Time for Towels

There’s something about autumn weather that makes me want to weave towels. I’m not sure what it is, maybe it’s the knowledge that I’ll be spending more time baking as the days grow shorter and the weather grows colder. Maybe it’s the knowledge that Thanksgiving is coming soon and some nice showpiece towels would make the dinner even more special.


  Christina's Towels
  Christina's autumn towels on the loom.

Whatever the reason, as soon as the weather began to cool I knew I wanted to weave a set of towels. I had a stash full of 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin that needed using, so as long as I could use the colors I had on hand, I wouldn’t have to buy any more yarn (darn). I also decided that instead of trying to find a project that fit my yarns, I would design my own towels.

Up to this point, all of my floor loom projects came either from the pages of Handwoven (of course) or from patterns I’d picked up from yarn shops. So this new set of towels would be an adventure. First I found a nice draft, one that could easily be modified by varying the treadling for different effects, and then I got down to calculating the warp.

Or rather, I didn’t. I cheated. I went to my digital issues of Handwoven and searched for "4-shaft twill" and "8/2 cotton." I looked for one that made at least six towels at a size I liked, printed off the page that had warp amounts listed, and voilà! I knew precisely how many warp ends I needed, how long, and at what sett, no math required.

(I’m not bad at math, I just have a tendency to forget key parts of calculations. For example, once when doubling a recipe of pizza dough I forgot to double the amount of water I’d need. The pizza was terrible, but my arms did get quite the workout trying to knead it into submission. All in all, I think I came out even.)

I knew the numbers were right and tested, and I could warp without worrying that I calculated the length wrong or accidentally used the sett meant for a lace weave. I use my favorite cook book the same way: I might not use the same ingredients for a recipe, but I will use the recommendations for oven temperature and cook time.

I treasure all my back issues of Handwoven. I can choose to make projects as-is, modify them to fit my needs, or simply use the measurements to create my own fabulous creations (I hope). I also love reading through the in-depth articles on different weave structures and techniques, and I get lost in the historical articles and artist profiles. 

As for my towels, they are coming along nicely (minus one glaring treadling error), and I can’t wait to get them off the loom in time for Thanksgiving. In fact, I'm so excited about this project I'm already planning what I'm going to weave next.

Happy Weaving!

 

Christina Garton

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