NINETEEN

There have been two pieces of fabric, some ten-yards long each on my dining table for the past couple of weeks. In all, they made nineteen tea towels!

The first set came off the big loom on March 14th. They comprised a natural colored warp of 8/2 cotton and 8/2 cotton weft in a variety of different colors. The pattern was Peaceful Rhythm towels, a download from Interweave.

I was able to get nine of these. Finished, they measured a generous 22" wide and 28" long. I wove them 34" long and added a twill stripe on each end.



I love these towels!

As the design is hard to see, here are some shots of the towels, as I was weaving them:






They are big, soft, and have such a wonderful rustic feel to them. While the bright colors are lovely and fun, my favorites are the neutral colored ones.

The younger daughter has already claimed a couple of these, but the plan is to tuck some away for gifts.

The second batch were the maiden project on the new-to-me 32" Macomber (Lil' Miss).  These are comprised of 10/2 mercerized cotton warp and a combination of the same 10/2 cotton for weft on some and 8/2 unmercerized cotton on others.

There was no printed pattern for these. I simply gathered some of my favorite bright colors and arranged them in varying stripes to suit me.





Some of the towels are plain weave, while other use a point twill from this image I found on Pinterest:


I used the threading pattern from the design on the far left for the middle (blue) section of the towels, which was flanked on either side with the threading pattern in the middle. I used different treadling patterns on different towels. 

This is actually one of my favorite drafts. I have used it several times, as I tend to get bored with what I am doing after a while, and I like options.

I thought the towels with the treadled designs would be my favorite, but after they were washed and hemmed, and while I was ironing them, I decided I much prefer the plain weave with the broad stripes of color. I only made one of those intentionally. The very last towel on this warp was an extra and measured 22" long. It was made using leftover bobbins in different colors from past projects!

The other thing I discovered with these, as that the 10/2 warp with 10/2 weft makes a very fine fabric, perfect for napkins, although I am not too sure how absorbent they will be as dish towels. The 8/2 makes a sturdier fabric, but due to the 10/2 warp, they are not as thick (or probably absorbent) as the 8/2 warp and weft towels. 

As this was the first project on a new loom, there was a bit of a learning curve. Lil Miss did not work as well as the Beast with a very highly tensioned warp. I discovered I had to back off the tension a good bit to allow the bottom of the shed to rest on the shuttle race, instead of an inch above it.

I also learned that the use of a temple with towels helps protect my warp. The first several towels suffered multiple snapped warps, as I was weaving, particularly within an inch of either selvage. Now I know those threads tend to receive the most abuse, but I did not realize that by opening the fabric to the same width of the warp coming out of the reed would take a good bit of that pressure of those threads. 

In the past, I have used a temple when weaving rugs, but nothing else. 

I resisted using one with towels as I thought it would slow me down with the constant re-positioning; however, I discovered using one made it easier to beat (with less force) and actually did not require a lot of maintenance. I was able to maintain my flow with the use of temples. Thus, they are now an integral part of my weaving. 

All that to say that my towels are far from perfect. So much so, I actually hesitate to make gifts of them. 

I see them for what they are: lovely handwoven pieces of my heart meant to be used and enjoyed. 

I hope they are received in the same vein.

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