Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

After I corrected the treadling errors in the wool crackle sampling (go here to read about that), it was time to wash it. First I hand washed it. I soaked it in very hot water with some Ivory detergent for 30 minutes. Then I squeezed and pummeled and squeezed some more for a couple of minutes. I let it soak for another 30 minutes, then squeezed and pummeled some more. I rinsed it, squeezed the water out of it by hand, then put it flat in a bath towel which I then stood on to get the rest of the excess water out. Then I hung it to dry.

Here is what it looked like when I was finished.

Cracl;e sample after hand fulling

Some fulling had taken place. It was OK. It had softened up a bit. It looked a lot more cohesive than when it was unwashed. But I was not satisfied. I thought I could do better with the washing machine.

I put a bit of Ivory detergent in the machine filled half way with hot water. I put the sample in and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then I let it agitate for 5 minutes. I stopped the machine and looked at it. Needed some more agitation. I repeated the process twice more and here are the results.

Crackle sample after machine fulling

crackle sample close after machine fulling

I am quite pleased. It is fuzzy and soft and nicely blurred. The colors have softened. And it is plushly thick. Yet the design shows. I also liked the thin red tabby though I think I different color or shade of red would have been better. But I got the effect I was after of these red dots peeking through.

There was a bit of bleeding from the red but I liked the result: an ever so slight pinkish cast to the piece which pulled the whole thing together nicely. Kind of like overdying!

Despite its fuzzy softness, it is too heavy for a scarf. I will cut it up to send to the March Complex Weavers’ Crackle Exchange. I do hate to cut it up. I would like to keep it whole just to fondle it and look at it from time to time. A totally useless piece but it pleases me.

Because I like this so much, I am now playing (in my head) with the idea of weaving wool crackle scarves for Christmas. But I will weave with (surprise!) a much finer wool. And I might see if I can’t think about some planned overdying…….


The last two photographs are quite an accurate representation of the fabric. And there was no playing with the software (except for adding borders, watermark). The first one is not at all accurate. I tried and tried and tried playing with the software, but I simply could not get it right.

They were photographed in two different rooms. The first one on my weaving bench where there are a lot of windows. So natural light and incandescent light were conflicting. The second two were photographed in a room where there was very little natural light.

I shall have to test out the resulting hypothesis in the future……….

Related Post: Slow Weaving

Out of the Washing Machine” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on February 17, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Carol said...

OH! Must you cut it up? I love it. Thanks so much for sharing it online. I can almost feel it in my hands.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Thank you Carol. I will end up with a sample, so that helps. But I will also send up with 7 or 8 samples from other crackle weavers! So that helps too.

bspinner said...

I hate to see your scarf cut up for samples but completely understand. I really like it!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Thank you bspinner!

Janet said...

Hmmm, now you've got me thinking about wool blankets in crackle again!

Your digital camera should have a few semi and fully manual settings, all of which probably have a manual white balance feature. It's all I use these days since it's hard for the cameras to manage a mixture of florescent, incandescent, halogen and natural lights. With my camera, I just set up the shot I want, put a piece of white in front of the item I'm photographing (lined paper, a paper towel - anything white), and then press one of the buttons to get it to read that thing as white. Makes all the other colours MUCH more accurate.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Hi Janet, thanks for reminding me about that trick. And you also reminded me that I wanted to get an 18% gray card which is supposed to keep colors from going wonky.
This would be a goreous and VERY warm blanket. 3 shuttles............ However, not nearly as fine as 60/2 silk.........

Rachel said...

Some additional thoughts on photographing work, I find that either a filter of some (very little, actually) natural light with a concentrated source of articifical light works, particularly if you can soften the artificial light or bounce it off another way. I also get a lot of successful photographs by photographing at night, and setting up various qualities of focused lights to pull out what I need to in a piece of cloth.
Just a question about a comment you made in your post. What does the term "useless cloth" mean to you, and do you ever see your cloth as art, therefore not necessarily needing a functional purpose? Why can't you just hold on to it to have and feel? For me, that is a beautiful function of cloth.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Rachel, you got me. I thought just before I used the phrase "useless cloth." I knew it was a loaded term. I was just too lazy to come up with something that would have been more appropriate! Yes, keeping cloth just to look at it and/or feel it is perfectly legitimate. But in this case, the reward for cutting it up into samples is worth it. And thank you for the lighting hints. I need to learn more about bouncing the light and I like the idea of photographing after the sun goes down. Thanks again!