I am doing some damask weaves in linen and linen blends and want to finish using a mangle. I know that heat does not give the best result and I am looking for a cold mangle but cannot locate one. Ideas anyone?
I can do it for you, "mail order" ;-)
Seriously, it works well to use a rolling pin, or, even better, the old type: a big(gish) wooden dowel (or plastic - on the occasion I use a plastic "plumbing" pipe). Roll the fabric onto that, as tight as you can. Now find a ... "plank" - a flat piece of something smooth and stiff. Place that on top, lean on it and roll the whole thing (go the same wasy as you rolled on the fabric). When you reach the end of the "plank", take the whole package back to where you started, do it again. Hard work!
After a while the fabric has flattened some and therefore the roll has gone mushy. Re-roll onto the dowel. Continue rolling.
The picture is one of the 187 hits from http://www.digitaltmuseum.se/search?query=mangelbr%C3%A4de
LAura Fry has a video here, showing the "rolling pin" method..
I have no idea what your doing. Never herd of it, other than someone getting mangled in a train wreck. Some of us need some explain'n. Ok, don't take that too literal. ;)
Looks like to me, they should never have gotten rid of the old ringer washers. ;D
A picture to adorn this post:
A lot bigger than Laura's, but faster result! The whole thing weighs about 1400 kg, has a mangle-width of about 80 cm and takes more than 3,5 meters betwee the "extreme points".
How do you move it? On skids? Probably need a firm floor to. You'd have to be into some serious textiling. ;)
In my childhood in the forties ands fifties in Denmark my mother sent her table cloths to a mangler shop, where they had a big mangle like the one on Kerstin's photo. The ones I have seen had a load of big stones on top to weigh them down. Both my grandmothers had smaller ones, that I have often turned for them. I have often thought of getting ones of these for myself.
Sorry but I don't get this. My mom had a mangle iron - electric when we were kids in 60-s & 70-2 - kept in basement to iron tablecloths and sheets. I've never heard of a cold mangle - why not just iron the item ???????
1. compression. You can never compress the textile the same with an iron. (Compression has been used for finishing linens "for ever". There were several types of machinery developped during the so called industrial revolution to do this mechanically. Somewhere I have a picture of a "beetling machine" - a true monster, consisting of many small hammers (say 3-4" wide) falling individually onto the cloth, to make linen cloth softer) Compression enhances both "hand" and shine. (I did "know" that, but didn't really "understand" until I hard pressed one and mangled another of my leaf scarves - )
2. No heat. Some fibres (like linen) does not survive heat as well as do others (cotton, for instance).
"Mangle iron": there may be many types - I have something with one soft (padded) roller, and a hot iron. I can adjust the temperature, but not the pressure. And pressure could never get high anyway, as the roller is padded.
Laura Fry taught us to cold mangle using a marble cutting board and a marble rolling pin on slightly damp fabric. It taks up to 6 rollings over the whole fabric, rolling HARD over the fabric with the pin, but you will feel a complete difference from when you started to the finished fabric. You get a good workout, too.
Kerstin, would you be kind enough to elaborate on that? I'm sure I have read (I think in Patricia Baines book on spinning flax and weaving with linen) that you are supposed to boil linen yarns after spinning to finish them. Or is boiling water okay and steam too hot?
I'll have to look up my references, but I will not have time for a couple of days. I'll be back!
I do offer mail order mangling service - details here:
Electric mangles are still made in Europe, but no one sells them here at the moment.
Cold mangling is a N. European technique for caring for fine linen fabric. Klassbols, the Swedish linen damask mill, sells mangles on their web site, indicating that care of fine damask requires this. The process flattens the linen threads, making the light refraction of damask more significant. Heat does not do the same thing - all the old ironrite mangles and "why not just iron it" is just missing the point. That pressure along with rolling the cloth so the layers rub back and forth against each other is what counts. Believe it or not, using the hand mangle board with a wooden dowel is VERY effective.
I remember when a well known weaver visited our home following a conference. She showed us an heirloom linen tablecloth and bemoaned that it contained a nice pattern, but you couldn't see it well. My son, home that weekend, pops up brightly "Did you mangle it?" We set out to the basement, dampened and then mangled this linen. Afterward, the pattern was visible and the lustre of the linen had been restored.
My electric mangle puts about 700 pounds of pressure on the fabric - significantly more than a steam iron or a padded hot mangle.
Lilnen doesn't like heat when being pressed. Washing is a different process. Boiling, especially when the water is slowly brought up to the simmering point is the best way to remove stains from white linen or to bleach grey(natural) linen.
Linen doesn't like abrasion, thus agitator washers and tumble dryers are to be avoided at all costs.
linen doesn't like to have creases pressed, the fabric will eventually break along those lines.
For more information about the properties of linen, check out a textbook on fabric science, or look in Bette Hochberg's little paperback "Fibre Facts".
Sara - thank you for the info. At the moment my linen damask weaves are under 30 inches but I do plan to make some table clothes at 60". I read that when mangling wide widths with folds/creases - it is recommended to fold a different crease line every other mangling to prevent the "cutting" of a repeated fold or crease?
Exploring linen is quite exciting and I still have a bit to learn, linen does not seem to be as prevelant a yarn here in the US as it is in Europe and the UK. My next exploration will be dyeing linen which I am sure will raise some more questions. Thank you for being a knowledgeable resource.
A lot of the quality table cloths are linen ones. Cotton table cloths are a dime a dozen these days. The shelves are full of them in department stores.
That's certainly useful information to have! When you write "agitator washers" - do you mean a normal household front loader washing machine? I have noticed that the fabric (the one that I suspect might be linen - bought it on special offer without label) comes out horribly creased - and I also noticed it is horribly difficult to smooth the creases out by ironing (even though I did it while the fabric was still humid).
So next time I'll just let it soak in hot water (I don't think I have a pot big enough to actually boil it) and then try the cold mangling bit. The order would be: wash, dry, mangle - wouldn't it?
Btw, I have the deepest respect for our foremothers who knew and did this day after day and year after year...
Wow, P & G surely erased all knowledge of washing fabrics.
An agitator is the thing in the Maytag with stiff "arms" that twists and rubs against your fabric. These "standard" washers should not really be so beloved as they waste water and detergent at the same time as they are shredding up your jeans. When we came back from Europe (where jeans cost twice as much), the Whirlpool that came with the house shredded them twice as quickly as my old German front loader. Shortly after this observation, I purchased a top of the line Asko that is still washing well after 20 years.
The newer "front loaders" with rotating drums are MUCH gentler on clothes. The action if more like washing things at the riverbank slapping the cloth on the stone.
When linen is washed the first time, you never spin it or the wrinkles will never completely erase. Subsequent washing will be better - but it should be shaken out immediately after.
To really do a good job pressing linen, other than a cold mangle, I use a DeLonghi steam generating iron that is like a home version of a tailor's iron that has a tank of dry steam to shoot into the fabric when pressing.
When mangling wider pieces, I do change the fold. On newly woven fabric, I have put a length of mop yarn at the fold to keep it from becoming too sharply creased.
Also, I do not have a loom wide enough for tablecloths - using the European 80cm table, yes 60" is wide enough, but to fit US dining tables that are often 100cm wide, you need nearly 72" width on the loom to accommodate takeup, shrinkage and hemming. When you seam the wide pieces, or better yet, use lace inserts, the fold isn't as tender.
My childhood was in the fifties in Denmark, and I clearly remember those mangles, too, Eva, I used to turn my grandmother's, too :-) :-)
Some time ago, I visited a renowned damask weaver. She has "unvented" a way of cold mangling fabric wider than the mangle, by using a long steel tube. The fabric is wound on, and one end of the tube is put into the mangle - mangled. Next, she takes the tube out, turns it and mangles the other end of the "package".
Some pictures here (scroll down a bit).
Thanks for this very informative thread! I have a cold mangle, and am sorry that they are no longer being imported to the US. I have at least two friends who would buy one in a heartbeat! I'll send them the information about using a dowel and plank - good low tech solution.