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Wide Loom Blanket 2

Washing my finished Cat Blanket fabric turned out to be less problematic than I had anticipated. Utilizing the plastic dish tub I’ve always used for previous rigid heddle projects, I rinsed the fabric in a few drops of a mild dishwashing detergent, and then rinsed in tepid water — the only difference being that I put the plastic tub into a full-sized bathtub. That allowed for ease of draining, and also allowed a lot of latitude for gently pressing water out of the fabric.

I use two large bath towels for rolling damp handwoven fabric, and normally handle smaller pieces on a table. In this case, with fabric 30 inches/76 cm by 81 inches/205 cm, I lay one towel on the bathroom floor alongside the tub, rolled the fabric, and then repeated with the second towel.

I prepared the fabric for washing by sewing double lines of zigzag stitching along each end, and then carefully cutting the unwanted warp threads (on another project those might have become fringe) from the fabric. Removing these unneeded threads allow the fabric to dry more quickly, and makes it easier to handle when washing. (Since they are 100% cotton, the cut ends will go out for the birds for nest-making.)

To dry, I use a Polder laundry rack. It’s flimsy and not brilliantly designed, but it folds flat for storage, and pulls out to a longer length than any other rack I could find. I’ve fitted a lace curtain to the surface so that the damp fabric won’t fall between the parallel bars — the lace allows for plenty of air circulation, but it’s sturdy enough to serve the purpose.

When the fabric is too wide for the rack, or too long, I bunch it up gently and more-or-less evenly along the surface of the rack, and I make sure no fabric hangs off the edges. I don’t want the weight of the damp wool and/or cotton to distort the fabric — and so part of the drying process requires that I adjust the bunches as the fabric dries. This may be unorthodox, but so far it’s worked well for me — working within the existing limitations is challenging, but it’s surprising what one can get away with!

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