Wet-finishing Wool


Ask Madelyn


Dear Madelyn,

I would  like some help, please, with the finishing of some fabric I have just woven. The yarn is a 2-ply worsted handspun from woolcombed Bleu de Maine fleece to a resultant count of  275 Tex. I wove the plain weave fabric at 4 ends per cm. I would like advice on how to finish the fabric and avoid a crazed surface. I should be very grateful for your comments.

––Jaquie Teal

Hi Jaquie!

This may depend on several aspects of the wool that I can’t really know without seeing and touching it. It sounds like it’s about the same yardage as Harrisville Shetland (275 TEX is 275 g per kilometer, which works out to be about 1,800 yd/lb) and that you are weaving it at about 10 ends per inch. If that is the case, your sett is very open and you are wanting the yarn to full to a soft and drapable fabric.

Usually, a 2-ply yarn does not have a tendency to track (if that is what you mean by craze). But in any case, if it wants to track, it is probably going to during wet finishing. You can’t really control this tendency. (This can actually be a nice feature.) In any case, I would handwash in room-temperature water, letting the fabric soak and agitating it gently: how long depends on how much you want it to full. I’d use a very mild soap. Rinse well and gently. Lay flat to dry on a towel, smoothing the fabric out flat. Press just before completely dry with a pressing cloth if you are looking for a smooth surface.

Thanks for writing!


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