About a month or so ago, I took a gander at our dishtowels, and thought that we could use some new ones around here. The towels are starting to show some wear after being used and going through the laundry about every week or so for about ten years. Besides, since moving into this house about three years ago, I really haven’t woven anything for it. Continue reading

Blue Monday

Ok, Tuesday. Reference 

This entry is in honor of Opal’s favorite colors.

I wove these towels a few years ago to play around with color. I feel one of my weaknesses is putting colors together. On occasion, I do a project like this to try things out and try to expand my horizons.

Cottolin towels group

The weave structure is plain weave. The yarn is Cottolin, set at 20 e.p.i. I love using Cottolin for towels. They have such a substantial feel, to me, as well as a matte finish, which I prefer over the look of mercerized cotton. But there is just enough cotton in there to make them easy care. (I just throw these in the washer and dryer, as I would any cotton fabric.)

Cottolin towel - tromp as writ

I started with tromp as writ (meaning the same sequence that is in the warp is in the weft.) Honestly, this was the hardest one to weave because I knew what to expect. It was kind of boring to me.

Cottolin towel - weft change 1

This is where I started to experiment. I substituted purple for the green of the last towel. I liked it, but was not overly impressed by it.

Cottolin towel - weft change 2

Next was replacing the blue weft of the tromp towel with purple, keeping the green in the plaid. This really didn’t read all that different to me than the tromp towel.

Cottolin towel - weft change 3

Finally, I replaced the blue in the tromp towel with the green, and the green in the tromp towel with the purple. This is the one that I really liked and would do again and again. It almost looks like there are two separate, transparent layers passing over each other. This was the towel that I entered into the Maryland State Fair and got a first prize for.

All of these towels are now in the hands of my family, given to them as part of a Christmas present. I don’t think any of them see the light of day anymore because, well, lets just say the colorways just are not them. My family tends to go for more subtle colorways.

About a month ago, I was asked by someone in a spinning group that I belong to why I would weave a dishtowel. My answer was this:

A dishtowel is something that I can weave and play around with different thoughts that are in my head for color, structure, and technique, and still have something of use after I am done. It is an incredibly useful swatch to me.

Of course, you can ask Roseann. I used to question why people would want to knit socks. (Don’t worry, I am a convert now.)

Take a Chance on Me


One of my favorite classes in college was Non-deterministic Systems, which could have been simplified to the name: Probability. Or even Statistics. Yes, I know. Geek.

Anyway, the guild had done some presentations and work on stripes, and I wondered whether I could get a pleasing distribution of warp stripes by getting a random warp order from an Excel spreadsheet. I don’t know how reliable the system is (as far as getting a sequence that will be pleasing to the eye, but I know that I got something once that I felt ok about. Here it is: Continue reading

Suddenly, Last Summer

Well, since I am still trying to get back to work on the rug that I am trying to put on the big loom, I thought that maybe putting up some of the weaving that has not made it up onto the site would help me. Ok, maybe not, but here it is anyway.

This is the last weaving project that I did. It started out as a warp for a napkins so that I could take part in a napkin exchange organized by Su Butler. Unfortunately, it became apparent to me that I was not going to get any napkins in time for the exchange, with all that was going on at the time (getting house ready for sale, looking for a new one, etc.) Fortunately, I put on a LONG warp; and the width of the warp for napkins is basically the same as for dishtowels (or handtowels, however the user intends to use them.)

I used 8/2 unmercerized cotton from Webs at a sett of 24 e.p.i. Two were made as Christmas presents, while the others were given  as presents to some of my friends that I worked with at Bel Air Athletic Club.

So here are the towels: Continue reading

Warp-face placemats

Placemats woven to tryout the techniques learned in a class on warp-face weaving.

 Warp-face placemats

After taking another class from Tom Knisely at the Mannings on warp-face weaving, I fell in love with this pattern. It just so happened that Christmas was coming up and my mother was complaining that she needed new placemats. The warp-face structure provides a strong fabric that is great for rugs and… placemats! The colors were chosen to coordinate with my mother’s every day dinnerware.

The warp is a cotton rug warp, while the weft is a cotton broadcloth cut into inch and a half strips, as well as the cotton rug warp.

Below is a close up view of the weave structure. The weave structure for these placemats is called ripsmatta, or warp-face. The pattern requires 4 harnesses, and the sett is 32 e.p.i.

Warp-face placemats close-up

Shadowweave towels

The results of a study group meeting on shadowweave produced these towels.

 Shadowweave towels

I was hosting evening study group for the weaving guild and the topic was shadowweave. I was also giving the demonstration of how this color and weave effect could be used. Since I had to warp the loom anyway for this, I figured I might as well put something on that I had always wanted to try, a plaid shadowweave. This particular plaid shows how the structure reacts to the different color values. These towels are even more striking in person!

The warp and the weft for this towel is a cottolin (60% cotton/40% linen.) The colors used in this plaid shadowweave are a green and a white with a larger yellow as the base.

Below is a close up view of the weave structure. This pattern is a shadow weave. The pattern requires 4 harnesses, and the sett is 18 e.p.i.

Shadowweave towels close-up

Plaid towel with tracking

The unbalanced nature of the thread used in these towels helps give it an additional pattern.

 Plaid towel with tracking

Yarns that are overspun or underspun (either commercial or handspun) tend not to lie flat when woven in a plain weave. Often, diagonal hills and valleys will appear in the weave. This is called tracking; and can be used to great effect, adding interest to a fabric.

The warp and the weft for this towel is a 6/2 unmercerized cotton. The colors used in this plaid are a pale mustard and a sage.

Below is a close up view of the weave structure. This is a simple plain weave. The pattern requires 2 harnesses, and the sett is 18 e.p.i.

Plaid towel with tracking close-up

Christmas log cabin towels

This is dishtowel was inspired by candy canes.

Christmas log cabin towels

I had just recently purchased a small 4 harness loom and was anxious to try it out. Since Christmas was coming, this was the way to do it. This pattern is commonly referred to as log cabin and is a color and weave effect.

The warp and the weft for this towel is a cotton flake. The colors are Christmas red and snowflake white (what else for Christmas!)

Below is a close up view of the weave structure. This is a simple plain weave. The pattern requires 2 harnesses, and the sett is 18 e.p.i.

Christmas log cabin towel close-up