Thursday, April 30, 2009

Differential Shrinkage Fail

By Leigh

Remember Catzee's Cloth? (If not, click here.)

Remember how surprised I was when I wet finished the fabric and the yarns shrank at different rates, so that the fabric sort of bubbled? (If not, click here.)

Remember how I didn't like it but decided to try and do it on purpose for another project? (If not, click here.)

Remember how I researched rayon and cotton yarns and read that they don't shrink at the same rate and so thought they would be a good choice for an experiment in differential shrinkage? (If not, click here which, BTW, is the same post as the above.)

Well, I did it and the results are in.

Before wet finishing .....

After wet finishing .....

Both yarns shrank the same! My experiment was a flop.

Project Particulars:
  • Weave structure - summer & winter
  • Treadling - "O's" (see Summer & Winter: Treadling)
  • Yarns -
    • Warp & tabby weft - 10/2 unmercerized cotton
    • Pattern weft - 8/2 rayon
  • Sett - 16 epi
  • Picks Per Inch - 16 tabby & 16 pattern
  • # ends - 244
  • Reed - 8 dents per inch
  • Sley - 2 per dent
  • Wet finishing - cold water wash and hot machine dry
  • Measurements before washing - 53 x 8.75 inches
  • Measurements after washing - 48 x 7.75 inches
So much for that experiment.

At the moment this is just a scarf sized sample. Even though it's a little heavy for a summer scarf, I may go ahead and twist the fringes to finish it off. Might as well make the best of it. :) [UPDATE 3 July 2009 - Click here to see what I did.]

Posted 30 April 2009 at

Related Posts:
An Unexpected Wrinkle
One Thing Leads to Another
Beaded Fringing


Theresa said...

Oh bummer! It's quite pretty though even if it didn't shrink so why not finish it. Maybe Catzee's cloth took on those special feline powers to do just what it wants.

Valerie said...

It is a pretty cloth.

I bet if you did stripes of rayon vs. cotton you'd see some of a seersucker effect from the differetial shrinkage.

When I've been playing with differential shrinkage, I've found that it helps to open up the sett to allow the "shrinkers" to move in the fulling process.

charlotte said...

I like the fabric, although it didn't shrink. I understand that this is quite a disappointment after all the research you have done. Do you have any idea why it din't work out?

Peg in South Carolina said...

No, Leigh, your experiment was not a flop. If it has been a flop it would have taught you nothing. You learned that these two fibers do not shrink differently enough to do what you planned. You learned that you can use these two fibers together in regular weaving projects. You may have learned other things as well.

Susan Harvey said...

Oh dear... but it's a beautiful failure! Perhaps if there was stripes instead of a wandering pattern? I agree about having a more open sett. That means the threads can move more during wet finishing.

If it's too thick for a scarf, can it be made into a long runner to lay across a table? Create a point on either end and add a tassel? I guess it depends on the length...


deborahbee said...

research is about finding out not proving that you know the answer.You are so committed to getting to the bottom of weaving interesting to read about what you are doing

Dorothy said...

This is why I got a table loom: to try out small samples before putting projects on the floor loom. Only I haven't done any yet, 'cos I got hooked on weaving long scarves...

Have you thought of washing it again, hotter? Just to check?

Jackie said...

The second year students just finished double weave and some of them experimented with differential shrinkage and the results were amazing! They mostly played with silk ,sett at 28 EPI, and merino, sett at 7 EPI. The finished fabrics were shrunk in the washing machine. One lass made what she thought would be a nice sized cowel but after shrinkage ended up with a beautiful piece of fabric that would not fit over her head. Not having the mental image that she started out with, the rest of us were able would not be too strong a word, the resulting product. But alas, in her mind, it shrunk too much. Marvelous failures are sometimes the best teachers. If only we can look past the failure part. said...

Even failure teaches us something... maybe a different weave structure, or sometimes the dyes can even affect shrinkage (think bleached white fleece). This is just data in a lovely shape!

MiniKat said...

Well at least you tried something new. And it's pretty. So all in all you both learned something and got a gorgeous piece of fabric in the end. I'd call it a win-win. :-)

Leigh said...

I thought about a more open sett as well. My adjustment was to try the sett I've been using, but with a slightly finer yarn.

There are loads of fun "what if's" to explore with this one. Even so, I'm not at all unhappy with the outcome. :)

bspinner said...

Certainly not a failure if we've learned something from it and even more so when you shared it with us so we all can learn.

Lynnette said...

So many good comments and ideas have already been expressed. I wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading about your weaving experiments and think that this summer and winter is a beauty. I love your dig in a find the answer attitude, it makes me think!

Sharon said...

I like the way it looks. It's just like in school, isn't it. You have a thesis, do the research, get an answer that doesn't support your thesis, revise your thesis, revise your answer. You never left school!

Kathy said...

I am a firm believer that no experiment is a flop. If we learn one thing, or it starts us to question how we did something or even send us in another direction, then it was a success.
(What's the saying? "That's why it's called 'research'"?)