found a couple of other projects I could do, 2 per dent or 16 epi. Then I asked my weaving teacher what would be the next size to add and she recommended the 10 because if I need a 12 I could just triple the ends in the 8, if that makes sense. Apparently it’s quite common to make the most of one’s reed, by varying the spacing, and a lot of books have a reed substitution chart with the various combinations that will work, such as Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler, p. 210). The twill towels I just made called for 2 per dent in a 10-dent reed with the 8/2 cotton. You should be able to do a lot with your 10-dent. I guess the next reed I will get will be a 12 but I will wait until there is a specific need.

I’m scared every time I start something but weaving is so fun to figure out - I even like the figuring of stuff like how you’re going to keep track, how to hold one thing while you manage some other part, and then I write a bunch of notes on how it seemed to work best - I got a bunch of my own ball bungees and squeezie clamps to keep in a basket near the loom, plus its own scissors, measuring tape. It’s nutty.

Lol, I hear you! I’m not a math person like our beloved @Char is, but I absolutely love solving the numbers to figure out a weaving project. I think math needs to be taught from a crafting perspective. Maybe then I would have been interested!

I did find a reed substitution chart, and on this first project I decided to go at 13.5 EPI, not sure why, except that I was going for a mostly balanced weave and I didn’t have a pattern draft other than just the layout for threading and treadling. No written directions as far as PPI or suggestions for EPI. A little foolhardy perhaps for the first try, especially for threading something besides plain weave, but I guess having experience with the RH loom gave me confidence to try it. I actually have a couple of written patterns I wanted to try, but the yarn for both projects seems to be held up somewhere at different post offices for weeks, so hence the desperate move to use the yarn I had on hand. Thankfully it has been an enjoyable project so far, no serious tension issues or breakage with the handspun. I really wish I had a local store in central IL that would stock weaving yarns, but none of the yarn shops here stock them. I suppose up by Chicago we could find some, but I am not a fan of big city driving!

It’s good you’re writing details down. I’ve done enough in projects like spinning, dyeing, and RH weaving to know how easy it it is to forget these details, even if you know them well while doing them! I need to make a weaving notebook as well, especially for projects like this that I had to create and want to remember how I did it.

My first FO on my floor loom! I’m really happy overall with how it went. I probably shouldn’t have chosen handspun yarn with a fair amount of stretch in it for my first project, but I LOVE the way it turned out. And it makes it even more fun that I designed it myself, rather than following someone’s pattern. And I used my own handspun yarn–a sense of really being “done” with the fiber. It’s not just sitting on my shelf after being spun. I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging; I just know that you all will “get it” because you’re weavers. :slight_smile:

However, I had a bit of consternation when cutting it off the loom. I had some cardboard spacers between my sampler and my main project, and I was not thinking carefully and cut it in the middle of the 4 spacers, making my fringe much shorter than I had planned. I’m not sure how it will look to knot the fringe with it being that short. Can I hemstitch it after it’s off the loom and just let the fringe hang free? Or it will the fringes end up being felted and tangled. I could sew it into a circular cowl/mobius, but I would love some input from you all–what would your druthers be–knot it with short fringe, or try to hemstitch it?

I haven’t wet-finished it yet. I will say it feels a bit coarse considering it’s got alpaca, camel and silk in it along with Falkland. I am eager to see how it appears after being wetfinished, but I need to take care of the fringe before I do that.




Congratulations!! It is a beautiful scarf. And so much more fulfilling when it comes from your handspun and designed yourself. Truly lovely.

I’ve cut fringes too short before. Sometimes just because I’m trying to eke out one more project on the warp. How long is the shorter fringe? By the time you remove the spacer yarn, it looks like it might be possible to do a twisted fringe. It depends on how much length you have after you’ve twisted it and ready to do the knot. I’ve squeaked by with 3 inches, but I had to play nice and roll the end into a knot juuuusssst so. I’ve heard tell that there are some weavers that have hemstitched after it is off the loom. I don’t think I have the patience to try that.

Re: coarseness…it should bloom nicely once wet-finished with those fibers. Looking forward to seeing it!

Wow - that is gorgeous! On the fringe issue - I’m also curious how short the short fringe is. You could try twisting a couple and see if they are dangly enough and if not, could you un-weave an inch or so of your shawl to reclaim the warp on the one end? I know, not a thrilling option but it seems like I’ve done that, or considered it, on shawl that was quite long and included mistakes that could be made to disappear and new fringe twisted on that end. I think fringe is almost a must to prevent things from getting ratty. I just tied fringe on a table mat and I started with warps that are about the wpi of sock yarn, very firm wool, and I only had about 4 1/2 to 5 inches to start with, did a Philippine edge followed by hard twisting two bundles of two warps each and plying them with a hard twist followed by an overhand knot. They are stiff and short (which I wanted for a table mat) and I could have made them less short and stiff by a softer twist. I could have skipped the Philippine edge but I like what it did to seal in the first weft pick. I hope to post a picture later today. You must be so excited to have used your handspun on your first floor loom project, and twill to beat - points for you!

@Carlota, thanks for those suggestions. I never thought about unweaving another inch or so; that truly would help! I have done the Philippine edge for some placemats I recently wove; I look forward to seeing how yours turned out. The fringe is about 2-1/2 - 3 inches long, so I’m thinking it might be a bit stiff if twisted at that length.

Kelly Casanova suggested another option, to just cut the fringe off and hem it. I think I would zigzag it and then do a rolled handstitched hem if I went that route. So I have plenty of good options! I’m so glad for everyone’s suggestions here and elsewhere. When you live in a rural area with no weaving groups or stores anywhere close by, it’s really a blessing to have online weaving support!

The rolled hem would probably be great. I recently also watched someone adding fringe to a hemmed edge by taking generous lengths of string or yarn in a large-eyed needle and making lark’s head knots along the turned hem (this was for a table runner) and then doing a lacey macrame style of knots and trimming the ends even.

Thank you for the suggestions. I took the advice about using Color Catchers and doing a cautious inaugural wash. I tested each towel by itself first in warm water in a white wash tub so I could see if anything scary was going to happen, since the colors of the towels were strong. Very little coloration in the water, but I still washed the lighter ones apart from the darker ones and used Color Catchers, which came out nearly white, which was very encouraging. After a press, they were ready to send out into the world - four gifts and one keep. I really love the pattern.

I don’t think I posted about how I fixed the insane number of accidental floats/skips in the the first 6 inches of towel #1 that occurred before I adjusted the height of the shafts. Since they were all within 6 inches of the hem, I pulled out the errant warp threads but first attached (using a lark’s head) a length of sewing thread as a lifeline to the warp, then pulled it along with the warp to the bad spot, loosened the lark’s head, re-routed the warp to the correct side of the float, then re-attached the lark’s head and pulled the warp thread all the way back into place. I did this about a dozen times. I could not have handled the interlacement otherwise, since it was complicated. This was one of those things that really was not worth the time, but oh so satisfying, as in mistakes that never happened.