scour, agitate, compress

If you keep an eye on such things, you”ll probably notice that weaving blogs (and Facebook pages) all over the east of Scotland are suddenly posting pictures of Laura Fry doing this…

Laura Fry in action

…and this…

Laura with the iron

…and, very likely, of Kerstin Fröberg doing this:

Kerstin and the cold mangle

We have been very lucky that Laura — who is over from Canada to visit Kerstin in Sweden — was willing to come all the way to Belinda’s Aberdeenshire studio to teach a workshop on the ‘Magic in the Water’ which is wet finishing. My note taking skills were tested to their limits with the sheer volume of expert information which Laura shared with us, and my brain is still recovering from the assault! I am now looking over my samples with a more critical eye than ever, and will be subjecting them to some ruthless treatment shortly. Laura summarised the three steps of wet finishing as: scour, agitate, compress. On the whole I reckon my scouring processes are pretty good and that I am not bad at finding methods of agitation suitable for my work, but that I can do a lot more on the compression.

Having known both Laura and Kerstin online for some time, it was fabulous — and slightly surreal — to meet them in person. The internet is a bit funny that way! And the workshop also enabled a group of more-or-less local weavers — based within a hundred miles of each other, that is — to meet face to face, many for the first time, so thanks are due to Belinda for making that happen.

It has been a bank holiday here today, and for once we have both had the day off. No work of any kind has been done! We went out for a walk and then to a teashop for tea and scones. Amazing how nice that is.

scour, agitate, compress” was posted by Cally on 6 May 2013 at

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11 Responses

  1. Margreet

    Lucky you to have had both Laura and Kerstin there!

  2. Laura

    It was so great to finally meet in person! 🙂

  3. Ange

    Sounds like a fantastic day 🙂

  4. Meg

    Oh, Cally, if you were too busy to take notes, I could think of audio/video recording, LOL, and probably some other gadgety things. I am ever so envious. At the very least I would have sent you a page from her wonderful tome so she could have autographed it, LOL.

    I’m glad you had this opportunity. Now it’s your turn to filter down the teachings and musings and wisdom and the funny bits. I can wait, but I expect at least that much for those less fortunate. Pretty please. Blink blink. (That’s me batting my eye lashes, by the way.)

    • Cally

      Don’t worry, Meg, I have shedloads of notes, I just have to decipher them. And practice. And, yes, blog about it!

  5. neki rivera

    sounds like you had a fun and games weekend

  6. Isabella

    Knowing not a lot about finishing processes for woven cloth I found this post really interesting. What fibres were you working with? It sounds as though you had a brilliant day, and glimpses of Belinda’s studio are tantalising. B sent me images of the studio under construction but I don’t have much of an idea of the finished article.

    • Cally

      We covered all kinds! We talked most about wool and linen, but also about cotton, rayon, silk and — at my request! — metallics. There was so much to think about, particularly when it comes to different kinds of ‘agitation’ and ‘compression’ and how you achieve those in a domestic/studio setting, i.e. when your resources are a sink, washing machine, bath tub, ironing board and possibly a tumble dryer. I have made a resolution to experiment more and document more, so we’ll see how that goes… Belinda’s studio is fantastic, and we also had the benefit of a bright, sunny day. I should have taken more pictures, but you know how it is when you get absorbed in the moment and forget the demands of the blog!

  7. Charlotte Engstad

    Ironing and mangling (do you call it that in English?) I know what are. But what is scouring? Looked it up in the dictionary and it says something like cleaning/scrubbing.

    • Cally

      Yes, we call it mangling! When we say scouring in day-to-day English we generally mean scrubbing with something abrasive (which could be chemically abrasive or something physical, like wire wool), but when we are talking about finishing textiles then we mean using some kind of soap or detergent to remove oils, waxes etc from the fibres. The same word is used for washing fleece before spinning.

  8. marion

    Sounds wonderful!