Wet finishing a shawl without twisting the fringe

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I want to wet finish a shawl which has fringe. I don’t want to twist the fringe, I only want it softly falling. How do I protect it from bunching while it is being wet finished? I am sure that I should know this!

How I proceed with fringes depends on what the shawl was woven out of.  If it is silk or cotton I trim my fringe to a decent length and handwash in the sink.  I swoosh it up and down and keep it fairly wrinkle-free and then I lay it in a lasagna pan while I get ready for the rinse and I treat it the same way.  Then I hang it in the shower to drip dry.  I have a broom handle which perfectly fits in the shower with a towel over it….or you may have a drying rack that can sit in your tub.  With this method, there is very little tangling that happens to the fringe.

After it is dry, I steam press the shawl, use a comb to comb the fringe and touch up the length if need be. If it is chenille, you really should finish the fringe because it will disintegrate if you don’t do anything. If it is wool or a silk/wool blend and you really want to full it then you have to make sure the fringes don’t felt.  This requires a little more pre-planning.  I weave 1/2″ of plain weave, then leave the fringe length in the warp and then hemstitch and start my weaving. I do the same at the end…hemstitch the piece, then leave the fringe and then weave 1/2″ of plain weave to stabilize the fringe.  While wet finishing the shawl by hand in the sink trying to leave the fringes alone.  Just work the fabric.  The plain weave will keep the fringes in order and then when you are finished you can cut the 1/2 of p.w. off and comb or brush your fringe out.

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