Monday, April 29, 2013

From Flower Power to Stars and Bars with a Finishing Tutorial

I’m more than thrilled with these tea towels; they surpassed my expectations! I can’t decide on whether they are nautical or Americana, there is a definate feel of stars and bars with the blue selvedge…but either way they are stunners.
I decided to tie onto my previous warp and it turned out to be a HUGE mistake. I was able to weave three of the four towels just fine, but as I reached the end of towel number four, I had a problem with the ends of the knots bridging and completely destroying my shed. I do agree that tying on saved me time while warping the loom, but in the end it cost me more time. I’m sure that a silky slippery yarn like rayon would tie on fine, but unmercerized cotton was a nightmare! Of course, I didn’t take a photo of the snarled mess!
Here's a quick recap of how I finish my tea towels.
I leave fairly long ends when I change yarn colours while I’m weaving on the loom and I don’t clip them off until after I’ve washed the tea towel. So clipping is my first order of business.
As I iron the tea towel for the first time I use a big quilter’s ruler to make sure that I’m pressing the tea towel square. As I iron up the tea towel I keep lining the ruler as I go along and I push or pull the tea towel to keep it straight, and then press it to set the shape.
There is always a frayed fringe that needs trimming. I’ve found the closer you trim to your stay stitch the flatter your hems will lay. Another lesson learned is to never, never, never stay stitch with navy thread on a white tea towel because you can see it through the hem! Although I try and use up all my partly finished sewing thread bobbins, I also try to keep the colours the same.
Make sure that the planned selvedge ends for the hem are the same length. It’s definitely easier to trim off any difference in length at this stage and it ensures the hems are the same size when you turn them under.
This is the best way I've found to get a nice even turn under hem.  I use a stainless steel ruler and line it up on the tea towel, then using a hot iron I just press the hem over the ruler. The ruler will be HOT so watch your fingers when you pull it out.
Now that you have a nice pressed line, you can just turn under the hem to touch on the line and put in your pins…..easy peasy and pretty too!


mormor said...

Best wishes from Monika

Susan said...

Your towels have almost a Colonial look to them! Really neat effect...

Thanks for the run through on your hemming technique. Its always good to see what others do so you can tweak and fine tune your own methods.
I'm going to look up one of those quilters rulers here!


Linda said...

Beautiful towels!!!

Dianne said...

Stars and bars a perfect name for great towels. Being from down under the stars remind me of stylized frangipani flowers.
I've not come across the term bridging before and wondered if you could explain (without too many bad words!).

Lynnette said...

Hi Dianne,
In this case the bridging that I'm talking about is when the 1/4 inch long tails of one knot sticks like glue to the tails from another knot where I tied onto the old warp ~ multiply that by a couple of hundred and I swear I couldn't get the threads on the back of the loom to open at all! It was awful! I've had the same thing happen when I've been using fuzzies like mohair or slub silk; one thread will almost velcro itself or bridge to the other and they will begin to move together and cause skips in the web.

Dianne said...

What a b.... Touch wood I've not had that problem until the knots are right near the heddles. Mind you I don't use mohair in a warp but will be trying unmercerised cotton soon. It will be interesting.

Unknown said...

Beautiful towels and some great finishing tips. Thanks!

Susan said...

Thanks. I'm going to do this right away.