On Finishing Anxiety

When I first started weaving I suffered from Finishing Anxiety. The first time I had to wet-finish a project I watched that cloth like a hawk and rinsed and rinsed until I was absolutely positive I had washed out all the excess dye. And then, of course, I handwashed them again the next day “just in case.”

Then when I wove my first scarf that required hemstitching I was so nervous I’d mess this up I pulled out the hemstitching instructions from an issue of Handwoven and used a binder clip to attach it to the castle of my loom. I very nervously dipped my needle into the cloth and carefully hemstitched all the way across. I won’t say I did a perfect job, but I did very well for a first time. (It also helped that the project was wool, specifically the Scarf Designed for a Guy in Mind from the January/February 2013 issue, so any sins were hidden after I wet-finished.)


Christina’s first attempt at hemstitching would have been a lot easier with a finishing needle, but it still turned out pretty well.

Oh, and then I had my first scarf with twisted fringe. I remember this one so very well. It was Madelyn’s gorgeous black and white deflected doubleweave scarf and 100% silk (of course). It felt like there were approximately a million bundles that needed twisting—all of which I did by hand. The threads were so slippery I think I probably twisted most of the bundles two or three times before they were up to snuff. Still, when I was finished my scarf was beautiful and the professional looking fringe was worth every second. Well, until I realized I had a second scarf that also needed fringe twisting. I thought long and hard about just doing overhand knots, but decided the extra time was worth it.

Fortunately, I learned with each of these experiences that having the right tools makes everything easier. For example, using synthropol when I’m worried about naughty dyes misbehaving during wet-finishing and beyond helps get out the excess dye AND keeps it from migrating to other parts of the cloth. I also immediately went out and bought a fringe twister after my first experiences twisting by hand. The next time I had to do twisted fringe it took me maybe twenty minutes to finish the scarf instead of over an hour. Life changing!


At bottom is Christina’s hand-twisted fringe, at top twisted fringe she did with a fringe twister.

Experiences like this are what prompted us to put together our new Finishing Kit for Weavers. In it are the products that we all swear by—tools that make finishing just that much easier and worry free. In each kit you’ll find Chibi finishing needles with bend tips that will make hemstitching your fabric just that much easier—you’ll be amazed at how something so small can help so much! You’ll also get a plastic netting shuttle that’s perfect for more detailed twining and knotting on the loom. There’s also some Synthropol to keep your dyes in line when wet-finishing and a fringe twister to make, well, twisting fringe a breeze.

My personal favorite item in this kit is the Compendium of Finishing Techniques eBook. If, like me, you get tired of the same basic finishing methods this resource is chock-full of beautiful ways to finish textiles of all sorts. It will help you take your finishing to the next level.

So if like me you suffer from Finishing Anxiety, worry no more! With the right tools you can finish your projects easier and with more confidence. I wish I’d known about these tools when I first started weaving—they would have saved me both time and worry.

Happy Weaving!

Featured Image: Christina’s take on Madelyn’s deflected doubleweave silk scarf.

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