Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Melinda's Shawl: The Finishing Touches

I had a couple of busy days where I had to give the house some attention; I played house maid, laundress and banker and threw in a grocery run for good measure and now I can get back to (guilt free) work again. I had hung the shawl over the fringe board and now it was time to get busy!

This project is a little larger than the usual narrow scarves I do so out came my large folding table for more a comfortable work space. These light weight tables are a godsend! You can get them in a smaller version too.

With the edge of the work securely held, I can twist and pin, tie the knot and then double check the length, adjust either a smidge up or down and then snug tight. Next! (for a full post on this technique click here)

I slipped my iPod on and listened to music and podcasts and systematically worked my way across. I didn't quite get it all done one afternoon, so the next day I picked up where I left off and before you know it.... It's done... well, this part at any rate!

Out came the bead stash and my beading needles. More podcasts and a nice breeze wafting through from outside... I tried some various arrangements of beads and varying lengths but finally settled on a simple arrangement. I wanted to add a touch of sparkle and glamour, but due to the 24 inch width, I had to be careful not to add too much weight!

Below is a close up of what I'm doing. Click on the picture to make it larger still (or any of them). A detailed post on my beading technique can be found here.

You can see from the size of the normal sewing thread that the needle is *very* fine. I slip it down through the tencel and back up to the edge and then along to the next spot.

In the next picture, you can't see where the thread is at all! After washing and pressing, you simply can't tell

The beading process took me a leisurely day and it ended the time soaking in the laundry tub in warm sudsy water. Good squeeze through to help shift warp and weft threads into their proper places and a couple of rinses. Drop of unscented fabric softener in the final water, then spin out the excess water in the washing machine. Trim off all the tails and then give it a hard press on the ironing board. Hang to dry... not an easy feat when it's 85 inches long plus fringe!

The next morning you will find it has gone from being stiff as when it has just come off the loom, to being soft and buttery to touch. The pattern is still quite raised and prominent due to the water content after it was first pressed. The second pressing smooths the surface and then brings out the shine!

You can see the gleam in the folds above... I had some light concerns about the sett at 28 epi but it turns out to have been perfect! The wet finishing adjusted and shifted things nicely and the pressing set the threads into place.

So, it's ready to take a trip to my sister's mailbox. Now the hard part comes... finding the right packing box and figuring out how to get it there wrinkle free!

I think I'll have to make one for me some day!


LA said...

Your sister is a VERY lucky lady!!! The shawl is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing the beading process...I might like to try that on some scarves I've wanted to make.

Cindie Kitchin eweniquely ewe said...

It's absolutely stunning! The sheen shows up so well in your photos too.

Sue said...

Goodness, that's a beautiful piece!

vesparoyale said...

Yes, I am one lucky sister and I can't wait to wear this beautiful one of a kind shawl on my special day. I've decided to take it with me and help me with my choice of dress to buy. Thank you so much my wonderful sister.

Melinda :)

Maggie said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

Theresa said...

I have to second Cindie's comment, the sheen is amazing and shows off the beautiful pattern perfectly.
Stunning work.


I like the beading on this shawl very simple and elegant. I'm knitting a shawl in lace alpaca and will hopefully be able to bead it with your instructions and pics on how you get that portion done. Thanks for posting the process, I appreciate it.

Lynnette said...

Classic and elegant! I'm sure Melinda will have plenty of opportunities to wear this beauty far into the future!

dorothylochmaben said...

Thank you for yet another great teaching post ! How good to see all those close up photos of how to do the beading. The final result is stunning and fit for a queen ! I didn't realise it was good to do two pressings, I need to remember that as I have only done one so far !
Lucky Melinda ! Maybe shawl number two should be yours ?

Linda said...

Simply stunning!! I will repeat the comments that your sister is one lucky gal! One of these days, I will venture to try your beautiful beading techniques! Usually, by the time I'm finished with all that fringe twisting, I'm ready to be *done*. But what a beautiful finishing touch! Your work is always an inspiration!

barbara said...

Wow, Wow, Wow!!!!!

Vee said...

Just stunning!

bspinner said...

AMAZING!!!!!! So beautiful!!!!!
You are one talented lady!

Louisa said...

The shawl is gorgeous! Lucky sis. And you are the Queen of the Snowflake Twill Shawl Weavers! LOL!