A fine finish…
After a summer of making things, I find myself with a bag of projects awaiting a variety of treatments. Afghan squares need to be stitched together, shawls need to be blocked, and I never did twist the fringe on that woven scarf I made back in the spring. Ah, finishing. This last step in the making process can be vital to the outcome of your piece. While I do know quite a few fiber artists who truly enjoy carefully shaping and stitching their work to completion, I know just as many who try to avoid it at all costs. Whichever category you fall in, there are plenty of products here that make these last few steps a little easier.
Once you’ve finished knitting, weaving, crocheting or felting your project, you’ll probably have some loose ends to take care of. For knitted pieces, I like to use Chibi Jumbo Darning Curved Needles to weave in my ends. The little plastic case they come in has yet to get lost in my notions bag, and the bent tips make it a little easier to weave through those stitches.
A good multipurpose needle set to get would be Chibi 3-needle Assortment. These have straight tips and come in a set of three different sizes- including one small enough to sew a woven dishtowel hem. And if threading needles gives you a headache, you’ll be pleased to hear about the Darning Needle with Latch Hook Eye set we carry.
As a lefty, it’s surprisingly hard to me to find the right pair of scissors. But I’ve never had trouble with the Merchant and Mills Wide Bow Scissors. These are well made and beautiful in their simplicity. Perfect for your project bag: 3.75" Folding Scissors folds up into a tiny and safe little package so you won’t poke yourself fishing around for them. I also really like the Multi-colored Stork Scissors, because I used to have a plain silver pair of these and the colorful ones are so fun!
I’ve done this by hand before and trust me, it’s worth it to just get the tool. Our most popular model is the Leclerc Double Fringe Twister. Small and inexpensive, this tool is certainly worth trying. If you’re looking for a more robust version, we also carry the Leclerc Quad Fringe Twister. Double up to get the work done twice as fast!
Soaps and Soaks
It took me years to accept it, but wet finishing (when called for) is hugely important. Whether I spun it, knit it or wove it, my projects usually end up taking a bath afterward. This step isn’t always necessary (you wouldn’t typically have to block mittens, for example) but when a pattern calls for it, there’s a reason. When I’m preparing a soak for my stuff I typically use Eucalyptus Eucalan Wool Wash 16.9 oz bottle. Eucalan comes in a few different scents – I also really like the Grapefruit Eucalan 16.9 oz. Add a little bit to your water, swirl it around a little with your hand, and you’re ready to give your project a dunk!
Pins, mats, wires – there’s a blocking tool for just about any kind of project! I’ve been using the Knitter's Block Kit most recently, and I love it. The puzzle piece mat is super easy to put together, and this design allows you to change the shape and dimensions of the blocking surface. The mat also has a soft, non-slip surface so things can stay where they’re supposed to. This kit includes T-pins, a bunch of foam mat pieces, a 48″ square cloth with 1″ gingham checks on it to help with measuring, and even instructions on different blocking methods. Store it in its sturdy jute bag to keep everything in one place!
Things you didn’t know you needed
• Fuzzy brushed mohair seems to be making a comeback – get prepared to fluff it up with the Mohair Brush.
• Need to feed an elastic band or drawstring through a casing? The handy Wide Bodkin is shaped like tweezers, but is a bit wider with little gripper teeth on the ends.
• Sometimes lining up pieces for seaming can be tedious. These Marking Pins for Knitting (10/pack) are multicolored and sized perfectly for pinning sleeves and pockets in place.
• The [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] is two tools in one – affix the darning egg to the stand to mend your socks, or use the clever platform that frees up both of your hands for sewing seams.
• Keeping your items looking great is even easier with durable mesh wash bags. These will help keep garments from stretching and over-agitating, and if you’re washing multiple pieces, these help keep them from tangling around each other. They’re essential for washing batches of fleece, and helpful for wrangling skeins of hand-spun or hand-dyed yarns. Great to have on hand for your regular laundry too!
Here are a few more references for giving a professional finish to your handmade pieces:
|Finishing Touches for the Handweaver|
|Weaving with Wool - All About Wet Finishing - Best of Handwoven Yarn Series - eBook Printed Copy|
|DVD Wet-Finishing for Weavers|
Stay tuned – this month we’ll be sharing more of our favorite finishing tips and techniques for each craft!