Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Hemming the Huck Runners

I took my three gold Huck Lace Runners off the loom just after Christmas, and then they languished.  I just couldn’t find the time to get to them.
The runners were made from 3/10 mercerized cotton sett at 24 ends per inch.  I put on a 4 yard warp and wove three runners:
#1 77-1/2 inches on loom
#2 55-1/2 inches on loom
#3 45 inches on loom

Finally, I cut them apart, machine finished the ends with a few lines of zigzag stitching and waited for a clear day to wash them.  And waited, and waited, it felt like we had rain every day for weeks.  I need a clear day so that I can use racks to flat dry the runners and having them dry outside is preferable.  Living on an island on the ‘Raincoast’ means high humidity and I could not bear to add more damp to the house!

I finally gave in and set the racks up in the garage and laid out the runners, three gold ones for me and 2  rosy brick for Ngaire ~ a true plethora of runners.
Ngaire and I often share the work load on runners and tea towels, so she got out ‘McSteamy’ our steam press and gave them all a first run through.  This photo was taken in our old house and darned if I don't still miss the sunny, dry Okanagan Valley. After the quick press Ngaire pinned up the hems on all five runners.
We had a lovely sunny day a couple of days ago, so sitting by the fire in the bright sunshine, which shows the runner colour up beautifully, I hand hemmed the lot.  What a feeling of success.  As I was hemming I thought about this blog post and decided I would share the a few thoughts on hemming table linens.
If you are weaving a runner with a pattern you should leave some ‘plain’ weave for the hem.  In this case since the runners were Huck, I was able to use tabby weave for the hems, but if I was weaving a fancy twill runner I would weave the runner in 1-2-3-4 straight twill.

I think that hems should be generous looking and be in balance with the length of the runner, in this case I wove 5 inches of plain weave, 1-1/2 inches for the fold under, 1-1/2 inches for the reverse side of the runner and 1-1/2 inches for the border on the front of the runner before the pattern begins.  The final 1/2 inch is for shrinkage and cutting off the machine zig-zagging I did to hold the fabric while I washed it.
After I have chosen a sewing thread in a matching colour for the runner I pass it through a product called Thread Heaven that my friend Susan at Thrums gave me.  This is a thread conditioner and it prevents the thread from fraying, tangling and twisting upon itself when you are sewing.  A really great product that makes the whole job easier.

I never, never, never use spit to wet the sewing thread when I thread the needle.  If you are selling the finished product, your customer deserves to have it arrive without your DNA!  Use sharp scissors to give you a clean cut and big-eyed needles to help you find the eye if necessary.
I prefer not to use a knot in the sewing thread to anchor and begin the hemming.  Rather than a knot I start in an inconspicuous place on the hemline and do a few running anchor stitches and then carry on from that point; I finish in the same manner leaving an inch or so of thread tail within the hem.  Knots can squirm through the fabric over time and pop through.

I always sew the side portion of the seam closed, this ensures that any raw edges are well protected inside the hem and I use ‘invisible’ running stitches to sew the hem.

After all the hemming is done it only needs a good heavy steam press is the final finishing touch, this runner still needs the Huck Lace areas tamed, still quite a bit bubbling in the plain weave diamonds!
The final length of the runners are #1 - 66 inches, #2 - 56 inches and #3 - 36 1/2 inches.

The garden shot today is of Campanula carpatica 'Clips Deep Blue'  commonly called a Bellflower, just beginning to show leaves, hidden under last years flower stalks.

1 comment:

Holly said...

LOVELY ARTICLE...MAKES ME WANT TO WEAVE AGAIN... I'm looking for inspiration and this is helpful. Of course in my usual style I am planning projects that I wont be able to do for a while. Looking at Knee replacement the end of this month. But I love the look of what you did, and the thoughts on hemming.