Enough time has passed since I last considered the issue of shrinkage that I had to check to see if I’d written about it before. I have, here: Shrinkage — Beginner’s Corner.

I guess this post makes my second time approaching the subject. As I do more projects I’m thinking these little practice sessions will come in handy.

Two squares woven with the same yarn on the same loom.

This particular yarn is Soie Naturelle 3-ply — 100% noil silk. It’s very nice yarn, slightly off-white with a hint of texture. This size gave me 22 wraps per inch, or 11 ends per inch, so my mini 31 x 31 loom (slightly smaller than a Weave-It) was required. (The 4-ply Soie Naturelle is a more Weave-It appropriate choice . It’s available in three weight choices, but here’s a link to the 16 ounce cone.) I’m really happy with Catnip Yarns‘ service and yarn choices.

As stated, pre-shrinking is not my area of expertise, so when I do it I go for the worst case scenario: your project is plunged into super hot soapy water and gets manhandled by a monstrous rubber-gloved hand. I left it to soak for 15 minutes since it was such a small piece. (I’d soak a large project for 30 minutes.)

Add hot water, soap, and agitation.

I rinsed it in cold water to make sure the piece would have a true washing machine-like experience. Soaked for a really long time because I got busy, but 15-30 minutes should have been sufficient. Removed from water, squeezed-not-wrung, rolled in a towel, stepped on towel to remove excess moisture, put outside in desert atmosphere to dry.

This is the result.

Shrunken square is shown on top of unshrunken square.

As you can see, the weave tightened up via the shrinkage. In this case, that’s a desirable quality—the pattern shows up better. And the yarn feels softer now—also desirable.

Final comparison.

I’m sure there’s a way to figure out the percentage of shrinkage that went on here—I’ll have my husband help me with that.

I’m planning a rigid heddle loom project with this yarn, so these samples will help me determine how much extra length and width I’ll need when I warp up. (To tell the truth, I’ll probably warp up the full width no matter what, but I’ll make sure to add x% extra warp length.) To be a really High Achiever, I should probably warp up a larger pin loom and make another pair of samples to see if I accurately estimated my shrinkage percentages. Yeah, not happening.

Just wanted you to know, pin looms make nifty quick sampler looms.

And sampling is important.

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Please see Judie’s comment below for more expert commentary about shrinkage. Thanks, Judie!

5 Thoughts on “Shrinkage — Part 2

  1. Judy Sologinkin on 22 May 2018 at 4:42 AM said:

    Thanks Sue. Very interesting to see such a difference after washing.

  2. Judie Eatough on 22 May 2018 at 10:14 AM said:

    Shrinkage is an interesting topic in handweaving. With pin looms it becomes even more interesting. ‘Shrinkage’ can be caused by different reasons. One is the yarn itself may shrink. Another is the weave structure may collapse. Shrinkage is dependent on sett with any particular weave structure. For example, using the same yarn in all samples, I can do plain weave at 20 epi, 24 epi, and 28 epi. After finishing the samples will be different sizes. The 28 epi will shrink the least and the 20 epi the most. What this means is that the samples only predict the ‘shrinkage’ for both yarn, sett and weave structure. And that is really what you want to know anyway. In industry, you would have the yarn created to exact specs and samples that exactly predict your results. For hand weavers, we have to start with what we have. Which says your samples are indeed the way to go for a project.

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