Is Wet Finishing Really Necessary?

Oh, how I wish you could feel these hand towels! They are soft. When I take a run of towels off the loom, I first cut them apart and serge the ends; and then I throw them in the washer and dryer for wet finishing. This cottolin and linen fabric went in stiff and scratchy… (Click HERE to see how it looked before wet finishing.) But after the rigor of agitation, spinning, and heat, the towels are perfectly soft and absorbent! Our own hearts can be stiff and scratchy, and not very soft, can’t they?

Handwoven towels in classic M's and O's weave structure. Soft and durable. Tabs are linen, woven on band loom.
Cottolin warp and weft, with some 6/1 tow linen weft stripes. These durable hand towels will stand the test of time, getting softer and softer with use. I wove the hanging tabs, 100% linen, on my band loom.

It’s hard to admit I need help sometimes, because I would rather think I am good enough to make it on my own. Admitting need is a first step toward a softened heart. Maybe a little turmoil in life is like being thrown in the washer and dryer–we come out softer because we realize how needy we are.

Classic towels almost too pretty to be used; but oh, they must be used!
Soft and pliable towels, neatly folded. Almost too pretty to use; but oh, they must be used to be truly appreciated.

My purpose for these towels is to use them as towels (or, more specifically, for gift recipients to use them). The towels became useful when they became soft and pliable. That’s how I want to be in the master weaver’s hands. How about you?

May you receive delightful gifts that are soft to the touch.

Softly and tenderly,

5 thoughts on “Is Wet Finishing Really Necessary?

  1. Hi Karen,
    I look often through your site. Your work is wonderful. Even better that you’re on a path of service to others with your encouragement, kindness and spiritual words of truth and wisdom. Touching hearts one artist weaver at a time. I wrote to you last year asking advice about purchasing a countermarche loom and I wanted to thank you for your encouragement! I purchased an Oxaback Lilla as the size was perfect for the space it would sit in. I am still learning my loom and have many questions. May they never end! Currently I am a plain weave/twill weaver only, creating simple towels. I have discovered the beauty of Bockens Cottolin and notice that you use Cottolin here (not sure if it’s Bockens) but 6/1 tow linen as well? I’m curious if the 6/2 linen did something special to the structure after washing? Thank you for sharing these lovely towels from so long ago and thank you for inspiring so many of us. Happy Weaving, -Kristen

    1. Hi Kristen, The 6/1 tow linen added a little bit of coarse texture to the M’s and O’s, for some slight variation in the cottolin fabric. I do use Bockens cotton, linen, and cottolin as much as possible because of its consistent quality.


  2. Hi Karen,
    I just saw on your site that you do use the Bockens. Question answered. Thanks again.

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