Have Ewe Any Wool?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waulking Fabric

At the last Blue Ridge Spinners and Weavers guild meeting, Melissa introduced us to the technique of "Waulking" - wet finishing woven wool. The process is done to make the fabric tighter and denser - basically, fulling the fabric.

Women would weave in the winter - it's "indoor work". Once Spring arrived, the women would gather in a group, much like a quilting bee. It was both a social and work gathering. The women would then wet the fabric and crumble and pound it to the rhythm of a song.

The fabric was laid out on the table and then it was dampened with water. Then, the singing and pounding began. It was fascinating to watch and participate in. I had a video of "waulking in action", but for some reason, I can't get it to upload. Ugh! Oh, well. The video was sideways anyhow...and I don't have the editing tools to properly rotate it.

I'm thankful that we have other ways of finishing cloth as this method is a bit hard on the sides of your hands. One person even ended up with some bruises by the time we were done!


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